Goodbye to the gentle giant of badminton

Tan Aik Mong with his grandchildren Tan Sun Yen and Tan Su Li.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia lost a badminton legend with the passing of Tan Aik Mong.

Fondly known as the gentle giant in the badminton fraternity, Aik Mong, lost his battle against liver cancer yesterday at the age of 70.

Aik Mong and his elder brother Tan Aik Huang, the former All-England champion, were household names during the 1960s and 1970s.

The Penangite was a singles and doubles player with the national team from 1966 to 1975.

He was disciplined and firm but had a heart of gold and would always go the extra mile to help others.

He represented Malaysia in the 1972 Thomas Cup Finals, won the 1971 Asian Championships title and won medals in two SEA Games.

He was also the national coach having trained the Sidek brothers namely Misbun, Jalani and Razif in the 1980s.

The University Malaya graduate also had vast knowledge in information technology and had served as a systems analyst and computer manager in two major companies, hence his nickname – the computer whiz.

His love for badminton had no bounds as even when he was 63 in 2013, he boldly took up the challenge as the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) Talent Management Group director, with a hope of adding depth in the coaching and training department.

He had great plans and ideas to transform the Malaysian badminton landscape but his stint lasted only 18 days.

Besides badminton, Aik Mong was also passionate about golf and had a large circle of friends.

Former Thomas Cupper Datuk James Selvaraj, who took part in the Asian schools tournament with Aik Mong in Sri Lanka in 1965 when they were both 15, said they had kept in touch.

“We used to meet for our annual gatherings with several other former players. He was a straightforward guy, always making sure that everything he said was right,” said James.

BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria extended his condolences to Aik Mong’s family.

“BAM wish to express our deepest condolences to the family. He had done so much for BAM and Malaysian badminton. He will be missed dearly by the badminton fraternity,” said Norza.
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