Athlete in Focus: Dong Yun Lee

 Article by: Abhi Kottamasu

Photography by: Maxine Alindogan

IMG_7521As third season kicks off, everyone is eager to see how our IASAS teams will do this April. One sport that has attracted particular attention is badminton. Having gone through bit of a slump last year and losing many seniors, there is one familiar face leading the team, Dong Yun Lee. Bearcat Senior, Dong Yun has been playing badminton throughout High School and has participated in IASAS since the 10th grade. However, his badminton story is not any ordinary tale, it is actually quite unusual. In fact, just as sports legends Michael Phelps might have played professional golf and Lebron James almost played professional football, we might have seen Dong Yun flaunting his skills on the tennis court. As he recalls, he actually really enjoyed playing tennis and only tried out for the badminton team for fun, also because his friends played the sport. A part of the MS badminton squad, Dong Yun was lucky to witness IASAS legends battle it out live as badminton was hosted in Manila towards the end of his 8th grade. He believes that moment was what defined his Badminton story as from that moment on he started ‘training furiously’. Just like world-famous rapper, Drake, Dong Yun relates himself to the phrase “Started from the bottom now we’re here”. Dong Yun started from the bottom in JV and, in one year, made it to IASAS.

However, Dong Yun did not get where he is without hard work. As a matter of fact, Dong Yun trains three times a week and even goes to the coach’s private badminton courts for weekend practice. He believes that badminton requires a high level of agility and speed and that training is necessary to level up on those aspects. Even during the off-season,  Dong Yun gets in the hours as he trains with a private coach to maintain his skills.

Every star needs their idol, and Dong Yun’s is Lee Yong Dae – Korean olympic gold medalist. Dong Yun is truly inspired by this badminton legend and hopes that young kids on the team look up to IMG_7522him just as he looks up to Lee Yong Dae. As most of ISM badminton’s team is composed of underclassmen, Dong Yun, the only senior, believes it can actually get quite lonely at times. In addition, he feels as if ISM’s team is in a rebuilding stage, reinvigorating the team after their performance last IASAS. In fact, Dong Yun even draws some similarities with his role on the team and Kobe as he rebuilds the Lakers. But all jokes aside, Dong Yun thoroughly enjoys the sport and encourages other people to try out too. Moreover, he looks forward to going to TAS this year and making new friends and hopefully bettering last year’s performance. We wish our ISM Badminton team the best of luck as they prepare for IASAS, and have complete faith in Dong Yun to lead our Bearcats to success!