In our new series, ‘Showcase your Sport’, in association with the Irish Federation of Sport, we will be giving you a thorough insight into some of the most fascinating sports we have in Ireland.
This week, we’re focusing on Badminton and answering our questions is Nhat Nguyen who was the first Irish man to win gold at the under-17 European Championships in 2016 and is currently ranked as the number one men’s singles player in Ireland.
When was your first introduction to badminton and what drew you to the sport?
My dad was a huge influence on me playing badminton. I think when I was seven, I just followed my dad to where he was playing with his friends and that’s when I picked up the racket for the first time. I didn’t like the sport at the start but when I just kept picking up the racket when my dad was playing, I just start liking it more. I think the skill and mental element of the game were what drew to the sport because I wasn’t the strongest or the tallest kid so I had to find other ways to win with my skills and being one step ahead of an opponent so. I think that is why I was hooked into badminton.
Can you explain the basic rules?
So basically you try to force an error from your opponent while trying to outmaneuvre them while hitting it over the net and in court.
What does a normal training week look like for you?
Twice a day, six days a week, I rest on Sundays. Two gym/weight sessions and one running session and rest is an on-court session.
What is your favourite memory from the sport?
To be honest, going into training every day, working on new things, and working as hard as I can to improve to become a better player. I think that’s what I will remember the most when I retire – the grind behind closed doors. Because when I was younger that’s all I wanted to do, to be able to eat, sleep, and train. Then try to put it into competition, if it doesn’t work we go again!
Favourite competition to take part in?
Irish Open. Home support there’s nothing like it!
Best thing about playing badminton in Ireland?
Being able to represent Ireland is the best thing for me and doing my family proud. I get great support from Badminton Ireland, The Sports Council, and a couple of my sponsors, Yonex, and FBD, and most of all my family. So I’m really living the dream, that’s how I feel anyway! I’m pleased to be supported like this.
Who do you look to for motivation/inspiration?
My family. My parents moved country for me and my sister to have the opportunities they never had. They both worked ridiculous hours to help me and my sister to achieve our goals and they still do these days. So giving back to my parents is the biggest motivation of mine.
What would you like to achieve in badminton?
1. World medal
2. European medal
3. Olympic medal
Why should people try out badminton?
I think it’s great fun and a lot of people think it’s quite an easy sport but trust me, it’s a lot harder than it looks. So I definitely recommend it to people who just want to have little fun and try something new to improve coordination and general health.