28 May 2024

Elite Athlete: Nathan Ngai – Badminton

Nathan Ngai: The Young Athlete’s Journey to Badminton Stardom

As a dedicated badminton player, Nathan Ngai has garnered a reputation for his exceptional skills while proudly representing Hong Kong and the SABRES team. Balancing the demands of academics and athletics poses numerous challenges, but Nathan’s unwavering dedication and commitment have proven his mettle time and time again.

Meet Nathan Ngai, the 14-year-old prodigy with immense potential who aspires to make a mark in the professional badminton scene. His journey into the world of badminton began at the tender age of four, and his passion for the sport grew exponentially, leading him to dream of becoming a professional player by 8 years old. Nathan’s dedication and years of training have propelled him to become one of the top players in Hong Kong for his age group, making him a potential member of the national team.

Representing Hong Kong is an honour Nathan holds dear. As a potential member of the national team, he has access to exceptional coaches, training facilities, and support staff. These resources not only enhance his skills but also instil a sense of pride and responsibility in him. However, Nathan acknowledges the challenges that come with balancing his academic commitments and training demands. Striving to excel in both areas requires effective time management and finding study techniques that work for him. Despite the difficulties, Nathan remains determined, often seeking extensions for homework and optimising his rest by taking naps during school or training breaks.

A typical day of training for Nathan begins after school at 5:00pm. However, his dedication leads him to arrive much earlier around 4:00pm to warm up or engage in additional training. The intense training sessions guided by his coach lasts until 8:00pm or later, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to honing his skills. Nathan devotes a significant amount of time each week to badminton, understanding that consistent effort and practice are key to achieving his goals.

However, like any athlete, Nathan is no stranger to rough patches and slumps throughout his student-athlete career. Illnesses have occasionally affected his performance, causing weight loss and a temporary decline in skills. However, Nathan’s resilience shines through as he perseveres, trusting in his coach’s guidance and pushing himself to work diligently. With time and determination, he regains his form and continues to stride for more.

Preparing physically and mentally before a competition is crucial, stressing the importance of getting into the zone. While he sometimes struggles with nerves, he finds that engaging in a few rallies helps him get into the zone to unleash his full potential on the court.

Looking ahead, Nathan has both short-term and long-term aspirations for his badminton career. In the short term, he aims to achieve recognition in overseas competitions and defeat older opponents who are also part of the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI). In the long term, he envisions graduating from the potential athlete programme and attaining elite member status in the HKSI, taking his badminton journey to the next level.

Being a student-athlete has profoundly impacted Nathan’s life, teaching him a valuable lesson: discipline surpasses motivation. He has learned that relying solely on motivation to complete tasks is insufficient – discipline and consistency are paramount. These traits have become integral not only to his badminton pursuits but also to his growth as an individual.

For Nathan, the future is clear – train relentlessly, aim for recognition in overseas competitions, and eventually transition into full-time badminton. As he continues to pursue his dreams, we eagerly anticipate Nathan Ngai’s accomplishments as he represents both his school and his city. With pride, we support his journey and wish him the very best in all his future endeavours. We will proudly look forward to his achievements as a student at Sha Tin College and our future alumni! We are very proud of his achievements and the many more to come!

Written by Ethan Tang (Head of Media, Sports Media Team)
Edited by Dorothy Yeung (Deputy Head of Media, Sports Media Team)
Interview by Dorothy Yeung
Photographs taken by Lam Hung Chun