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Saturday February 2, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 12:37:29 AM
OUR late Datuk Eddy Choong, was, undoubtedly, the greatest badminton icon who ever lived in Malaysia – winning a total of 450 titles, including 75 international crowns.
The highlights of his success were capturing seven All-England titles (as good as world titles then): four singles (1953, 1954, 1956, 1957) and three doubles (1951, 1952, 1953).
Moreover, he was a member of the 1955 Malayan Thomas Cup winning team.
Even after his playing days, he contributed his precious time and immense energy to badminton, working as a badminton coach, deputy president of Penang BA and head of the think-tank committee.
Amazingly, he was known as a great inventor of shots, especially the attacking lob besides his jumping smash which mystified his opponents.
My question is: Which Malaysian, past, present or even in the foreseeable future, by comparison, could match him, particularly his performance, achievements and accomplishments?
It is true that he has been inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame like other great sportsmen/sportswomen of Malaysia, but I firmly believe we should do more to immortalise this exceptional legendary sportsman.
In recognition of his achievements and contributions to badminton, I would suggest that the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil be named after him.
Putra Stadium is ideal because it is an indoor sporting arena located within the National Sports Complex of Bukit Jalil. It has a seating capacity approximately 16,000.
Over the past decades, the venue has seen a range of world-class badminton tournaments, such as the Malaysia Open Super Series, BWF World Championships, Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Tournaments.
The record attendance for badminton championships speaks volumes of the venue’s popularity for sports.
Apart from this, Putra Stadium has played host to a wide range of notable events: 2011 Jacky Cheung ½ Century World Tour, 2010 Hari Merdeka Celebrations, 2009 Asean Para Games,1998 Gymnastics Commonwealth Games and The Star Annual Cheerleading Contests.
If the Cabinet is agreeable to rename Putra Stadium to Eddy Choong Stadium, then we will do justice to our badminton legend, Datuk Eddy Choong, who has brought so much honour, glory and pride to our sports-loving nation.
Consequently, we Malaysians can pride ourselves that we too have Eddy Choong Stadium like the Rod Laver Stadium in Australia and the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US, where the annual Tennis Grand Slams Championships are held.
Hence, this will set a benchmark for other outstanding national sportsmen to emulate - they must have the discipline and determination to sacrifice their time, energy and effort to selflessly put our country on the highest pedestal in the world sporting arena.
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