The finals of the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2022 brought extra heat into the Melbourne winter cold today, with the first triple-crown winner in the history of the event. Moreover, each participating country, Australia (AUS), New Zealand (NZL) and Papua New Guinea (PNG) were represented on the podium this year.
Jerome BUNGE was the only player from Papua New Guinea who won a medal place in standing Men’s SL3 singles this year. Arguably, a standout achievement since his first appearance at the championships in Ballarat, 2020. However, his preparations were difficult, because their main stadium and place of training became the site for their local COVID-19 hospital.
“This year is not really good. [The year] 2020 is okay… They close it so we stayed. But since we have to come here so, just training for one month or so…”, shared Jerome.
In the semi-finals, Oliver LINTON and Carrie WILSON battled out for a final chance at gold, taking the Aussies to a thrilling third game:
- XD – SL 3 – SU 5 (Semi-final) – 39m – Oliver Kiran LINTON (NZL) / Carrie Joanne WILSON (NZL) def. Phonexay KINNAVONG (AUS) / Amonrat JAMPORN (AUS) 20-22 21-16 24-22
And the drama did not end there for Oliver and Carrie, with the kiwi’s winning their following final match, again in a tight third game:
- XD – SL 3 – SU 5 (Final) – 38m – Oliver Kiran LINTON (NZL) / Carrie Joanne WILSON (NZL) def. Kenneth ADLAWAN (AUS) / Caitlin DRANSFIELD (AUS) 8-21 21-13 25-23
In the SL 4 + WS SU5 Women’s singles, defending Carrie tried to defend her singles title against Paralympian, Caitlin. And Caitlin was making a return to the championships since 2019, as she was away competing internationally for the 2020 championships. However, Caitlin came through with a solid win:
- WS – SL 4 + WS SU5 (Final) – 21m – Caitlin DRANSFIELD (AUS) def. Carrie Joanne WILSON (NZL)
“I’m looking forward to playing Carrie because obviously last time I wasn’t at Oceania’s and she won Oceania’s. So, I want to show her that Australia’s still on top”, Caitlin sparred ahead of the match.
For Kenneth, Phonexay and Caitlin, they were back on court for their combined men’s and women’s doubles event. The combined gendered event was a first for the Oceania Championships, with the women’s pair taking out the win:
- MD SL3 – SL4 + WD SL3 – SU5 (Final) – 43m – Kim Chou DOUNG (AUS) / Caitlin DRANSFIELD (AUS) def. Kenneth ADLAWAN (AUS) / Phonexay KINNAVONG (AUS) 25-27 21-18 22-20
“It will be tough if we have to come up against Kenneth and Phonexay… being men, a lot stronger. But obviously we’ll just try our best and hit good shots… I’m surprised that they did it though. But obviously there wasn’t enough participants in categories”, Caitlin mused before her finals opponents were locked in.
In the wheelchair classes, the Australians dominated the finals:
- MS – WH 1 (Final) – 46m – Lochan COWPER (AUS) def. Nang NGUYEN VAN (AUS) 15-21 21-13 21-19
“It’s been good since Nang’s only recently gotten to the point where he can start taking games from me as of the last local event we played, where it went like that. Very similarly… He’s definitely improved last time I played him. Unfortunately, it was his unforced errors and his nerves that lost him the game in the end. But a win’s a win. I’m happy with that”, says Lochan.
With the record number of entries, it was the first Oceania Para Badminton Championships where wheelchair mixed doubles was played. Paralympian Grant MANZONEY (AUS) and newcomer Mischa (GINNS) were chasing their third championships title in the WH 1 – WH 2 Mixed Doubles final, having one their respective Singles and Doubles matches. Grant paired with new player and Basketball Paralympian Bree MELLBERG (AUS), while Mischa played with returning player Richard DAVIS (AUS). In the end, Richard and David took the title, crowning Mischa with her third Oceania title at her first championships:
- WS – WH 1 + WH 2 – WS – WH 2 (Final) – 29m – Mischa GINNS (AUS) def. Janine WATSON (AUS) 21-19 21-12
“I just take one point at a time. I have absolutely no expectations. Ultimately you come here to win, you don’t come to a championship to lose. But at the end of the day, win or lose, I’ve already gained the experience and learning which I need. Ultimately my goal is to get to Paris. I’ve got to Tokyo. I’m a professional athlete, so I know what it takes to get to a Paralympics. I know what it takes to win a medal. So if I can do that for para badminton, it’s a ridiculous goal to learn a brand new sport. And in one year to be able to make it to a Paralympics. But I am probably the craziest person to be able to do it”, Janine shared before her Singles Final.
- MD – WH 1 – WH 2 (Final) – 23m – Grant MANZONEY (AUS) / Lochan COWPER (AUS) def. Qambar Ali AKHTEYARI (AUS) / Richard John DAVIS (AUS) 21-11 21-9
“We played them at the last Oceania’s and we had the same result. So we won against them in the last Oceania’s and we hoped to come on to the same this tournament and we were successful… I think they had a similar strategy… Try to hit it to Lochie as much as possible. But the trouble is sometimes you try to pick on the Wheelchair 1 player because they’re perceived to be a slightly weaker player. But unfortunately for them, Lochie’s a good player and is able to get everything back. So they try to hit it over him as much as possible but he’s good enough to stop that from happening. We work really well together. We had sort of similar strategy and it paid off,” says Grant.
