Talking about the world of badminton, definitely you will know Lindan or nickname is Super Dan, the 2 times Olympic gold medal, 5 times world champion, and the first one who achieved the Grand Slam in Badminton. Another legend is the Malaysian, Lee Chong Wei, the world's number one of badminton player. And people have always talked about those two for more than 10 years. However, Vietnam also has a badminton legend and his name is Nguyễn Tiến Minh. Maybe you have never heard about this man, so first of all - who is Nguyễn Tiến Minh?
Let me give you a short introduction about Nguyễn Tiến Minh. According to an online article, Tiến Minh was born on 12th of February 1983 in Hồ Chí Minh City, and has been playing badminton since he was really young and won the Ward level with first place when he was only 10 years old and he kept on winning others prizes, one of the most memorable achievements that I cannot leave out is his gold medal in the Men Single in the National Tournament when he was 19.
When he was 18, he desired to become a professional badminton players instead of studying as his family wanted him to be. Therefore, in 2002, the name Nguyễn Tiến Minh was listed in BWF (Badminton World Federation) record and for 6 years competing, from 2002 to 2008, he was able to increase his rank from 252 to 28 and became the first Vietnamese badminton player to join the Olympic game. Therefore, with the rapid increase in his career, in the beginning of 2009, he was named in the top 20 world best badminton player in BWF's ranking system. 6 months later, he completed an astonishing achievement when defeated the current world Number one Lee Chong Wei in 3 games: 24/22, 20/22, 21/19 and claimed the right to join the quarter - final stage in Singapore Open 2009, but he stopped his journey because of losing a Chinese player named Bao Chunlai. However, this was the most memorable achievements that surprised every badminton player because at that time, it was really hard to beat Lee Chong Wei - Malaysian badminton player. And for this wining, he joined the 11th place in BWF's world ranking. Sadly, he didn't keep that position after 2 weeks, he was decreased to 15th place in the ranking system.
On the other hand, a month later, on 25th July, 2009 a strong come back from Tiến Minh when he beat the Thailand player in Grand Prix Thailand Open with two straight games: 21/16, 21/13. After this match, for the first time ever, Vietnam has had a Vietnamese badminton player joined top 10 and two months later, he reached 7th place. Not just there, 6 months later, he had the ability to claim the 6th place and on 2nd of February, 2010, he successfully wrote his name in top 5 best badminton player on the world according to BWF's ranking system with 51,844 points. For this achievement, probably it is not hard for Lindan or Lee Chong Wei to take; however, to a country where badminton sport is not so popular well - prepared, Tiến Minh has done a remarkable accomplishment.
Talking about his achievement, from my perspective maybe this man has been the first and ever Vietnamese badminton player successfully participated in three consecutive Olympic games - 2008 - 2012 - 2016. For the highest victory, he was able to win the bronze medal against a Danish player name Jan O Jorgensen in three tough games: 21-8, 17-21, 22-20 and became the first man attained to the semi - final of the World Championship in 2013. After that, in 2014, he competed to Lee Chong Wei in the quarter - final in three games. Unfortunately, this time Lee Chong Wei beat him with 23-21, 16-21, 17-21. Although he did not win any title in Olympic or World Championship title or All England, etc. But to me, he is my hero, my inspiration of a man full of effort and hardworking.
About his strategy, unlike Lindan has many tricky shots or Lee Chong Wei with powerful smashes and fast attack , Tiến Minh chose to play defensive mode and the way he walked on the court was unbelievable, so people called him "the man with no lungs". He is now living in Ho Chi Minh City and has his own Badminton shop name Tiến Minh Sport.
So how about his daily life, what does he usually do? have he got married?. Well, definitely he has got married, and guess what, his beloved half is Vũ Thị Trang, also a Vietnamese badminton player.
Tiến Minh's Thoughts
From an article in 2013, after being a professional player for 10 years, and wining many titles for Vietnam like the World Championship Bronze Medal for Vietnam, and many other titles, he was still received many negative comments and comparisons from the Vietnamese people, which made him really sad. He said each year, he had to follow BWF regulations, so he must play for 17 - 18 tournaments, which is really bad for his health, so he chose wisely, which one he should focus for the champion title, which one he should not; but the audiences seemed like they did not understand about this and when Tiến Minh could not perform well in those tournaments, they criticized him badly. Also, some of them made comparison between him and Lee Chong Wei.
He said that he had to work really hard without any strategic trainings from the beginning day, and lack of investment on his career, etc. But some how, people still compared him to Lee Chong Wei, the world number one in Badminton. Lee was a talented badminton player and Tiến Minh had lost him in many aspects such as skills, strategies, etc. If he had been LEE, he would have gone for the first place on the ranking system.
My letter to Minh
Although you was not able to win any Olympic Gold Medal or World Championship Gold Medal, I admire you because of your hard work, you could join top 10, won many titles without many investment on your career; but you still received many negative thoughts from the audiences. They do not look for your achievements, how you have trained to get those titles, they just want to see the results, but joining 3 consecutive Olympic games and won a Bronze Medal for Vietnam is more than I could expected from you. Thank you for everything you have done to this country. Wish all the best of the best to you, your wife, you shop!
Hope to meet you someday.
Some of the titles he has won - Updated to 2013
_ 11 consecutive times won Vietnam National Tournament
_ Team Men Bronze Medal at SEA Games 2005, held in Philippines
_ Team Men Bronze Medal at SEA Games 2007, held in Thailand.
_ Gold Medal Malaysia Satellite in 2004
_ Gold Medal Vietnam Satellite in 2006 and 2008
_ Gold Medal Yonex Sunrise Vietnam Open in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012
_ Bronze Medal Tawain Open 2008
_ US Open Champion in 2013
_ Bronze Medal in World Championship 2013