Missing Games fuels hunger for ace Norman

editorial image

LURGAN badminton star Norman Lau believes stepping up to under-19 level has been the making of him as he strives to reach the biggest stage of all.

Despite being hotly tipped, 18-year-old Lau missed out on qualification for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

But Lau insists the disappointment of missing out on the trip to Scotland has only fuelled his hunger to improve as he now sets his sights on the ultimate goal of qualifying for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Lau was Irish national singles and doubles champion at under-17 level in 2013 but admits moving up an age group has forced him to up his game in recent months.

“It’s really the attacking side of my play that needed work and me and my coaches have been working hard to make sure that gets better,” he said.

“I’m lucky because I have two coaches – Trevor Woods, who I’ve been with for five years, and Andrew Stewart, who’s been coaching me for three.

“With Trevor focusing on my speed and Andrew carefully studying my technique I’m getting better every training session.

“It was disappointing to miss out on Glasgow last year but I’m aiming for the Gold Coast in 2018.”

Lau, who currently studies at Lismore Comprehensive School, did experience the international stage last year as he competed at November’s Portuguese Junior Open.

And the teenager is hoping to build on that experience after being named in Ireland’s team set to compete in the European Junior Championships in Poland from March 26 to April 5.

“That’s what I look forward to – when I get to learn from players of totally different nationalities,” he added.

“Last year’s highlight was going to Portugal. The movement of players over there was completely different to how we play at home.

“I was able to learn more about how to be creative with my shots and which skills I need to work on to progress as a player but the more international experience I gain the better I will be able to do that.”

SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen