Tokyo 2020
CPP Magazine

Tokyo 2020

CBA Alumnus Competes in Olympic Badminton

By Cynthia Peters

Timothy Lam at Olympic Village in TokyoTimothy Lam (’18, accounting) spent the last four years competing in international badminton tournaments in a quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. On July 23, he marched into Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium as a member of Team USA.

“Emerging from the tunnel into the stadium, during the opening ceremonies, seeing the grand spectacle and all of the athletes was really a VIP experience,” Lam says. “I won’t ever forget that feeling of excitement.”

The next day in his first match, Lam faced Japan’s Kento Momota, the world’s No. 1 ranked badminton player.

“My mindset going into the match was that I knew he was putting a lot of pressure on himself, considering that he was representing Japan and the world No. 1. I tried to go into the match 110 percent, doing my best to fight for each point.”

Momota won, 21-12 and 12-9, but Lam was proud of his effort.

In his second match, Lam lost to South Korea’s Kwanghee Heo, who went on to beat Momota in straight sets. He ended his Olympic run placed 15th in men’s singles badminton.

Lam’s Olympic highlights included: Stepping onto the court emblazoned with the Olympic rings, getting two suitcases of Olympic gear, trading country pins with other athletes, and the food.

Lam started playing badminton when he was just 6, inspired by watching his older brother and role model, Zenas Lam (’15, architecture), play and train at their local badminton club in Mountain View, California. A pivotal moment came his senior year in high school. Competing in the 2014 Pan American (Pan Am) Junior Championships in Guatemala, Lam won a gold medal in Boy’s Singles, a silver in Boys’ Doubles and a Bronze in Mixed Doubles.

“When I won that event in 2014, I knew I wanted to compete at the Olympic level even though there was no certainty I could do it,” Lam says. “Even if I didn’t make it, I knew I would develop abilities I could use for my future.”

Determined to go to college and advance his training, he connected with Tony Gunawan, a former world champion and Olympic gold medalist, who coached players at the San Gabriel Valley Badminton Club, which was walking distance from campus. Lam trained with Gunawan and his team while studying accounting at Cal Poly Pomona.

Even now it doesn’t feel real that I went to the Olympics,” Lam says. “It was exciting but the whole experience in Tokyo was super fast, just 11 days.”

Alumna Produces Nike's Team USA Uniforms at Tokyo Olympics

By Nancy Yeang

Sarah DumlaoThe U.S. Track and Field Olympians poured their sweat onto the Tokyo Olympic arena and earned 26 total medals, standing proudly on the podiums and some wearing Nike uniforms that alumna Sarah Dumlao helped produced.

Dumlao (’14, apparel merchandising and management) is a production planner at the Nike Global Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Her inspiration to enter the apparel and fashion industry was her mom, who sewed clothes and Halloween costumes for her and her two siblings growing up.

“As the first person in my family to graduate from a four-year university, I was fully immersed into the world of apparel at Cal Poly Pomona,” Dumlao says. “The apparel merchandising program fully prepared me to start my career in the highly competitive apparel industry.”

Before transferring to Cal Poly Pomona in 2011 from Citrus College, Dumlao visited the apparel merchandising program and saw how the sewing lab would give her the hands-on experience from creating the clothes to producing the product. She initially wanted to be an apparel buyer, which would allow her to go to fashion shows, pick the fashion trends and decide what goes into retail stores, but she realized she liked working with her hands and seeing a drawn picture turn into a real garment, and she decided to go into product development.

“Knowing that students were doing the actual work that mirrored how the fashion industry works convinced me to be a Bronco,” Dumlao says. “I would not be where I am today without Cal Poly Pomona.”

In particular, she remembered an apparel production class taught by Professor Muditha Senanayake, interim department chair of the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Management. Students designed, developed and produced baby apparel items to donate to newborns and their parents in need at the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. Senanayake wanted students to learn the process of mass production while contributing to the community. Students created different sizes, including sizes for premature babies, and considered comfortable materials, attractive colors and safety.

After graduation, Dumlao started working for major companies, such as Disney and Nike, where she applied the concepts and skills she learned in class but on a larger scale.

Tokyo Olympics Team USA Track and Field UniformsThe Olympic track and field uniforms she helped produce feature apparel technology and innovation, including a two-toned fabric that looks like two different colors, depending on the angle the jersey is viewed. Dumlao was the project manager in the team, after the designers confirmed the look and feel of the jerseys. She ensured the quality, timing and delivery of the jerseys for the Olympic athletes. Now, she can say that she lent a hand in creating something that was worn by the world’s top athletes and seen by tens of millions of people around the world.

“It was the biggest challenge thus far and the most rewarding,” Dumlao says. “The athletes put their blood, sweat and tears into a sport, and I get to have a part in showcasing them to the world.”