OCEANIA CHAMPS – Australians sweep rain-delayed finals

Australia didn’t exactly mop the floor with the competition at the 2016 Oceania Badminton Championships but rain, humidity, and a lot of subsequent floor-mopping delayed the inevitable sweep by Australian […]

Australia didn’t exactly mop the floor with the competition at the 2016 Oceania Badminton Championships but rain, humidity, and a lot of subsequent floor-mopping delayed the inevitable sweep by Australian shuttlers.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

The Polynesian paradox persisted as, for the second straight week, rainy and very humid conditions caused delays at a major badminton event in Papeete, Tahiti.  Never mind that badminton is an indoor sport, the weather outside made the courts slippery enough inside that tournament organizers had to be very cautious.

Last week, the quarter-finals of the Tahiti International Challenge had to be delayed to the next day.  This week, it was the Oceania Individual Championship finals that were repeatedly delayed as efforts were made to keep the courts dry.

By the time it was all over, Australia had walked away with all five golds.  Slippery or not, though, the home courts did prove to be an advantage, particularly for Tahiti’s Remi Rossi.  Rossi beat men’s singles 1st and 2nd seeds, Pit Seng Low and Anthony Joe both in singles and then when he and Leo Cucuel met those two Australians as a doubles pair in the semi-finals.

Rossi ended up with two silver medals on the day.  His take was equalled by 17-year-old Australian Joy Lai (pictured right), who was runner-up in both women’s singles and mixed doubles.

Rossi’s upset of Low allowed the eventual winner Ashwant Gobinathan to emerge as the top Oceanian in the world rankings.  Mixed champions Robin Middleton and Leanne Choo are by far the highest from the continental federation in the Olympic race.  They came into the tournament at #38 but should improve upon that with their win.

Middleton and Leanne Choo are almost certain to be one of the two picked to represent Australia at the Olympics.  Australia currently holds the highest Oceania spot in four disciplines, including men’s doubles, where Matthew Chau / Sawan Serasinghe (pictured above) just advanced this week to bump the South Africans out of the top 50 and make themselves eligible for a Rio spot, which is not available if the top pair in the continent is ranked lower than #50.

If Australia either doubles pair is not picked by Australia, there will be no Oceania representation at the Rio Olympics in that discipline.  However, should Australia turn down either of the singles continental spots, technically the BWF can award this to a much lower-ranked player from New Zealand or New Caledonia, also no such invitation was reported when New Zealand’s top men’s singles player abdicated in 2012.

Final results
WD:  Tiffany Ho / Jennifer Tam (AUS) [1] beat Gronya Somerville / Melinda Sun (AUS)  21-17, 19-21, 22-20
MD:  Matthew Chau / Sawan Serasinghe (AUS) [1] beat Leo Cucuel / Remi Rossi (PYF)  21-11, 21-12
WS:  Wendy Chen Hsuan-Yu (AUS) [1] beat Joy Lai (AUS) [2]  21-13, 21-15
MS:  Ashwant Gobinathan (AUS) [2] beat Remi Rossi (PYF)  21-17, 21-16
XD:  Robin Middleton / Leanne Choo (AUS) [1] beat Anthony Joe / Joy Lai (AUS)  21-11, 21-9

Click here for complete results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net