THE SPOTLIGHT is now on Ballarat dentist Jeff Tho, who is smiling wide after his Commonwealth Games selection.
Tho will pull on the green-and-gold in badminton and has been working hard in his new adopted hometown to ensure he is primed for competition.
It has been a long wait for Tho in Badminton Australia unveiling its line up this week.
He won the Oceania men’s singles title in Ballarat in February to reinforce his chances.
This will be Tho’s second Commonwealth Games, following his debut in Delhi in 2010.
The Bendigo native arrived in Ballarat early this year via university in Melbourne and has quickly settled into a routine, juggling his new job with training.
“I train after work and before work as much as I can possibly do without wearing myself out,” Tho said.
“Ballarat’s been good. Everyone is nice and it’s not too different to Bendigo really.”
Tho joins a strong Ballarat history in the sport, that includes Olympians Murray Hocking (1996), Peter Blackburn (1996, 2000), Kellie Lucas (2000) and Stuart and Ashley Brehaut (2004) and Erin Carroll (2008).
He also travels to Melbourne each weekend to continue training with the Badminton Australia high performance squad at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre.
Tho is determined to improve on his last Commonwealth Games appearance in which he reached the quarter finals with Australia in the teams event.
This time, Tho wants to put Australia in line for a medal.
He can hardly wait to get started now his spot is confirmed.
“It’s awesome, always great to make Australian teams,” Tho said.
“Other than saying the Commonwealth Games is fantastic, it’s really professional, there is a really big physio and medical staff and great environment just being about the (athletes’) village.”
His Games preparations increase quickly.
Tho will travel to Sydney later this month for the Australian Badminton Open and a short training camp.
The Australian team will enter a one-week training camp in Derby, England, leading into the Games’ opening ceremony on July 23.
Meanwhile, Ballarat’s Tara Pilven has missed Australian selection for the Commonwealth Games.
Pilven has been based in Denmark to fine-tune her game and represented Australia in the Uber Cup, the international women’s teams event, in India last month.