The VICTOR Oceania Championships 2023 combines the Open and Junior Individual and Mixed Team tournaments, scheduled to take place from 10-19 February 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. A new venue will be announced over the coming days following last weekend’s devastating floods which damaged the original venue, Badminton North Harbour.
It is the first time that the Junior (Individual or Mixed Team) tournaments have been able to take place since 2019, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it is guaranteed that there will be new champions across all five disciplines as the reigning champions are no longer Under-19 and are competing in the Open tournaments.
Last year, the Continental Championships were able to make a gradual comeback with only the Open Individual tournament taking place in Melbourne. This year, the biggest edition of Oceania’s Continental Championships returns:
- VICTOR Oceania Junior Mixed Team Championships 2023 (10-12 February 2023)
- VICTOR Oceania Open and Junior Individual Championships 2023 (13-16 February 2023)
- VICTOR Oceania Open Mixed Team Championships 2023 (17-19 February 2023)
71 players from 5 member associations (Australia, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Tahiti) will be compete in the Junior Individual event. Here are some the draw highlights:
Australia’s Jie Ying Chan lies in the favored top seed position, receiving a bye into the second round. The 18-year-old found himself in the round of 16 at a HSBC BWF World Tour 300 tournament only three months ago (the SATHIO GROUP Australian Open 2022) following a series of walkovers and only narrowly lost out on a quarterfinal spot at the hands of his older compatriot and last year’s Open tournament runner up, Nathan Tang.
Tahiti’s Elias Maublanc has also found himself on some of the world’s biggest stages between the time of the last Junior Championships, having competed in the TotalEnergis BWF Thomas Cup Finals 2020, Sudirman Cup finals 2021 and BWF World Junior Championships 2022. Making his debut at a Continental Championships, Elias with face Australia’s Asher Jing Jie Ooi in the first round.
Australia claims six out of the eight top seeds, while New Zealand’s Chris Benzie and Jaden Mingoa are seeded sixth and eighth, respectively. Benzie has made waves on New Zealand’s domestic scene, having finished runner up in the NZ Tour Finals 2022. He receives a bye into the second round where he’ll compete against another Oceania debutant, Colin Malaval (Tahiti).
Australia’s Sydney Tjonadi is seeded first is the women’s singles draw, receiving a bye into the second round. Her opponent will be the winner of the clash between New Caledonia’s debutant Ashely Desert and Cook Islands’ Tereapii Akavia, who will be competing in her third Oceania Championships (having competed in one junior and one open edition).
Taphira Barsinas is Tahiti’s only female junior player, maximising her debut appearances across all three possible disciplines. In the first round she will be up against New Zealand’s Mia Xu, with the winner diving straight into the deep end against the second seed, Isabella Yan (Australia).
New Zealand’s Victoria Guo will not the let the dominance of Australia’s seeded positions deter her. Last year, she made a name for herself at the Trans-Tasman Challenge 2022 – an under 19 competition which brought the regions top talent together across three test matches. She was fielded in the women’s singles tie across all three tests, winning two of them. She will face Australia’s Jazmine Lam in the first round.
Australia continues to show their strength and depth across the junior disciplines as they take up most of the seeded spots in the men’s doubles too. The confidence of top seeds, Frederick Zhao and Jordan Yang, will be boosted by their results at last year’s Open Championships, which saw them all through to the semifinals.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s only seeded pair (fourth), Chris Benzie and Daniel Hu, will open their campaign against Australia’s Asher Ooi and Timothy Sentosa.
Daniel Akavi and Emanuela Mataio were silver medalists in the Cook Islands Open National Championships last year. However, in this tournament they will play with different partners in their campaign for junior success.
Daniel Akavi and Augustine Teraitua (Cook Islands) will have to overcome New Zealand’s Ansen Bee and Jay Xuan Tan in the first round, while Emanuela partners up with his brother (Kaiyin) to take on Australia’s Ken Goh and Jaehyun Park.
Australia’s Tjonadi sisters (Sydney and Victoria) made a surprise appearance in the quarterfinals of the SATHIO GROUP Australian Badminton Open 2023 following a handful of withdrawals and walkovers from reserves to qualification, to the quarterfinals. Suddenly, the 17 and 15-year-old sister duo found themselves up against a World Top 20 pair at a HSBC BWF World Tour 300 tournament.
However, the pair have split up to form the top two seeded pairs: Sydney and Joanne Zheng form the top seeds, while Victoria partners up with Faye Huo at the bottom half of the draw.
Eleswhere, Loureina Kureta is looking to put her improved skills into practice. Last year, the Cook Islander moved to New Zealand to study and joined the U17 team at Waikato Badminton Association as part of Badminton Oceania’s Player Development programme. At the Continental Championships, she will partner up with Vaitea Crocombe-Ama to face New Zealand’s Victoria Guo and Camellia Zhou in the first round.
Australia’s 16-year-old Maureen Wijaya celebrated a mixed doubles semifinal appearance in last year’s Open Championships (15 at the time). This year, she will compete in the junior draw with Jie Ying Chan. Together, the pair form the first seeds and will open their campaign in the second round against the winner of Zarrian Heather-Rau/Te Pa O Te Tangi Tupa (Cook Islands) and Jaden Mingoa/Victoria Guo (Cook Islands).
Lucas Juillot and Marine Souviat (New Caledonia) had their first taste of international badminton at last year’s Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022. The juniors will partner up in the mixed doubles, where they will compete against Cook Islands’ Tahitoa Webb and Tuaanaore Mitchell in the first round.