Saturday February 2, 2013
Hundreds pay last respects to Choong
By TAN SIN CHOW and JANICE TEO
GEORGE TOWN: Former badminton stars Razif Sidek and Ong Ewe Hock were among the hundreds of people who turned up for the funeral of the late Datuk Eddy Choong.
Both men paid tribute to the badminton legend who dominated the badminton world from the 1950s to 1960s and retired with the distinction of winning seven All-England titles four singles and three doubles crowns.
Razif, who was the first Malaysian athlete to win an Olympic Games medal in Barcelona in 1992 with his brother Jalani in the men's doubles, said he had not seen any player as passionate about badminton as Choong.
He recalled taking part in the All-England in the mid-80s with Choong who then won the men's doubles and mixed doubles veteran categories.
“He talked about badminton the whole day, on game analysis and great matches.
“He is truly a legend. He was so instrumental in setting the trend for the game in his era,” Razif said.
Ong, 41, a former national No. 1, said he owed his badminton career to Choong.
“I would not have made it big in the world of badminton if not for Eddy. It was due to his willingness to spar with me when I was 14 that I managed to learn all the tricks, strategies and basic strokes.
“He was already in his 50s but was still very good in giving me the run around on court. I am grateful to him,” said Ong, who is a five-time Thomas Cupper.
After the funeral at his home in Bell Road here yesterday, Choong's body was cremated at the Batu Gantong crematorium.
It was a heart-wrenching sight when Choong's wife, Datin Maggie, 79, was seen crying over the coffin while it was being wheeled into the incinerator.
Mahindrama Buddhist Temple's chief monk Ven Indaratana Maha Thera conducted a Buddhist ritual before the cremation.
Choong died of intestinal bleeding on Monday at 82. Besides Maggie, he left behind sons Finn, 53, Lionel, 51, Jorgen, 46, Antonio, 37, and five grandchildren.