Badminton has been an important part of Ng Tsz-yau’s life for the past 12 years.
“I often lived in my uncle’s home when I was small. He played badminton with me every weekend and taught me how to play it,” the 17-year-old champion from Heep Yunn School explains. “I enjoyed it so much, I started joining badminton teams.”
Tsz-yau hasn’t just been enjoying a friendly game of badminton – she has been dominating competitions. She won first place in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games mixed doubles, and came third at the 2015 National Youth Games women’s doubles.
But Tsz-yau talks more about the fun and challenges of her sport than the medals she has won. “Badminton is a very technical sport,” she says. “It requires good hand-eye coordination and racquet skills.”
Despite her success, Tsz-yau remains humble and admits there is room for improvement. “I am not strong enough,” she says. “I need to do more gym and fitness work to become stronger. This is the most difficult challenge.”
While Tsz-yau is critical of her own performance, she also values the positive side of her sport. “Badminton is a great way to have fun, improve skills, make friends and stay fit,” she says. “It is amazing how fast I can get exhausted while hitting this little ball without even realising it.”
And she has big ambitions with that “little ball” this year.
“Hopefully I can be consistent and get good results in big tournaments like the World Junior Championships,” she says. “Last year I got to the quarter-finals and lost. This year, I hope to reach the final.”
But Tsz-yau says that goal is still far away. First, she has to get ready to compete in three tournaments within the next two months. “I don’t really know about my chances. These adult tournaments are going to be really important, especially in Bangkok and India,” she says. “So I hope I can do well there. That’s going to be a goal for this year.”
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Full Strike is the first sports movie about badminton. It is about the losers who need to learn to believe in themselves and become winners. I can be confident and believe that, in the long term, I will become better.
If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use it?
I wish I had the power to fly, which would allow me to travel around the world. Then I could go from one place to another very quickly, and I could also be very fast in heaven.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Luck. I think it is a key to success. I can make the best use of my judgment, skill and personal strength, but I can’t control luck, for example, the luck of the draw in a competition.
Ten years into the future, you are a famous athlete. What company would you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product would you promote?
I would like to promote Nike and Vans products. Nike is so stylish and perfect for training. I also like Vans products because they are really comfortable. I like their style and colours.