The world was a very difficult place for Humber’s Adam Dong to live in.
The 22-year-old sports management student arrived from China just two years ago, overcame cultural and language barriers, and became the college’s top badminton player, now weighed down by gold medals.
The second-year student remained patiently dedicated to his goals, to move from nothing by overcoming plenty of obstacles.
Like star point guard Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Dong, 22, is the heart of the Humber Hawks badminton team, the backbone, the driving force of the team..
Along with receiving last year’s Ontario Collegiate Athletic Associaton (OCAA) freshman of the year award, Dong is also a back-to-back OCAA and Canadian Collegiate Atheltic Association (CCAA) champion.
Dong knew from when he was a child that playing badminton was his passion and he would chase his dreams by any means necessary.
He started playing badminton at the age of six, but has been playing at a professional level in China for 10 years.
Born and raised in China, he emigrated to Canada without knowing English.
Dong left his family behind and came to Humber College to pursue his passion for badminton.
He’s now captain of the Hawks badminton team for the second consecutive year.
“Leaving everything behind and starting a new life was very difficult, but it proved to be the best decision I’ve ever made,” Dong said.
He took the English Academic Purpose program at Humber to learn the language and begin his post-secondary education.
“Not knowing how to speak English pushed me even harder to do my best at everything I do,” Dong said.
The native of Suzhou, a city of 10.5 million people about 1,170 km. south of Beijing, said his teammates also played a key role in making sure he was settled down as he said it gets lonely when he has no one to talk to.
“They taught me well and everything I needed to know to live over here and how I could make it,” said Dong, referring to his fellow teammates.
Teammate Alvin Chan, 25, an exercise science student, described Dong as one of the hardest working badminton players.
“He’s an outstanding player, I have no doubt he’s one of the best badminton players in Canada,” said Chan.
The duo train together two days a week and go out to eat at places together to build their chemistry both on and off the court.
“He’s helped us to become a better team and a better person because he’s just so understanding and wants the best for everyone,” said Chan.
The coach of Humber’s badminton team Raymond Wong said Dong is an integral part of the 18-member team.
“He’s very coachable, understanding and always wants to do the best at whatever he does,” Wong said. “He is not only an inspiration to the other players but also to me because of his dedication and work rate.”
Wong also said Dong has long-term plans of representing Canada in badminton at the Olympics one day — and meanwhile continuing his education at Humber.