Nation mourns the passing of badminton great Ng Boon Bee

Good memories. Ng Boon Bee (right) with his Thomas Cup buddies.

PETALING JAYA: 1967 Thomas Cup hero and doubles international Datuk Ng Boon Bee passed away due to heart problem in Ipoh on Wednesday. He was 84.

Boon Bee's Thomas Cup teammate Datuk Yew Cheng Hoe said he would miss the former great.

"According to his wife Tong Yee Cheng, he suffered an attack while in the car and was rushed to the Ipoh general hospital. He passed away this evening," said Cheng Hoe.

"He was one of the best badminton players the country has ever had. The entire 1967 Thomas Cup team is still around and it is sad to see him go. We have lost one of the greatest sportsmen in the country.

"His wife is a former national player also and he named his son Thomas after our success. A reserved person but a wonderful human being."

Boon Bee and Tan Yee Khan were the integral members of the 1967 Thomas Cup team which dethroned the champions Indonesia in the final in Jakarta. The others who are part of the team are Cheng Hoe, Teh Kew San, Tan Aik Huang and Billy Ng.

Boon Bee and Yee Khan were a formidable doubles pair in the 1960s where they emerged as the All-England champions in 1965 and 1966. Boon Bee later partnered the late Datuk Punch Gunalan to win the 1971 All-England title.

Boon Bee also won the 1970 Commonwealth Games gold with Gunalan in Edinburgh, Scotland.

He had also won four Asian Games golds in the men's and mixed doubles and eight gold medals in the SEAP and SEA Games.

As footballer, he was part of the Malaya team that won the Merdeka tournament three times (1958-1960) before he switched to badminton full-time.

He was also active in cricket, rugby and athletics at the state level but badminton had always been his passion.

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