MALACCA: After years of achieving team glory and individual triumphs while playing for their schools, state and the nation in various sports, Yong Wai Hwong and Leow Kin Seong, have been passing on their skills and expertise through coaching.
Yong, 46, and Leow, 51, are now qualified and certified coaches and instructors and are passionate about giving back to the sports of football, swimming and water polo.
Malacca-born Yong, educated at St David’s High School, is currently the goalkeeper coach for the national Under-23 side and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) elite goalkeeper instructor on call for assignments all over the continent.
Leow, the Malacca High School 1981 Sportsman of the Year, single-handedly supervises and coaches at his family-owned Delphina Aquatic Centre in Bukit Beruang.
Yong’s playing days and coaching credentials are impressive. He represented Malacca in the Malaysia Cup and Semi-Pro League from 1989 to 1992, donned National Under-19 team colours and featured in the 1990 Italy pre-World Cup qualifiers.
At coaching, Yong holds the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) A Licence gained in 2004, the AFC Advance Goalkeeping Licence attained in 2003 and the AFC Elite Goalkeeper Instructor Licence in 2008.
He also handled the Malacca Premier and Super League outfits from 1999 to 2006, the National Youth, Olympic and National Under-20 squads from 2007 to 2009 before being exclusively involved with the current National Under-23 squad.
Yong said that his love for football led to him becoming a full-time coach.
As a specialised goalkeeping coach, Yong know that these days footballing talents cannot be led collectively under one single or head coach.
“The athletes have to be pulled aside and painstakingly told what is expected of them in terms of correct techniques and style.
“This is why I love to play my part in giving special attention to individuals, namely goalkeepers.”
Meanwhile, Leow tagged a “double international” had colourful swimming and water polo careers.
He was the first swimmer from Malacca to don national colours when competing at the second (1977), third (1979) and fourth (1981) Asean Age Group Championships.
However, he declined call-ups for the 1979 and 1981 SEA Games as he was sitting for his SRP (Form Three) and SPM.
He helped Malaysia bag silver medals at water polo behind Singapore at the 1985 Bangkok SEA Games and the 1989 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
He also competed at the third Asian Swimming Championships in China in 1988 before retiring from the sport following the 1989 SEA Games.
In 1989, together with his dad, Leow Chin Kai, also a qualified technical official and coach, they built a private pool at their home in Jalan Senjuang to provide swimming lessons to children, adult beginners and senior citizens.
In 2001, they built a second pool in Bukit Beruang.
The father and son team conducted swimming coaching sessions for beginners, competitive talents and seniors while introducing life saving, scuba and diving disciplines to their portfolio.
After the senior Leow’s passed away in 2004, Kin Seong carried on solo, armed with relevant coaching credentials (ASUM National Level 1 Certification) and is also an accredited member of the Australian Swimming Teachers and Coaches Association since 2009.
“Water therapy is proving to be conducive to overcome respiratory and related medical ailments.
“Acquiring and mastering aquatic skills also lead to job placements such as qualified swimming instructors, life guards, private pool supervisors and attendants,” Kin Seong pointed out.