Lee Wung Yew
For Lee Wung Yew, the competitive life of an athlete gets longer every year. Even though Lee has been a competitive trap shooter for more than 20 years, he is far from done with competing. He won his first Sportsman of the Year title in 1990, with his second award coming in 1998. Lee is living proof that an elite athlete will experience many highs and lows during his competitive lifetime.
As one of the athletes selected for the Project 0812 initiative through the Singapore National Olympic Council, Lee has his sights set firmly on the Olympic Games in Beijing. He is now on a paid leave of absence from his teaching job so that he can train full-time, without the pressures of daily work to distract him from improving his performance.
Beijing will mark Lee’s third trip to the Olympic Games. Not only did he compete in Athens and Atlanta, he had the honour of bearing the country’s flag in Atlanta during the opening ceremonies of the 1998 Games.
No one would have guessed during his secondary school days that Lee would some day be one of Singapore’s finest shooters. A quiet, introverted boy, Lee took up the sport at the urging of his father, who had been a shooter in his younger days. What Lee lacked in formal training, he made up in dedicated trial and error training. Through sheer tenacity, he became an accomplished marksman. He was only 19 years old when he first qualified for the South East Asian Games in 1985. Wung Yew and his team-mates won the team gold medal.
As a national sportsman, Wung Yew was granted leave for participating in local and overseas competitions, during his stint in the army. In 1987 triumph was again on the agenda when he and his team-mates successfully defended their title and again won the team gold medal at the SEA Games.
In 1989, Lee claimed his first individual gold medal in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. The following year, the 23 year old was given the National Public Service Medal and the title of Sportsman of the Year. At the same time, Lee was still studying hard for his ‘A’ Levels. He eventually enrolled in the National Institute of Education to become a physical education teacher.
He continued to represent Singapore at the SEA Games, winning individual gold medals in 1995 and 1997.
Like many athletes, Lee has worked hard to combine his sport with his professional life. He has given back to the Singapore Shooting Association as a talent scout at interschool shooting competitions. He has some sage advice for young competitors. “Everyone has good days and bad days,” he counsels. “Failure is only temporary.”