Olympic Badminton: Nguyen narrowly beaten in final set

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Team Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen took to the courts to face world number ten, Chinese Taipei’s Tzu-Wei Wang at the Musashino Forest Plaza

In Nguyen’s last match he beat Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne to straight sets but todays opponent would be much harder.

At 10:40, Ireland’s big badminton match started. Wang’s quality was noticeable with each swing, proving he is a major candidate for a medal at the Games.

Nguyen did not just come to match to take part and made the Chinese Taipei man earn every score.

The first set started with Nguyen getting a few scores intermittently in between Wang’s great plays. Many scores came after long, fast rallies.

The Irishman made a late flurry but it wasn’t enough to beat Wang’s great attack and net play. The first set ended 21-12 to Wang.

The 21-year-old from Dublin started the stronger in the second set, gaining a 10-4 lead. Wang’s energy dipped leading to unforced errors.

He did fight back to narrow the gap with the Irish player until they were together at 15. The two continued to trade rallies and scores until Nguyen pulled off some brilliant plays to win the set 21-18.

The final set would decide everything. Wang’s confidence had been shaken by the last set and the world number ten came out stronger.

Nguyen needed to keep the scores close as his opponent started to tire and the scores were level at four apiece.

The Irish player rightly been compared to a cat as he jumped across the court. He enjoyed his game, smiling even when he lost a score.

Wang upped his game after the halfway mark, scoring some hard smashes to gain a four point lead on Nguyen.

With a lead of 15-12, Wang sustained a slight neck injury but decided to continue. After his check-up, he found new life and pulled further away.

It just wasn’t to be for Nguyen as Wang won the third set 21-12, winning the game. With only one person qualifying from each group, sadly this is the end of Ireland’s journey in badminton in Tokyo.

Nhat Nguyen was Ireland’s sole representative for badminton in the Olympics, ranked at 54th in the world.

There is most definitely a bright future for him in the sport and he will be looking to improve on this again in Paris in three years time

 

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