EDDY CHOONG: Short in stature but mighty in accomplishments
BADMINTON legend Datuk Eddy Choong, who passed away in Penang yesterday at the age of 82, left behind a legacy which is near impossible for another Malaysian to match.Who could come near Eddy’s achievements?
He won a total of 450 titles; 75 international crowns in four countries.
The highlights of his success were capturing seven All England titles, four in the singles and three in the doubles.
Inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame, Eddy’s prowess on the court were aptly recorded as: "Good things come in small packages" – a saying that was certainly apt for him.
Standing at only 1.6m, he was a diminutive that towered over a sea of giants.
Nicknamed the "Mighty Mouse", Eddy did not let his size affect his game, but instead used it to his advantage.
Playing a major role in Malaya’s 1955 Thomas Cup triumph, Eddy’s famous jumping smashes and blistering speed worked to devastating effect against rivals.
The heir to a successful business empire, Eddie did not follow his parents’ footsteps but took up badminton seriously instead of taking over the family business.
However, he made them proud by becoming part of the Asian tsunami that swept aside the European powers in the 1950s.
Eddy’s brothers, David and Freddie also turned out to be great badminton players.
He teamed up with David to win three All England doubles titles.
Eddy’s love for the game never diminished even when he was past his prime. At 53 years old, he won the All England Veterans Doubles title.
In recognition of Eddy’s achievements and contributions to the game, the International Badminton Federation set up the Eddy Choong Player of the Year award.
Eddy was really passionate about the game, and he would never hesitate to speak his mind or criticise the BA of Malaysia if its programmes or policies were ineffective.
He would say that Malaysia is still capable of becoming a badminton powerhouse and reliving the glory of its heydays, as long as players constantly strive to excel and stay one step ahead of their opponents.
He once told young players: "My aim was always to set a benchmark for others to meet. If we were to gauge our progress, it is through surpassing our forefathers."