Muscle strain forces Vietnam's badminton star to miss SEA Games

By Lam Thoa   November 27, 2019 | 03:45 am PT
Muscle strain forces Vietnam's badminton star to miss SEA Games
Nguyen Tien Minh in action during a men's singles match at the 2019 Badminton World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, August 19, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann.
Nguyen Tien Minh, Vietnam's key badminton player, will miss the SEA Games this year due to an injury sustained during training a few days ago.

Minh confirmed that he won't be competing in the upcoming SEA Games due a thigh muscle strain injury he sustained while practicing with the national badminton team last Sunday.

"It is sad to be injured during this critical moment, when the SEA Games is near. I don't usually get injured when playing badminton. Over the past seven years, I have not been injured. But after practice this time, I tried to run some laps and injured myself," he said.

Vietnam's coaching staff quickly contacted SEA Games organizer to replace Minh's spot with Pham Cao Cuong, but failed because the organizers have closed the list. Therefore, 19-year-old Nguyen Hai Dang will be Vietnam's sole representative in the men's single badminton contest at SEA Games 2019.

Nguyen Thuy Linh and Vu Thi Trang will represent the nation in the women's badminton singles event.

This is the first time that Minh will miss the SEA Games.

"I will focus on my recovery to try and get a ticket to the 2020 Olympic Games," Minh said.

The SEA Games badminton event, scheduled to take place from December 1-9, features some of the world's leading players, including Indonesia's Jonatan Christie (6th) and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (8th) and Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia (12th).

At 36, Minh, a former world number five, remains Vietnam’s brightest badminton star. He is currently placed 53rd in the Badminton World Federation ranking.

His highest career achievement is the bronze medal at the 2013 World Badminton Championships in China, where he became the first Vietnamese to ever win a medal at this world-level competition.

He recently won a bronze medal at 2019 Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China.

Minh earned three bronze medals in men's single match in SEA Games 2007, 2013 and 2017 and a bronze medal in double match in 2005.

A total of 9,840 athletes from 11 countries are expected to contest 530 events across 56 disciplines at SEA Games 2019, which will be held from November 30 to December 11.

Vietnam is expected to have 568 athletes compete in 43 sports at the biennial sports event, with the target of winning 65-70 gold medals.

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