Kim Tho: Chong Wei’s biopic a must-watch for juniors

How Kim Tho and Lee Chong Wei during the latter’s birthday celebration in 2001.

How Kim Tho and Lee Chong Wei during the latter’s birthday celebration in 2001.

KUALA LUMPUR: Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) How Kim Tho wants the juniors to be inspired and reach for the stars by watching Lee Chong Wei’s movie.

Kim Tho has quietly worked behind the scenes since joining BAM in 1992 and it’s no surprise that he’s one of the characters highlighted in the biopic, Lee Chong Wei: Rise of the Legend.

The movie premiered at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Friday, which saw over 20,000 fans viewing it for the first time along with special guests and dignitaries.

The BAM national junior programme manager Kim Tho got emotional after watching the movie about world No. 2 Chong Wei.

“I was the BAM’s camp commandant at the academy in Taman Maluri (in Cheras) when Chong Wei reported for duty. He was 17 years old then,” said Kim Tho.

“I’ve seen him grow from a junior to a senior player. I’ve seen him during his ups and downs. I’ve seen how he pulled himself up after every fall.

“I’ve been a part of his life and probably, that’s why I got emotional when I watched it. All the memories of the past came flooding back.”

How Kim Tho and Lee Chong Wei during one of the recent events.
The years have passed, but the bond between these two is still strong.

Knowing well that Kim Tho is passionate about developing junior players, the 35-year-old Chong Wei gave the former the mandate to bring all the youngsters to the stadium.

“Chong Wei gave me 60 tickets to bring all the Bukit Jalil Sports School players and another bulk to bring in the post-Form Five students,” he said.

“Some of them laughed when they saw my character in the movie but were surprised when they got to know the depth of my involvement over the years.

“This is certainly a movie to watch for the juniors. There are lessons to be learnt from the life of Chong Wei.

“Nothing comes easy. There are struggles and challenges to be a top player and instead of giving up or whining, the players should emulate Chong Wei and keep fighting and keep breaking barriers.”

Kim Tho enjoyed the movie and was inspired by the part when Chong Wei made a remarkable comeback from 13-20 in the decider to beat his nemesis Lin Dan of China to win the 2006 Malaysian Open title in Kuching, Sarawak.

“I was the team manager for Malaysia then. That determination has taken Chong Wei very far in his career. I hope our juniors will be inspired by his life.”

Badminton , How Kim Tho , Lee Chong Wei