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.
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 will return:
- 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)
115 players from 8 member associations (Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Northern Marianas, Tahiti and Tonga) will be taking part in the Open Individual event. Here are some the draw highlights:
With 51 players entered, then men’s singles becomes the biggest draw of the Open Individuals tournament.
Four champions from the past five Championships will be looking to defend or recapture the title in Auckland: New Zealand’s Edward Lau (reigning champion), Abhinav Manota (2018 and 2020), Oscar Guo (2019) and Australia’s Pit Seng Low (2017). From these four, Oscar is the only unseeded player and will have to battle from the first round against Australia’s Rio Agustino, while the others receive a bye into the second round.
Meanwhile, it is last year’s runner up from Australia, Nathan Tang, who takes the favored top seeded spot. Nathan is backed by a string of career high experiences in 2022 including competing in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and quarterfinalist at the SATHIO GROUP Australian Badminton Open 2022.
Looking to break the mould of Australia and New Zealand’s dominance in the Continental Championships (being the only countries to win gold in any discipline), Tahiti’s Remi Rossi aims to go one further than his runner up finish in 2019 and a disappointing round of 16 exit last year. The Tahitian has spent the last year training and competing in Europe and will put his face his first test against Australia’s Hongyuan Wong.
Fiji’s sole representative in the competition, Liam Fong, will be up against New Zealand’s Tong Fang in the first round.
A new women’s singles champion is guaranteed at this year’s Continental Championships as the seven-time reigning champion, Wendy Chen (Australia) will not be defending her title in 2023.
The top two seeds from Australia, Tiffany Ho and Louisa Ma (respectively) will be looking to capitalise on the opportunity and aiming to settle a historic feud. At the past three Continental Championships, Louisa has denied Tiffany the chance of making a final, with their encounter becoming closer each time. Louisa secured a silver podium finish in three of the past four editions and receives a bye into the second round this year, where she will face the winner of Courtney Trillo (New Zealand) and Soizick Ho-Yagues (New Caledonia).
Tiffany Ho will be hoping that her experience from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will give her an upper hand in 2023. Following a first-round bye, she will face New Zealand’s Caragh Alley in the second round.
Northern Marianas will make history as their players compete in a Continental Badminton Championships for the first time. With players entered across all five disciplines, Jeanelyn Cardinio and Janelle Pangilinan will fly the flag in the women’s singles draw. Both players are up against previous (and fellow) Pacific Games competitors. Jeanelyn will have to overcome the challenge from Samoa 2019 Pacific Games Champion, Dgenyva Matauli (New Caledonia). Moreover, Janelle will be up against Tonga’s Lata ‘Isitolo.
New Zealand’s Abhinav Manota will be looking to extend his men’s doubles campaign with a third-consecutive title, having won in 2020 with Oliver Leydon-Davis and 2022 with Jack Wang. Manota will return to the courts with Wang in 2023 as the second seeds, opening their campaign with a bye into the second round where they will face the winners of Australia’s Huaidong Tang/Ricky Tang and New Caledonia’s Ronan Ho-Yagues/Jeremy Lemaitre.
New Zealand’s Adam Jeffrey and Dylan Soedjasa claim the top seed spot and receive a bye into the second round. Meanwhile, last year’s runners up Kenneth Choo and Ming Chuen Lim have parted ways for this year’s tournament. Kenneth is playing with Rayne Wang while Ming has teamed up with Australia’s 19-year-old Jack Yu, who turned heads at last year’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Tahiti reigned supreme at last year’s Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, winning all possible gold medals and dominating the podium in the Individuals men’s doubles competition. In this tournament, they will be represented across four partnerships, including two dual-nationality pairs, Adam Dolman and Remi Rossi (Australia/Tahiti) and Liam Fong/Teiva Politi (Fiji/Tahiti).
Another history-making feat at this year’s Continental Championships is the entry of Cook Islands players into the Open tournament for the first time ever. Competing in the men’s singles draw too, David Piakura and Damus Matakino will team up to take on New Zealand’s Niccolo Tagle and Vincent Tao in the first round.
After focusing solely on mixed doubles in 2022, Anona Pak broadens her horizons once again, competing in the women’s and mixed disciplines with new partners. In the women’s doubles she seizes the top seed spot with Erena-Calder Hawkins, where the pair face a steep hurdle in their first match (second round) against two previous champions – Setyana Mapasa and Sylvina Kurniawan (Australia).
Setyana previously won four titles (between 2017-2020) with Gronya Somerville, but the pair parted ways following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Setyana’s absence in 2022 saw Gronya pair up with youngster Kaitlyn Ea and finish as runners-up. However, the pairings have received another shake up this year to reunite Kaitlyn Ea and Angela Yu, who are the reigning women’s doubles champions from the VICTOR Oceania Junior Championships 2019. This year, Gronya pairs up with Joyce Choong, who won the title last year with Sylvina. If both pairs win their first round encounter, Gronya/Joyce could meet Kaitlyn/Angela in the second round.
It will be Tonga’s first international tournament since the 2020 edition of the Continental Championships. Mele Kei and Lata ‘Isitolo reignite their partnership and will take on Janelle Pangilanan (bronze medalist at last year’s Pacific Mini Games) and Jeanelyn Cardinio in the first round.
Gronya Somerville is on track to extend her mixed doubles reign to a fourth consecutive title. Having won the titles in 2019 and 2020 with Simon Leung (who retired after the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games), she formed a new partnership with Kenneth Choo to win in 2022 and they will look to defend their title in 2023. Receiving a bye into the second round, they will face the winners of Winson Wong/Jenny Zhu (New Zealand) or Leonard Manuel/Jeanelyn Cardinio (Northern Marianas).
At the opposite end of the draw, the second seeds from New Zealand (Adam Jeffrey and Justine Villegas) will have to see off a first round challenge from Ricky Tang and Kaitlyn Ea (Australia). Meanwhile, last year’s runner-up Anona Pak is seeded fourth with Dylan Soedjasa. the pair will face a tough first round battle against another mixed doubles runner up (from 2020), Sylvina Kurniawan, although this year completing with Ming Lim.
New Caledonia’s Ronan Ho-Yagues and Dgenyva Matauli are back in action for the first time since the 2020 edition in Ballarat, where they bowed our respectfully in the first round. This year, they will look to avenge their loss with a first-round clash against Australia’s Gavin Ong and Lee Yen Khoo.