Norman Lau: Inspired to play
Norman Lau was blown away by meeting Sir Chris Hoy.
But the 17-year-old up-and-coming badminton star has an unusual sporting hero: his elder brother.
Norman, from Portadown, County Armagh, started playing badminton with his brother, Martin, 20, when they lived in Hong Kong. The family moved to Northern Ireland five years ago to get a better education for their children.
Norman - who is currently studying his A-levels - says he wouldn’t be where he is today if not for his big brother’s constant support and willingness to practice.
The Next Generation Athlete recently met Sir Chris at an event in England. He described the moment as “cool” but revealed his main sporting inspiration is closer to home. “My brother is definitely one of my main influences,” he said. “He’s a badminton player too and even though he’s away at university, he still plays there as well.”
“As soon as we started playing together I was hooked. The satisfaction you get when he hit a well placed shot is like nothing else.“Growing up, we used to do a lot of swimming together but I had an accident which meant I couldn’t go in the pool for six months so we just started playing badminton instead.
“When I started getting better, Martin would practise with me every single day and before a big match, we would go over and over the same manoeuvres to get them right.
“I know that without his constant support and him wanting to help me that I probably wouldn’t have the same level of determination that I do. I cannot thank him enough.”
The talented sports star, who hopes to become the Irish under-19 National Champion, insists that winning isn’t everything.
“It’s about playing well and showing others how well you can play,” he said. “When I step onto the court I don’t just think about winning, but about enjoying myself while doing so and hitting a good shot.
“Badminton is the fastest racket sport in the world so it can get pretty intense,” he said.
After completing his exams, Norman hopes to go on and study sports science at the University of Ulster, Belfast. He hopes to become a physiotherapist in the future but only once he has hung up his badminton racket for good.