Nhat Nguyen 'buzzing' after perfect start to Tokyo Olympics

The Dublin badminton star overcame Sri Lanka’s Nikula Karunaratne in his opening group game of the men’s singles.
Nhat Nguyen 'buzzing' after perfect start to Tokyo Olympics

Ireland's Nhat Nguyen reacts after winning his game

Badminton ace Nhat Nguyen got his Olympic campaign off to the perfect start in Tokyo on Monday night, the 21-year-old Dubliner taking a comfortable straight-sets win in his opening group game of the men’s singles.

Nguyen was up against Sri Lanka’s Nikula Karunaratne and he faced a tough first set, pulling through to win it 21-16. He wore his opponent down through the second, his class telling as he closed the match out 21-14. Afterwards he dedicated the win to his family back in Dublin, with whom he moved to Ireland from Vietnam at the age of six.

“They have sacrificed a lot for me and my sister and I am happy to give back by giving them something to cheer about,” he said. “They have worked very hard for us and I am pretty sure that they are working today as they work all day every day. I’m happy I made them proud. That is why I play badminton.

“I wanted to give my all for every single point. I was happy I was able to do that even though I didn’t play my best. I feel I shook off the nerves there than rather playing free and playing my style so it was just about getting the job done.” 

Nguyen has been a star performer for Irish badminton for several years. He won a European Junior bronze medal in 2018 and made the quarter-finals at both the World Juniors and Youth Olympics. In his first year at senior level in 2019 he reached quarter-finals at four international tournaments and made the last 16 at the European Games.

His second group game takes place on Wednesday, where he faces a much tougher task against world number 10 Wang Tzu-Wei. The winner of that will advance to the knockout stages.

“I had a good seven weeks of practice in Ireland so when I arrived to the training camp in Fukuroi, it was about maintaining my condition and my energy levels and my motivation,” said Nguyen. “I have a day to rest with late practice tomorrow and today gave me a chance to test out the hall. I have no excuses going into the next game unprepared. I am excited and buzzing for it.”

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