Sports

The New Paper - - RACING - JONAH FOONG

As the chil­dren of for­mer Sin­ga­pore na­tional shut­tler Lee Suan Soon, it will come as no sur­prise that Ben­jamin, 16, and Me­gan, 13, both picked up the sport at a young age.

How­ever, the sib­lings – both na­tional youth shut­tlers – had no idea that their fa­ther once rep­re­sented Sin­ga­pore in bad­minton. They learnt about it only after join­ing their pri­mary school’s bad­minton team.

The el­der Lee was in the na­tional team briefly and even played at the pres­ti­gious Thomas Cup. But he re­tired in 1990 at the age of 21, just be­fore en­ter­ing the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore.

He was de­ter­mined to let his chil­dren forge their own path, so he and his wife, a re­cre­ational bad­minton player, al­lowed Ben­jamin and Me­gan to try out dif­fer­ent sports, from swim­ming to golf.

But both chil­dren even­tu­ally picked up the racket, just as their par­ents did.

The el­der Lee, a 49-year-old se­nior man­ager at a se­cu­rity firm, said: “It was per­haps a sub­con­scious ef­fort not to tell them (about my sport­ing his­tory) and bad­minton was ac­tu­ally the last sport we ex­posed them to.

“We ex­posed them to sports be­cause sports build char­ac­ter, but, as for bad­minton, they kind of built their own path them­selves.”

Since then, the sib­lings have gone from strength to strength, clinch­ing podium fin­ishes at regional com­pe­ti­tions and even win­ning schol­ar­ships to fur­ther their pas­sion for the sport at the Sin­ga­pore Sports School.

The Lee sib­lings will have a chance to add an­other feather to their cap later this month.

They will be rep­re­sent­ing Sin­ga­pore in the bad­minton team event at the 10th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam, Malaysia, from July 19 to 27.

For Ben­jamin, the sup­port from his fa­ther has been a driv­ing force be­hind his steady rise.

He said: “Our fa­ther has never pres­sured us into play­ing bad­minton and, in fact, he en­cour­aged us to try out dif­fer­ent sports when we were younger.

“He has been an in­spi­ra­tion for me, hav­ing come from be­ing a no­body in bad­minton to quickly break­ing into the na­tional team.”

Me­gan, who picked up bad­minton after watch­ing her brother play, echoed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments, say­ing: “My dad has been an in­spi­ra­tion, but my brother has also been a ma­jor

TNP PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Sib­lings Me­gan and Ben­jamin Lee will be rep­re­sent­ing Sin­ga­pore in the bad­minton team event at the 10th Asean Schools Games in Malaysia.

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