Pictured: Team Tahiti win bronze at VICTOR Oceania Men’s Team Championships (left). Team Tahiti compete in VICTOR Oceania Mixed Team Championships (right)
The most recent update from the BWF surrounding the revised tournament calendar for 2021 saw the cancellation of the BARFOOT & THOMPSON New Zealand Open (Super 300) and CROWN GROUP Australia Open (Super 300) tournaments and the removal of all 2021 tournaments in China following COVID-19 restrictions.
Noticeably, this resulted in the change of locations for the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman 2021, Thomas & Uber Cup 2020 (rescheduled) Finals, taking place in Finland and Denmark, respectively.
Originally, Australia were the top qualifier from Oceania for all three competitions, having won the respective Men’s and Women’s Team Championships in 2020 (to qualify for the tournament which was rescheduled to 2021) and having the highest ranked players to automatically qualify for the Sudirman Cup.
Due to the significant travel costs and quarantine restrictions currently in place in their country, Badminton Australia decided to withdraw from all three competitions as it is no longer feasible.
As the runners up in the VICTOR Oceania Men’s and Women’s Team Championships 2020, New Zealand were therefore offered the position to compete in the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals and also at this year’s TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021. However, New Zealand also declined, citing similar infeasibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, the process of inviting Oceania’s next ranked teams began, with the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games bronze medallists’ team from Tahiti and third and fourth finishers in the VICTOR Oceania Men’s and Women’s Team Championships 2020 (respectively) accepting the invite to compete in all three.
Currently, Tahiti is enjoying no travel restrictions, while several of their proposed players are currently residing in France and are based significantly closer to the host countries, where restrictions are also somewhat more relaxed than countries in Oceania.
The team has less than seven weeks to prepare for their first international tournament in over eighteen months, working closely with the development and administration team at Badminton Oceania to assist with travel requirements, player development and training.
Tahiti have only ever competed in the World Mixed Team Championships once before, when the tournament came to the Gold Coast in 2017.
- TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021 – 26 September – 3 October 2021
- TotalEnergies BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 – 9 -17 October 2021