Eddy Choong
Personal information
Birth nameChoong Ewe Beng
CountryMalaya
Malaysia
Born(1931-05-29)29 May 1931
Penang, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
Died27 January 2013(2013-01-27) (aged 81)
George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Height1.62 m (5 ft 4 in)
EventMen's singles, men's and mixed doubles
Eddy Choong
Traditional Chinese莊友明
Simplified Chinese庄友明

Dato' Choong Ewe Beng DSPN (29 May 1931 – 27 January 2013) was a Malaysian badminton player. He was David Choong's brother and they played men's doubles together.

Early life

Choong Ewe Beng, also known as Eddy, was born on May 29, 1931 and was the third son of a wealthy family in Penang. His parents were named Dato' Choong Eng Hai and Datin Ho Guat Im.

Choong first went to primary and secondary school in Penang before moving to England at the turn of the 1950s to study law and medicine. His passion for the sport quickly eclipsed his studies and Eddy later said his studies were “long forgotten”.[1]

In the UK, Eddie was much attracted to the Jim Russell School of racing driving and enrolled, but parental pressure forced him to re-think his priorities. However, his passion for driving took him to other aspects of motor sports, and when back on Penang, he revelled in grass track, hill climbs and karting. He was extremely active in introducing the "Penang Karting Grand Prix" in Georgetown, which attracted karters from all over the Far East.

In 1966, with the All-England men's Singles and Doubles titles being won by Malaysians, an exhibition match was arranged at the Georgetown Chinese Girls' High School, with the pinnacle match being between the then current doubles champions, Ng Boon Bee and Tan Yee Khan, and Tan Aik Huang and Eddie Choong. A wonderful evening.

Career

Measuring at 1.62 metres (5 ft 4 in), Eddy was smaller than most of his European competitors but he made up for the height difference with endless energy and amazing acrobatic jumps that triggered a running gag about Eddy hiding springs in his shoes. Eddy was considered to be one of the first athletes to do a jump smash. His trademark shot was known as the “Airborne Kill”.[2]

He won hundreds of regional titles and over 65 international titles in all three disciplines from 1949 to 1966. Eddy won many of these titles partnering his brother, David Choong, and his cousin, Amy Choong. Thirty of his international titles were gained from 1951 to 1953.[2]

Choong won the men's singles at the All England Open Badminton Championships four times between 1953 and 1957 when it was considered the unofficial world championship of the sport. He also reached the All-England singles final in 1952 and 1955 and won the men's doubles with his brother in 1951, 1952, and 1953.[3] He was a member of the 1955 Malayan Thomas Cup (men's international) team which retained the world team championship, and the 1958 team which surrendered the title to Indonesia[4]

Racial issues

Eddy was also a strong promoter of racial equality. Partially due to bad experiences during his childhood, Eddy was sensitive to racial issues. Eddy saw his performances in badminton as a way of showing that all races can be equally good at sport.[2]

At the 1956 All England, he refused to attend the traditional celebration dinner because he felt the organisers treated him unfairly due to racial discrimination. On another occasion, Jørn Skaarup of Denmark gave away a match to Choong in which he felt the Malaysian was treated unfairly. Skaarup earned Choong's respect and friendship with his fair play.[2]

Achievements

Rank Event Date Tournament
Open Championships
1 Men's singles
Men's doubles
Mixed doubles
1954, 1955, 1957
1955, 1957
1957
Dutch Open
1 Men's singles
Men's doubles
1955, 1956
1955
German Open
1 Men's singles
Men's doubles
Mixed doubles
1951, 1952, 1953, 1957
1952, 1953
1951, 1953
Irish International
1 Mixed doubles 1949 Malaysia Open
1 Men's singles
Men's doubles
1954
1954
Norwegian International
1 Men's singles
Men's doubles
1951, 1953, 1957
1951, 1952, 1953, 1957
Scottish Open
1 Men's singles 1954 US Open
1 Men's singles
Men's doubles
1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1956
1950, 1954
Wimbledon International

Asian Games

Mixed doubles

Year Venue Partner Opponent Score Result
1966 Kittikachorn Stadium, Bangkok, Thailand Malaysia Tan Gaik Bee Malaysia Teh Kew San
Malaysia Rosalind Singha Ang
13–18, 15–11, 5–15
Silver
Silver

