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Boon Bee recalls the joy of his partnership with Punch


PETALING JAYA: Datuk Punch Gunalan forged a hugely successful partnership with Datuk Ng Boon Bee that ruled the badminton world in men’s doubles from 1970-1972.

They won numerous titles including the All-England during that time but what Boon Bee remembers most is the non-stop chatting, jokes and witty banter.

“He just loved talking. He would go on and on with his funny stories that left us in stitches. In fact, the way to stop him was to say the magic words ‘please, silence is golden’,” recalled Boon Bee, who teamed up with Punch after his partner Tan Yee Khan retired.

One of their biggest achievements was beating Indonesia’s lethal combination of Rudy Hartono-Indra Gunawan in the 1971 All-England final. There were other accomplishments too, including winning the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games and 1972 Common-wealth Games in Christchurch.

“He was such a nice man that it was easy to get along with him. It didn’t take much effort as he was a friendly chap.

“I remember him dating his wife before they got married. She used to come and watch him play and we sometimes went out for dinner together as a group. It brings back wonderful memories.

“We were able to play well together because we had the same vision and understanding. And we trained hard to add precision to our game,” added Boon Bee, who runs a pro-shop at the Ipoh Swimming Club these days.

Boon Bee, 74, said Punch’s passing was a big loss for Malaysian sports.

“We will miss him deeply. He has done a lot for the sport and, hopefully, his work will be continued,” he added.

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