- MS – WH 2 (Final) – 22m – Grant MANZONEY (AUS) def. Qambar Ali AKHTEYARI 21-10 21-9
“I won the singles which was really nice. I played Ali before and he’s a very tough opponent. He moves very fast in his chair and gets to a lot. So I had to play really well to beat him. Came here what I set to do, almost. I came to get three gold medals but I’ve got two and just went down in mixed doubles. You know the priority was the singles for me so, happy to get a win.”, shares Grant.
- XD – WH 1 – WH 2 (Final) – 30m – Richard John DAVIS (AUS) / Mischa GINNS (AUS) def. Grant MANZONEY (AUS) / Bree MELLBERG (AUS) 21-18 21-17
“I came into this tournament just wanting to give it my best and execute what you know how to do well. My aim was to get on a podium at least with one medal I didn’t care what colour. But that was my goal. And I can’t believe that I’m coming away with three gold medals”, Mischa gushed.
The Wheelchair women’s doubles were played in a round robin format only, with Mischa and Bree finishing in first place, securing their gold medals. When asked about balancing their doubles partnership while opposing each other in their single and doubles events, the women were very clear that they were mutually exclusive occasions.
“I guess for me it’s white line fever. You cross that line and it’s a competition. It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side. It’s about you, playing your game and playing as well as you can. And if that’s hitting a smash or what not… it’s not personal at all. So, I think it’s just going out there and playing”, Bree explained.
The full list of medal winners are available below.
All the photos and videos are available on the Badminton Victoria Flickr page. Thank you to volunteer photographer, Ngoc Nguyen and Badminton Victoria for making these photos available to the wider para badminton community, family and friends.
Thank you to Badminton World Federation for awarding Female Participation Grants to Bree MELLBERG (AUS) and to support their international badminton development.
Badminton Oceania thanks the Australian High Commission for supporting the team and our mission to make badminton more accessible.
This funded initiative also complements the ongoing efforts of the Inclusive GymBad. The programme which is exclusive to Papua New Guinea combines Shuttle Time and Gymnastics activities, delivering to communities while aiming to remove or reduce the barriers experienced by people with a disability, particularly women and girls, to participate equally. Similarly, this is funded by the Australian Government through the #PNGAusPartnership.
Medal Winners – VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2022
XD SL3 – SU5
|1 – GOLD||Oliver Kiran LINTON + Carrie Joanne WILSON||New Zealand|
|2 – SILVER||Kenneth ADLAWAN + Caitin DRANSFIELD||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Arnold RAZON + Celine Aurelie VINOT||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Phonexay KINNAVONG + Amonrat JAMPORN||Australia|
XD – WH 1 – WH 2
|1 – GOLD||Richard John DAVIS + Mischa GINNS||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Grant MANZONEY + Bree MELLBERG||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Samir ISHANI + Janine WATSON||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Douglas YOULTEN + Sarah CHESHIRE||Australia|
MD SL3 – SL4 + WD SL3 – SU 5 Combination
|1 – GOLD WD SL3-SU5||Kim Chou DOUNG + Caitlin DRANSFIELD||Australia|
|2 – SILVER MD SL-SL4||Kenneth ADLAWAN + Phonexay KINNAVONG||Australia|
|2 – SILVER WD SL3-SU5||Zashka GUNSON + Celine Aurelie VINOT||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE WD SL3-SU5||Amonrat JAMPORN + Carrie Joanne WILSON||Australia/New Zealand|
WD – WH 1 – WH 2
|1 – GOLD||Mischa GINNS + Bree MELLBERG||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Fiona SING + Janine WATSON||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Brooke HOLT + Marinda JONES||Australia/New Zealand|
MD – WH 1 – WH 2
|1 – GOLD||Lochan COWPER + Grant MANZONEY||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Qambar Ali AKHTEYARI + Richard John DAVIS||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Samir ISHANI + Grant LEONARD||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Dominic MONYPENNY + Nang NGUYEN VAN||Australia|
WS – SL 4
|1 – GOLD||Caitlin DRANSFIELD||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Carrie Joanne WILSON||New Zealand|
|3 – BRONZE||Zashka GUNSON||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Celine Aurelie VINOT||Australia|
MS – SL 3
|1 – GOLD||Kenneth ADLAWAN||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Phonexay KINNAVONG||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Jerome BUNGE||Papua New Guinea|
|3 – BRONZE||Oliver Kiran LINTON||New Zealand|
WS – WH 1 + WH 2 Combination
|1 – GOLD||Mischa GINNS||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Janine WATSON||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Bree MELLBERG||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Brooke HOLT||Australia|
WS – WH1
|1 – GOLD||Bree MELLBERG||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Sarah Cheshire||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Fiona Sing||Australia|
MS – WH 2
|1 – GOLD||Grant MANZONEY||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Qambar Ali AKHTEYARI||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Douglas YOULTEN||Australia|
MS – WH 1
|1 – GOLD||Lochan COWPER||Australia|
|2 – SILVER||Nang NGUYEN VAN||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Samir ISHANI||Australia|
|3 – BRONZE||Richard John DAVIS||Australia|