Hong Kong Open Badminton Championship 2018: Angus Ng Ka-long ‘dreams every night’ of being best in the world
- Angus Ng Ka-long looking to win his second Hong Kong Open title
- Former world No 6 has fallen to 14th in rankings amid struggles
Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka-Long is still determined to rule the world badminton rankings despite his recent struggles.
The 24-year-old plays in the last 16 of the Hong Kong Badminton Championship on Wednesday evening, with the tournament running until November 18 at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom.
Ng won the event two years ago and is targeting another title this week, but he has made his ultimate goal known to his rivals with a declarative statement that leaves no room for interpretation.
“I want to be the number one player in the world,” the Kowloon native told the South China Morning Post. “That is the dream.”
For most badminton players, this would seem like a lofty target, but Ng has a legitimate chance to reach the upper echelon of the sport, and a solid resume to back it up – just call him the “giant slayer”.
At the 2015 Hong Kong Open, Ng scored a famous win over China’s two-time Olympic champion, five-time world champion and six-time all England champion Lin Danin a contest he calls one of the most memorable of his life.
“After the match, I did not know what to do,” said Ng, who also beat Lin again this year at the German Open. “My mind was so blank I didn’t really even celebrate. I didn’t really know what happened until after it was so unreal.”
He also upset Indonesia’s Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie, the world No 12, and downed fifth-ranked Chen Long of China in Denmark.
All these victories have come in the past few years against older, more established players, hinting Ng could be ready to take his game to the next level.
Ng also pushed current world No 1 Kento Momotaof Japan to three sets, losing 21-15,16-21,15-21, in the Thomas Cup in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this year.
The right-handed Ng has hit sixth spot twice, first in June 2017, and then again in August of that year after making the third round of the 2016 Rio Olympics before losing to South Korea’s Son Wan-ho.
Ng has struggled to return to his previous form and ranking. But he said this is all part of the game, dealing with the ups and downs of a sport that can turn on timely win.
“When you are at the top of the mountain everything is good and you do not have to work on anything,” he said, talking about the two-year period starting in 2016 when he was regularly ranked in the top 10 in the world.
“But then when I’m in my hard times I have to think of many different methods to improve my game, and so right now I feel a lot of pressure in my career to return to that.”
Ng lost the German Open final to world No 3 Chou Tien Chen in March, and has not won a tournament since the Victor Far East Malaysian Masters in January 2017.
But he is still training six days a week, and said sleeping is one of his hobbies on the rare days he does allow himself to relax.
“There are a lot of players who are very talented and gifted, but if they do not put the effort in, they will not make it. So for me it’s all about putting that effort in to be the best,” he said.
Ng hopes to hold up the trophy this week in front of his friends and family at a tournament he grew up watching as a kid. Then after that, it’s back to the bigger goal: to be the best in the world one day, sooner rather than later.
“This is what I dream about at night, every night.”