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Off the court and onto the track: Port Moody Secondary’s top male athlete overachieves in disparate sports

Paxton Lin says the discipline he's learned in his sporting passions will help him on his journey to medical school
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Port Moody Secondary grad Paxton Lin says his achievements in badminton and distance running should serve him well as he embarks on his post-secondary journey towards medical school.

You might not think badminton, cross-country and middle-distance running are complementary sports.

But the four trophies in the display case at Port Moody Secondary with Paxton Lin’s name engraved on them say otherwise.

The graduating senior, who’s heading to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in the fall to begin his journey towards a career in medicine, earned the school’s awards for top male athlete, top senior male athlete and the Wayne Norton Memorial Scholarship. The latter named for the Canadian Baseball hall of famer from Port Moody who passed away in 2018 after a three-year battle with ALS.

Lin achieved the accolades for his accomplishments on the trails, where he finished second at the district cross-country championships last fall, at the track, where he was ranked sixth in the province in 3,000 m, and on the badminton court, where he was MVP of the Blues’ badminton team.

To top it off, Lin also recently ran his first full marathon – the BMO in Vancouver.

It all sounds pretty exhausting.

But that’s how Lin’s disparate sporting passions came together, he told the Tri-City News.

While badminton may seem like an explosive sport built on reflexes and bursts of quick movement, his coaches at various badminton academies he attended insisted their charges also run. Sometimes those runs were punishment meted out for lax training sessions. But mostly they helped build stamina.

When those academies shuttered and competitions were called off during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lin said he shifted his focus to running.

With his mom, Petrina, often accompanying him along the trails through Mundy Park or the dikes in Port Coquitlam and nearby Pitt Meadows as she trained for her own marathon pursuits, Lin gained an appreciation for the mental fortitude and physical attributes the sport offered.

He liked the solitude, the ability to focus his thoughts and even started keeping track of his distances, amassing 60 km a week.

A friend introduced Lin to running’s competitive aspects, its statistics and terminology.

His ardour increased even more when he started entering races and having success.

Lin said the lessons he learned from competitive badminton serve him well on the trails and track.

“In badminton, even when you’re down you can always catch up. You have to have the ability to outlast your opponent.”

Conversely, running has bolstered Lin’s persistence and patience on the badminton court.

“Badminton looks fast, but the mental game is long,” he said. “I never show any sign of giving up.”

Lin said the self-discipline he’s gained from his sports should help him endure the demands of a hefty sciences program come the fall, and the long road ahead to get to medical school.

“Running is good for my mind, and good for my sleep,” he said, while badminton stokes his competitive fires to always be at his best.

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