Badminton Life

Nguyen Set to Make History for Vietnam

Nguyen Tien Minh has fulfilled his goal of qualifying for the Beijing Games and is looking forward to becoming the first Vietnamese to compete at the Olympic Games.

According to the rankings issued by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Minh has earned 29,916 points from a series of international tournaments, raising his ranking to 35th in the world.

This is good enough to enter the men's singles competition because only two players form each country outside the top four are allowed to participate in Beijing.

He also becomes the 17th athlete from Vietnam to confirm his place in the Olympics.

Minh is by far Vietnam's leading badminton player and is a consistent performer on the international tour, especially over the past two years.

Supported by his family and the Ho Chi Minh City Badminton Federation, the player has been able to travel the world gaining experience and competing against top-class opposition.

All this has helped him improve his own game and boost his Olympic chances.

His best performance this year was victory over Asian champion Park Sung-hwan, of South Korea, at February's Thomas Cup qualifier in Ho Chi Minh City.

In addition, he became the only Vietnamese badminton player to be awarded a training scholarship by the International Olympics Committee.

The scholarship allowed him to enter an intensive training course in Malaysia to help him prepare for the Beijing Olympics.

The Olympic Games men's singles draw will comprise 38 players and Minh will be hoping to at least progress beyond the first round.

He has a busy programme ahead of Beijing as he attempts to sharpen his game. He will take part in the Singapore Open in mid-June followed by the prestigious Indonesian Open the next week.

Minh will complete his Olympic build-up by playing on home soil at the Vietnam Challenge from July 1-6.

However, Vietnam is still hoping to have more than one player at the Olympics. Minh's compatriot Le Ngoc Nguren Nhung has risen to 75th in the world from 89 four months ago and is looking for a wild card into the women's singles main draw.

She is hoping that her victory at the Lao Open, a tournament recognized by the BWF, will help her in the pursuit of an Olympic place.

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