On fast shuttle to success
NATURAL RISE FOR GIFTED ATHLETE
THEODORE Kang was described as a natural from the moment he picked up a badminton racquet.
His father Nicholas Kang points to the session when the Wesley College student was “mucking around” with his brother Rupert in late 2013 and former world number 1 Yuli Zheng saw him at the beginning of his young badminton career.
“She said he was very natural and she invited him to join her club with his brother. He was mainly just mucking around with the sport at this time,” he said.
“About three months later, he played in a State tournament in the under-11s section and he came second and this was with minimal training.”
After gaining the attention of national coaches at subsequent tournaments, including 2010 Commonwealth athlete Nicholas Kidd, the 13-year-old has had a meteoric rise.
He was selected in the Australian National Junior Squad three times and represented Australia in international tournaments in Singapore and New Zealand.
Theodore is also in Wesley College’s Long-Term Athletic Development program, which started this year at the school.
He trains about 25 to 30 hours per week on and off the court, which includes strength and conditioning and playing other sports such as rowing and water polo.
Theodore said he enjoyed playing badminton because it meant playing with different people, who had distinct ways of playing.
“The highlight so far has been playing in youth tournaments in Singapore because I was able to play against international players, who all have different styles of playing,” he said. “My long-term is goal is to make the 2022 Commonwealth Team and the 2024 Olympic Team but short-term, I just want to represent Australia more.”
Theodore flew to Thailand last week to start three months of training in Asia. He will spend the first month at the Banthongyord Badminton School in Bangkok before training at Djarum in Indonesia.
Mr Kang said his son played badminton with respect to his opponent, no matter who they were.
Theodore Kang plays his sport in the right spirit, father Nicholas said. “He doesn’t try to trash or embarrass whoever he is playing.”