Ex-national badminton player Ong Ewe Hock (second from left) with a group of Bukit Jalil Sports School players outside his X-trm Badminton Academy in Seri Kembangan, which will be used as the BJSS kids' training ground. - BRIAN MOH/ The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Former men’s singles star Ong Ewe Hock is back in action after almost 12 years – but in a different capacity altogether.
Thanks to Ewe Hock’s generosity, his new badminton centre – X-Trm Badminton Academy at Seri Kembangan – is being used as a training ground for the young shuttlers from the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).
Due to the limited space at the national training centre in Bukit Kiara, which is used by the elite and back-up shuttlers, the juniors now have a home to call their own.
A total of 50 shuttlers from BJSS make use of the 16 courts at Ewe Hock’s centre, which only opened two months ago.
Besides being the proud owner of the centre, the 42-year-old Ewe Hock has also become a good role model for the juniors.
“BAM were looking for badminton courts for their juniors and I agreed to open up my centre to them at a subsidised rate. This is my way of giving back to the country,” said Ewe Hock, who turned 42 on Friday.
“Sometimes, I even join them for training and spar with them. It’s a good way to keep in shape,” he added in jest.
“Some of these juniors know who I am. I have pasted posters of myself all over and now they know that I used to play for Malaysia. Sometimes, I also advise and motivate them as well as share my experiences with them.
“During my playing days, there was a big pool of singles shuttlers. After me, there was Wong Choong Hann, Mohd Roslin Hashim, Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Lee Chong Wei. Now, there is a gap after Chong Wei ... I do hope that some of these juniors from BJSS will bridge that gap and take over one day.”
Ewe Hock, a former Malaysian Open champion, was the country’s top men’s singles shuttler before leaving BAM in 2002. He has represented the country in two Thomas Cup Finals outings and is known for his fighting spirit, steely determination and unwavering commitment.