Despite playing international level badminton for over 10 years, Nathan Tang’s parents have never seen him play. It was their decision at the start of his badminton career, as they did not want to add any pressure or deter from his aspirations as an athlete.
The 32-year-old has competed in the Continental Championships since 2012, making this year his tenth anniversary. Over the course of a decade, he has made two semifinal appearances (2016 and 2020), which will imminently become three.
As one of the oldest competitors at the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2022, he brought his wealth of experience and craftmanship to the court this morning as he defeated the reigning champion and first seed, Abhinav Manota (New Zealand), to book his spot in tonight’s semifinals. The match was a repeat of the 2020 men’s singles semifinal, where Manota ran away with a 21-8 21-16 victory.
However, today’s result could not have gotten much closer. The pair battled it out over 56 minutes, with Tang eventually enacting his revenge to win 21-16 21-23 21-16.
“I feel ecstatic… I got my revenge because I was in better form today”, said Nathan immediately after stepping off court.
Competing in his stomping grounds at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre, Nathan literally benefits from a home advantage. Living just minutes away, Nathan admitted that a “home cooked meal and rest at home” will aid his preparations for this evening’s semifinal – explicitly stating that there will be “no napping involved”.
“The mindset in 2020 was to make the semis, I made it, but then I let my foot off the gas. This time, I’m going to be more selfish and not think too much about my teammates this afternoon. I live locally so I will head home, rest and get my favourite food”, says Nathan.
Another advantage to aid his preparations is his ability to switch off at home. On the advice of his coach, Jeff Tho, Nathan tend to “leave the badminton life on court“, allowing him to fully relax and recharge.
When the semifinals commence from 5pm this evening (AEST), Nathan will still be competing with no family in the audience as the tradition has turned into “superstition” and he has no intention of breaking the mold this year. To earn his place in tomorrow’s final, Nathan will have to overcome the challenge from fellow compatriot, Ying Xiang Lin.
Like Nathan’s parents are likely to do so, you can catch all the action from this evening’s semifinals on court one and two on the live stream, via Badminton Oceania’s YouTube Channel. Click here to watch.
Follow the draw on Tournament Software here, and join the conversation online by using the hashtag #VOC22