Nhat catches the Euro-star
Ireland were unable to reproduce the magic which brought them December qualifying round victories over Bulgaria, Finland and Norway when they began their European Mixed Team Championship challenge this afternoon.
But every cloud has a silver lining and the ray of Copenhagen sunshine came from teenage prospect Nhat Nguyen, who gave the Irish a men’s singles victory over Max Weisskirchen 21-19 10-21 21-10 in the opening contest of a 4-1 setback.
Two consecutive shots at 19-19 in the opening game clearly illustrated this young man’s potential as he displayed determination, agility and brilliance to force a game point, which then went his way when Weisskirchen sent the shuttle long.
The youngster’s nerve was then tested as he could not maintain the pressure in the second game. But he remained focused and took the decider convincingly to put Ireland on the scoreboard and chalk up his second career win over his opponent.
However, the joy was shortlived as the German team’s greater strength in depth saw them take the next four contests in straight games.
Even so interim coach Yvette Yun Luo was still impressed by Nguyen, the 18-year-old Vietnam-born Dubliner. She said: “The first match is always difficult to play, Germany are stronger and definitely have the depth as well.
“But Nhat did well and our ladies doubles didn’t do too bad.
“Nhat is young and he is going to get better and better. My training is more practical. It’s about intensity and hopefully that will help him.”
Nhat said: “Yvette has been two and a half weeks with us. Training is a bit different, a lot more physical.
“In the third set today I felt a bit more fitter. She has definitely brought a bit more intensity into training. It’s good. A bit more physical than we are used to.
“I have played him before and have beaten him before. So there was a little bit of pressure on me but I respond quite well to pressure. The team didn’t put pressure on me either.
“Yvette has brought a different method into training...it’s good.
“We are a very small team but we get on very well. We have a good spirit
“We have England and Russia to come so that won’t be any easier. We’ll prepare for that.... we will have a good dinner tonight,” said the youngster, who added: “I have just finished school this year so I am training full time and badminton is my life now.”
England, the second seeds, suffered a surprise in their opener when they went down 3-2 to Russia – and they suffered a further setback when doubles star Gabby Adcock had to go home injured.
Ireland 1 Germany 4
Men’s singles: Nhat Nguyen bt Max Weisskirchen 21-19 10-21 21-10
Women’s singles: Sara Boyle lost to Yvonne Li 21-5 21-4
Men’s doubles: Joshua Magee & Paul Reynolds lost to Mark Lamsfuss & Jan Colin Volker 21-9 21-12
Women’s doubles: Sara Boyle & Rachael Darragh lost to Johanna Goliszewski & Lara Kaepplein 21-18 21-15
Mixed doubles: Sam & Chloe Magee lost to Marvin Seidel & Linda Efler 21-19 21-16
To follow all of Ireland's results over the week click here
Report by William Kings