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June 18, 2010 > American High badminton champ, Cal-bound Dominick Lim

American High badminton champ, Cal-bound Dominick Lim

By Gary van den Heuvel

For Dominick Lim, it has been and will continue to be a memorable 2010. After graduating from American High School, Dominick will be heading to UC Berkeley in the fall, to study Mechanical Engineering. Perhaps his biggest memory will be his dominating performance on the badminton court, where he won the singles championship in the Mission Valley Athletic League, then followed that up with the singles title in the North Coast Section championships.

Lim had played several sports, but found his favorite when he discovered badminton four years ago. He got interested in the game through his older brother Michael, who was a varsity player at American for four years.

"For me, [badminton] is the most intriguing sport," Lim says. "It's one of the toughest to learn and probably the hardest to master. It requires stamina, mental toughness, lightning reflexes, and physical and mental agility. At the highest level, one must be able to accurately do a wide range of shots - from a drop shot that just tumbles over the net to a powerful smash that can reach speeds of over 200 miles per hour."

Lim's breakthrough in the sport came at the 2008 Junior National Badminton Championships, where he placed fourth in both Under-17 and Under-19 men's singles events. They were his first top-five finishes, and as a result, he was consistently seeded as high as no. 2 in his age group in national tournaments.

Lim has traveled as far as Indonesia to compete, and he considers the Indonesian players to be the toughest opponents he has faced to date.

"Those players are on a completely different level. They move and think so much faster - a testament to the quality and intensity of their training. I use that experience to motivate and inspire myself to improve."

Dominick showed steady improvement in his high school career. At the NCS championships, Lim finished fourth as a sophomore, second as a junior, and won it all this year, beating Khalil Omar from James Logan High School, 21-11, 21-10.

"Unfortunately, the final scores don't tell the complete story of the game," said Lim. "We had some very long rallies that had quite a number of remarkable shots."

As his role models, Dominick cites his parents, who came to the United States from the Phillipines before their children were born, and his brother Michael, "for defining who I am and being very supportive of me." He also greatly admires Leonardo Da Vinci ("the archetype of the Renaissance Man," in Dominick's words), and Albert Einstein ("a brilliant mind and a non-conforming individual").

Badminton will continue to be part of Dominick's life in college, as he plans to play for Cal, who last season won first place in the team championship of the Badminton National Collegiate Tournament. A number of players whom Lim has watched or played against in junior national tournaments will also be attending Berkeley, so the competition figures to be fierce.

Despite his successes, Dominick feels his game is still evolving.

"I started out as a conservative player, focusing on good shot placements; became an aggressive power player, and now I'm working on not telegraphing my shots," he says. "I think a top-level player needs all these aspects and I would like to have a good blend of all traits."

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