Ballarat dentist Jeffrey Tho fights tooth and nail in Glasgow

Coaches: Bakery Dental Group staff Alyshia Raats, Tiarne Harrison, Jacinta Curtis and Kylie Blake cheer on fellow workmate Dr Jeffrey Tho as he competes In the Commonwealth Games. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Coaches: Bakery Dental Group staff Alyshia Raats, Tiarne Harrison, Jacinta Curtis and Kylie Blake cheer on fellow workmate Dr Jeffrey Tho as he competes In the Commonwealth Games. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

WHEN dentist Jeffrey Tho plays in his first Commonwealth Games singles badminton game, his Ballarat colleagues hope he will fight tooth and nail.

After all, they’ve spent Dr Tho’s first six months in Ballarat being his unofficial coaches.

Bakery Dental Group owner Isabel Martini said “the girls have been very good at making sure he’s been doing his training”.

However, the time difference with Glasgow is making it

hard to keep track of his progress.

Receptionist Tiarne Harrison said she was getting online “every hour or so” to check his results, with Dr Tho scheduled to play Kenyan Joseph Githitu overnight.

Mrs Martini said Dr Tho was employed by her late husband, well-known Ballarat sporting identity Dr Ekke Martini, due to his top-notch dentistry skills.

But his badminton talent was a bonus.

“Ekke was terribly interested in sport and played badminton himself as a young man.

“Our betting is, the day Jeff got selected, Ekke would have bought his own ticket to Glasgow.”

Mrs Martini said Dr Tho finished very high in his dentistry school year but wanted to move to Ballarat to partly concentrate on his badminton career.

“He was keen on trying out for the Commonwealth Games. Ekke said he would give him all the time he wanted for the Games.”

To allow Dr Tho to head to Glasgow, a friend of Dr Martini’s has been helping out at the practice instead.

“I guess we all felt we wanted to make sure we fulfilled Ekke’s dream and that Jeff was going to go.”

Mrs Martini said Dr Tho thought he would have Dr Martini, who died in February, as his mentor but had since had to take a “quantum leap into being a dentist”.

“He has proved his worth in dentistry. If he does as well in the Games, he’ll be getting gold,” she said.

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