Courting success

Badminton champ Dr Jeffrey Tho of Bakery Hill Dental in Ballarat, VIC.
Badminton champ Dr Jeffrey Tho of Bakery Hill Dental in Ballarat, VIC.

Badminton champ Dr Jeffrey Tho of Bakery Hill Dental in Ballarat, VIC, has just returned from his success at the Commonwealth Games

I played badminton at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month. Nothing comes close to the amazing feeling of representing my country—knowing that every Australian is supporting me, despite the fact they may have never met or heard of me before.

“I was a quarterfinalist in the badminton mixed teams event, and also made it to the round of 16 in both the men’s singles and mixed doubles events.

“Badminton isn’t a very well-known sport in Australia but it’s popular in Asia and Europe. It has speed, explosiveness and power but at the same time, there’s a lot of skill required.

“My dad introduced me to the game when I was
10 years old and at the age of 12, I made the under-17 state Victorian team. When I was 14, I qualified for the under-19 state Victorian team. Then in 2004 when I was 16, I represented Australia at the Junior Commonwealth Games.

“In 2006 I played for Australia in the World Junior Championships when I was nearly 18. I didn’t get into dentistry at uni that year so I spent the next year playing badminton. I reapplied for dentistry in 2007 and got in but I also had a shot at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. I decided to take another year off to train full-time again. During this period, I also played in competitions in Asia, Europe, USA and South America.

“At the end of 2007, I was still looking good to get into the Olympics. I managed to get special consideration from uni and took another year off. I just missed out on making the Olympic team. Later that year I won the Australian National Championships which gave me the number-one ranking in Australia.

“After taking three years off, I finally started my dentistry degree in 2009. During the first couple of years, I was still able to travel overseas to represent Australia in badminton, including the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. After that, the dentistry became quite demanding and I didn’t play any international tournaments until the end of 2013. Earlier this year, I competed in the 2014 Oceania Championships and won the men’s singles.

“I really love playing badminton but I also love the sense of achievement the game has given me—it’s a fantastic sport.”

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