2021 in Review: Newcomers Tahiti Add Freshness, Colour

2021 in Review: Newcomers Tahiti Add Freshness, Colour
The Haka on a badminton court, courtesy of Tahitian shuttlers.

One of the nicest stories of the year was the debut of tiny island nation from French Polynesia, Tahiti, at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup 2021 in September.

Replacing Australia and New Zealand at the World Mixed Team Championships in Vantaa, Finland, the Badminton Oceania representatives competed with a very young squad – six of their eight players were below 20 years old.

Despite losing all their Group B matches – to Chinese Taipei, Korea and Germany – the players left for the TotalEnergies BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020 in Aarhus, Denmark the following week with big lessons and a bit more experience under their belts.

Tahiti’s Uber Cup team.

It paid dividends of sorts as Remi Rossi won for Tahiti their first Thomas Cup match against the Netherlands’ Robin Mesman in their final Group C tie.

“We wanted to win (just) one match. So it’s crazy for us,” he said afterwards, underlining the sense of achievement for the badminton minnows dreaming of big success in the future.

Get to know the Tahitian shuttlers and their inspirational stories. And the famous Haka, on a badminton court, was quite a sight too.