Vietnam's top badminton player Nguyen Tien Minh is dipping his toes into the world of business with the inauguration of a sports store in Ho Chi Minh City today, March 6.
Minh, who used to be the world’s number five, is now a businessman who owns the Tien Minh Sport outlet in District 5.
The opening of the badminton equipment shop came less than 24 hours after the 33-year-old player returned home from the 2016 German Open Badminton in Mülheim.
Minh said opening a sports store is what he has planned for years.
“My parents are both doing business so a part of me is also passionate about this field,” he said.
“As my passion for badminton is greater, I chose to pursue a sporting career, even though I always dream of the day when I can compete in the field of business.”
The competition in business will not be easy for the novice shop owner, who has competed in world’s badminton for 15 years, as it is not about physical health and playing techniques, but market tactics and strategies.
“The store is 100 percent funded from my savings so I have to be really careful in running it,” Minh said.
“I feel confused sometimes as this is a brand new field to me and there are really a lot of things to do.”
The Vietnamese player has recently signed a VND1 billion (US$44,643) sponsor contract with Mizuno, a Japanese sports equipment and sportswear company, and he is also the company’s brand ambassador in Vietnam for 2016.
The first floor of his shop is therefore dedicated to sell Mizuno products, whereas the second floor is venue for the Badminton Café, where the top player meets and share experience with his fans.
Minh said the idea of opening the Badminton Café is his brainchild, and a place he hopes to relax after stressful times.
“I also hope the café suits the taste of young customers,” he added.
Minh is expected to be busy meeting and signing autographs for supporters and friends shortly after the store opening, as the news has been shared on Facebook over the past few days.
Minh however asserted that he will never neglect badminton training, as he has found fame with the sport.
His ultimate goal for 2016 is to have the best possible performance at the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics, so the store will mostly run by his relatives.
“I just come there after training sessions or competitions,” he said.
While his best result is the world’s number seven, Minh currently ranked 42nd on the BWF World Rankings updated on March 1.
While he is no longer in his best form due to age, Minh remains Vietnam’s top badminton.
He has recently been appointed coach of the Ho Chi Minh City’s badminton team, where he is also a player.