Dong Geon Lee came in Season 5 of VIVO Pro Kabaddi as a relatively unknown name but has since managed to make a mark in the league through his special ability to score in high pressure situations. He has time and time again proven to be a vital part of the Tamil Thalaivas side especially when their second raider K. Prapanjan has not done well. But up until a couple of years ago, the raider from South Korea had not even heard of the sport he is doing so well in now.
“I first heard of kabaddi in 2015,” said Dong in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com, “I was in the same university as Jang Kun Lee (Bengal Warriors star), and one day he approached me to ask if I had heard of kabaddi. When I told him that I hadn’t he insisted that I try my hand at the sport. From there I played in the Beach Asian Games and then went on to represent South Korea in the Kabaddi World Cup.”
Jang Kun Lee also spoke of Dong in glowing terms. “When I saw Dong I knew immediately that he would be good at the sport. He was tall and very strong. We both are raiders so I was able to teach him a lot,” he said.
Jang’s influence on Dong’s kabaddi career went way beyond just his initiation into the sport though. “Jang has been playing in VIVO Pro Kabaddi since the first season. When I was in South Korea I used to watch videos of him playing and managed to pick up quite a few skills from him. He has been my kabaddi teacher,” said Dong.
Dong was also quick to mention South Korea’s first Kabaddi World Cup game last year where they beat India as the most memorable moment of his kabaddi career. “Even though India were a very strong side, we were all very confident going into that game. I even managed to get some points,” said the raider proudly.
However, according to Dong there is still a long way to go before the sport finds the same level of popularity in South Korea that it enjoys in India. “There are very few kabaddi players in South Korea. Maybe around 20. I think if kabaddi manages to reach the Olympics and South Korea has a team there, it might help to popularise the sport there,” concluded Dong.