Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia’s badminton legend, Lee Chong Wei, expressed support for Vivian Hoo who won gold at two Commonwealth Games with two different partners. Hoo won the 2014 edition partnering with Woon Khe Wei and the 2018 edition with Chow Mei Kuan. The 30-year-old player together with Soniia Cheah (women’s singles), and three mixed doubles players, Goh Soon Huat, Shevon Lai, and Lai Pei Jing, were dropped by the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) on Feb 6, 2021.
Lee said in his social media post that Hoo still has a high competitive spirit, very talented, and with exceptional skills to compete at the highest level of badminton.
He went on to share his own experience while pairing with Hoo in the mixed doubles event at the 2015 Perak Open tournament, where he learned something from his ‘junior’ in which he almost withdrew from the final action after suffering from food poisoning and had to seek treatment at the hospital.
“Wednesday, July 29th 2015. I was grimacing in pain. It must be the overnight food I took just now. I believed so. Hand on stomach, I struggled even to walk few steps.
Immediately told my teammates, and few of the boys drove me to the nearby hospital. Luckily thanks to drips and painkiller, the pain stopped. Yet I was still feeling weak. “No chance I’m gonna risk my body to play in tomorrow’s final”. I was referring to the 2015 Perak Open mixed double final.
Just when I wanted to give my coach a call to tell him my decision, I received a call. It was Vivian. She sounded worried.
“Big bro, heard of you hospitalized due to food poisoning. Please prioritize your health. I will tell the organizing committee we pull out from tomorrow’s final!” She said with a concerned yet stern tone, sincerely wanting me to rest.
Being the role model for the younger shuttlers, of course I had to put in a brave act. I said “No, I am determined to play, unless doctor advised me not to.” In actual fact, at that moment, my body couldn’t take it and having IV drip pipe hanging from my arm.
She paused. Must be stunned by my reply and didn’t want to insist due to my seniority. Then she replied in a manner I would never forget. “Big bro, if you really need to enter the court, please stay in front, let me do the running, covering you at the back.”
I was taken aback by those words. Coming from someone so young, that was a moment I learnt something from a junior. How could I disappoint her? How could I not be a better role model for the rest of the team after those words?
Doctors then advised me to rest. I told doctor if there is a slight chance for me to play, let me play. One of the male nurse cheekily asked ‘Why bro? Esok Perak Open final. Not Olympic or All England.” My respond? “For the promise I made to my fans who love this game, and for my partner.”
We won the final the next day. She did cover for me for few points of the game.
Vivian Hoo Kah Mun , Big bro here just want to thank you for being a good role model for the team. I’m sure this is not your final curtain because I see there is still fire, talent, skill in you to play a good 3-4 years more, at the very top level. I believe in you.
To the rest who suffered the same fate, don’t be disheartened. Make sure be more disciplined in training. Train even harder! There are good examples around the world where badminton professionals excel well!
If you still love the game, if you still can run a rubber set, don’t give up on your dreams.”
Since parted ways with BAM, Vivian Hoo has yet to officially announce her next career move.