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October 22, 2010 > Badminton phenom Zenas Lam

Badminton phenom Zenas Lam

By Gary van den Heuvel

Zenas Lam is the typical 18-year-old; among his interests are cruising the Internet, listening to hip-hop, pop, and Christian music, spending time with friends, and playing musical instruments such as the piano, guitar and drums. Lam dabbles in art and he loves the movies "Remember the Titans" and "Avatar."

All completely normal teenage activities, but Lam is also involved in another pastime which distinguishes him from his peers: he is an aspiring Olympian in the sport of badminton.

Lam discovered badminton through his father Alston. "We used to play in our apartment and I really enjoyed it," said Lam, who began training at age 9. He also enjoys tennis, table tennis, basketball, football and swimming.

A graduate from Mountain View High School earlier this year, Lam already has an impressive resume in his favorite sport. Among his proudest achievements include winning the Under-19 Boys Singles title of the 2010 Junior Nationals Badminton Championship, and the 2008 Junior Pan American Badminton Championship Under-17 Boys Doubles.

His most memorable accomplishment? "I would say that it was being the first and only boy to participate in the first Youth Olympic Games," Lam said about the games which were held in Singapore in August of this year.

He has realistic expectations when it comes to the Olympics.

"It is every athlete's goal to participate in the Olympics," Lam says. For the near future, his priority will be school. Lam started attending Cal Poly Pomona, where he will study architecture. "If I do get the chance, I definitely want to train for the Olympics," though he concedes that his chances for 2012 may be slim, compared to more experienced players. "With hard work, I believe there is a chance that I will make it."

Lam's love for architecture goes back to his childhood. "I've always enjoyed building things such as Legos, and architecture incorporates these aspects. I enjoy the feeling of designing something as great as a building."

Though Lam can be described as an aggressive, power player on the badminton court, he says, "I believe my success is a combination of both talent and hard work. I don't think any athlete can succeed if they only have talent with no hard work, or only hard work and no talent."

Lam has been working directly with coach Zhou Lei at ZBTC (Z Badminton Training Center, online at zbadmintontrainingcenter.com) for the last five years. He acknowledges that his athletic success is not his alone.

"Without the support of my parents, no one would be taking me to training five times a week. And without the help of God, I definitely would not be where I am today."

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