THE Malaysian sporting community has lost another legend, badminton great Datuk Eddy Choong, at the age of 82. News of his death came as a shock to many fans.
Many of us are still mourning the loss of another badminton great, Datuk Punch Gunalan, and now Eddy is gone.
Eddy was an inspirational player and coach to many of the present generation of national players. He was one of the most successful badminton players ever, winning more than 400 titles worldwide.
He was also the coach of Misbun Sidek and 20 other world champions.
He was the first sportsman to be inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s Hall of Fame in 1995. He was also included in the Badminton Hall of Fame in 1997 by the International Badminton Federation (IBF). It also declared him Player of the Year.
Eddy was considered a magician on the court despite lacking in height because he could drive the shuttlecock to any designated spot and hit the bull’s eye. He was also noted for his quickness, tenacity and stamina — important ingredients for any sportsman.
Eddy won the men’s singles at the All England Open Badminton Championships four times, between 1953 and 1957, when it was considered the unofficial world championship of the sport.
He also reached the All-England singles final in 1952 and 1955 and won the men’s doubles with his brother, the late David Choong in 1951, 1952, and 1953.
He was a member of the 1955 Malayan Thomas Cup (men’s international) team which retained the world team championship.
Eddy’s death is a great loss to our nation. He is a treasure.
In the 1950s to 1970s , the nation’s badminton greats, apart from Eddy, Punch and the late Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim, also included Teh Kew San, Tan Aik Huang, Datuk Tan Yee Khan, Datuk Ng Boon Bee, Rosalind Singa Ang and Sylvia Ng.
They contributed immensely to the nation. Their services must not only be remembered, but rewarded. Let us reward those who are still alive and let’s do it now.
Goodbye and thank you, Datuk Eddy Choong.