The race is on at this year’s VICTOR Oceania Championships as many payers will be vying for essential World Ranking points as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification period creeps towards the closing date in April.
Four out of five winners from last year’s Continental Championships will be looking to defend their title, as a new champion is guaranteed in the Men’s singles.
New Zealand prodigy, Oscar Guo, will be competing in the Men’s Team event but will not be competing in the individual event due to fitness, as he is currently reserving his energy for his University studies. Meanwhile, Tahiti’s Remi Rossi has withdrawn through injury which has ruled him out of the event completely. Last year, Rossi celebrated a tremendous run into the finals as he overcame the 2018 champion, Abhinav Manota, in the semi-finals, before making Guo work for the title in the finals.
Manota becomes tournament favourite once again in 2020 as he enters the draw as the first seed, opening his campaign against Australia’s 15-year-old Otto Xing De Zhao.
Rio 2016 Olympian and reigning champion, Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen, will be looking to cling on to her trophy for the sixth consecutive year as the first seed battles for Olympic qualification again. She will face New Caledonia’s Julie Wongsodjirono in her first game. Meanwhile, fellow compatriot and second seed, Louisa Ma, has also made her intentions to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Games clear over the last year, starting in the second round against Kiribati’s Tinabora Tekeiaki.
The Men’s Doubles will be a hotly contested affair as the top two seeds from Australia and New Zealand fight for the regional spot in Tokyo. First seeds Simon Leung and Mitchell Wheller (Australia) were runners-up last year, while New Zealand’s Oliver Leydon-Davis and Abhinav Manota will have put their shock second-round exit in 2019 behind them. Both pairs were edged out by eventual champions from Australia, Sawan Serasinghe and Eric Vuong.
Serasinghe will return to defend his title with a different partner in 2020 as he reunites with Matthew Chau – the pair competed together at the Rio 2016 Games.
Reigning women’s doubles champions, Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa celebrated a terrific year in 2019, as they opened the year by winning the Continental Championships, before taking titles in Canada, Nepal and California. The pair will be looking for another boost to their current World Ranking of 26, following an opening clash against Tahiti’s Maeva Gaillard and Esther Tau.
The Women’s Doubles draw in particular continues to draw a diverse range of competitors from different Pacific Islands, including Kiribati’s Tinabora Tekeiaki and Teitiria Utimawa who made waves at last year’s Samoa 2019 Pacific Games. Similarly, Cook Island youngsters Eleanor Wichman, Morani Karika, Loureina Kureta and Tereapii Akavi celebrated a big first year on the badminton scene in 2019, as they experienced the likes of last year’s Junior Championships, AIMS Games or the Pacific Junior Development Squad, therefore will savour the opportunity to compete in this year’s Open event.
Somerville will also be hoping to don the Mixed Doubles draw as first seed alongside Simon Leung. The pair will be working to defend their title, opening against New Zealand’s Jonathan Curtin and Catelyn Rozario. Meanwhile, Leydon-Davis will team up with Anona Pak to form the second seeds who are also pushing for that elusive Olympic spot. The pair will open against Vaitoti Tupa and Eleanor Wichman – junior players from the Cook Islands.
With over 100 players from eight countries, you can view the full draw on Tournament Software.