Seven-year-old Axel Toh makes a comeback from one set down to win the Pilot Pen National Age Group (Boys Under 9) Singles 2014 Badminton Tournament.
Axel Toh, 7, was crowned the Pilot Pen National Age Group (Boys Under 9) Singles 2014 champion after prevailing over 31 players. The tournament took place from Mar 17 to 22 at the Singapore Badminton Hall.
Trailing behind top seed opponent Brendan Lau, 8, by one set, the odds was stacked against Toh, who played one match more than his adversary. But the underdog leveled the score in the second set, and both boys were neck-to-neck in the final set which decided the winner of the competition.
The tournament went into deuce twice, but eventually Toh emerged victorious, beating Lau 23-21 to clinch the win. With a nudge from his father, John Toh, Toh shared his winning formula: “I pray with my mom for half an hour in the morning [before every tournament]. I [would] just say, ‘Help me to win every match.’” The family worships at City Harvest Church.
The long hours of training and hard work paid off for Toh, who started playing badminton since age five; the senior Toh wanted his son to invest his time in sport, as opposed to spending all his free time on video games.
“I tried tennis and sailing, but I liked badminton,” recalls the bubbly Toh. In the months leading up to the championships, Toh underwent a rigorous training regime under a coach for two hours, three times a week—but only after completing his homework.
Today, the Anglo Chinese School Junior Primary 2 student is training five times a week in preparation for his fourth competition, the VICTOR Age Group Championship 2014, to be held in June this year.
When asked about his ambition, Toh surprised this writer with a maturity beyond his years and answered, “I want to be a doctor, because badminton is not forever. But if I can represent my school or represent Singapore, I would.”