Badminton: Nhat Nguyen looking for 'best ever performance' as spot at Olympics confirmed

Nguyen, who turned 21 on Wednesday, finished 26th in qualifying - meaning he was comfortably good enough to compete in the 44-player men's singles.
Badminton: Nhat Nguyen looking for 'best ever performance' as spot at Olympics confirmed

Tokyo-bound. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan.

Badminton player Nhat Nguyen will represent Ireland at the Tokyo Olympics, it has been confirmed.

Nguyen, who turned 21 on Wednesday, finished 26th in qualifying - meaning he was comfortably good enough to compete in the 44-player men's singles.

The badminton events at the Games take place in the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, with the men’s singles taking place from July 24 with the final on August 2.

The Olympic Solidarity Scholarship holder competed strongly in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018, soon after he won a bronze medal in the European Junior Championships in 2018. In 2019 he made a smooth transition into the senior ranks, competing in the European Games in Minsk in 2019.

“I am delighted to be officially qualified for my first Olympics," Nguyen said. "Competing at the Olympics is a goal I have set from a young age. I am looking forward to being part of Team Ireland and representing my country in Tokyo.

"Qualification was the first goal and now my goal is to be ready to deliver my best ever performance.”

Nhat Nguyen in action.
Nhat Nguyen in action.

Olympic Federation of Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle added: “It has been such a pleasure watching Nhat grow and develop as a player over the past few years. He is a real talent, and his smooth move into the senior category is testament to that."

Badminton High Performance Director Dan Magee said having so many tournaments postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic made the qualification process all the more challenging.

"Our Irish athletes have adapted well to the challenges and gave everything they had in the events they were able to target. I am delighted for Nhat Nguyen to qualify for his first Olympics at only 21 years of age," he said.

"Nhat showed great maturity to deal with the various challenges over the year and I have no doubt that we will see this resilience and fighting spirit once more when he takes to the courts in Tokyo.”

As well as boxers and athletes who have booked their place at the delayed Games, Nguyen will be joined in Japan by Liam Jegou (canoe slalom) and Jack Woolley (Taekwondo).

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