International tournaments

Men's singles

Year Tournament Opponent Score Result
1951 Denmark Open Malaysia Wong Peng Soon 8–15, 5–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1952 All England Malaysia Wong Peng Soon 11–15, 13–18 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1952 French Open Malaysia David Choong 15–5, 15–8 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 All England Malaysia Johnny Heah 15–4, 15–4 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 Denmark Open Denmark Finn Kobberø 15–3, 15–7 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 French Open Malaysia David Choong 15–3, 15–7 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1954 All England Canada Donald Smythe 15–5, 15–6 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1955 All England Malaysia Wong Peng Soon 7–15, 17–14, 10–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1956 All England Denmark Finn Kobberø 11–15, 15–3, 15–11 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1957 All England Denmark Erland Kops 15–9, 15–3 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1957 German Open Indonesia Ferry Sonneville 15–12, 15–12 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1957 Malaysia Open 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1960 Malaysia Open 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner

Men's doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
1951 All England Malaysia David Choong Malaysia Ong Poh Lim
Malaysia Ismail Marjan
9–15, 15–7, 15–10 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1951 French Open Malaysia Cheong Hock Leng Malaysia Ong Poh Lim
Malaysia Ismail Marjan
7–15, 7–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1952 All England Malaysia David Choong Denmark Poul Holm
Denmark Ole Jensen
9–15, 15–12, 15–7 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1952 French Open Malaysia David Choong France Henri Pellizza
France Paul Ailloud
15–2, 15–5 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 All England Malaysia David Choong Denmark Poul Holm
Denmark Ole Jensen
15–5, 15–12 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 Denmark Open Malaysia David Choong Denmark Poul Holm
Denmark Ole Jensen
15–6, 15–9 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 French Open Malaysia David Choong England Peter Birtwistle
India S. L. Jaini
1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1954 All England Malaysia David Choong Malaysia Ong Poh Lim
Malaysia Ooi Teik Hock
16–18, 12–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1955 All England Malaysia David Choong Denmark Finn Kobberø
Denmark Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen
9–15, 17–14, 11–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1957 All England Malaysia David Choong United States Joe Alston
Malaysia Johnny Heah
10–15, 17–16, 5–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1957 German Open Malaysia David Choong Indonesia Ferry Sonneville
Denmark Arne Rasmussen
15–9, 17–18, 15–9 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1959 Malaysia Open Denmark Erland Kops Malaysia Teh Kew San
Malaysia Lim Say Hup
11–15, 9–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1966 Malaysia Open Malaysia Tan Aik Huang Thailand Sangob Rattanusorn
Thailand Chavalert Chumkum
17–14, 15–12 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1966 Singapore Open Malaysia Yew Cheng Hoe Malaysia Tan Yee Khan
Malaysia Khor Cheng Chye
15–13, 8–15, 15–2 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner

Mixed doubles

Year Tournament Partner Opponent Score Result
1951 French Open England Queenie Webber Malaysia Cheong Hock Leng
England Audrey Stone
15–7, 15–7 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1952 French Open England Queenie Webber Malaysia David Choong
England Mimi Wyatt
12–15, 15–1, 15–11 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 Denmark Open Denmark Agnete Friis Malaysia David Choong
Denmark Inger Kjærgaard
18–17, 15–5 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1953 French Open England Jenifer Peters England Peter Birtwistle
England Betty Grace
1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1957 German Open England Barbara Carpenter Denmark Erland Kops
Denmark Agnete Friis
6–15, 10–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1963 Malaysia Open Malaysia Tan Gaik Bee Malaysia Bobby Chee
Malaysia Ewe Choon Ghee
4–15, 15–4, 15–6 1st place, gold medalist(s) Winner
1966 Penang Open Malaysia Rosalind Singha Ang Indonesia Abdul Patah Unang
Indonesia Minarni
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up
1966 Perak Open Indonesia Minarni Malaysia Tan Yee Khan
Indonesia Retno Koestijah
9–15, 11–15 2nd place, silver medalist(s) Runner-up

Awards

In 1994, Eddy won the Herbert Scheele award and was inducted into the IBF Hall of Fame in 1997.[5]

Eddy made such an influence on the game that the IBF named an award after him: The Eddie Choong Player of the Year. This award was given to players who achieved exceptional results during a given year. Peter Gade was the first player to win this award in 1998. In 2008, the award was renamed the Eddie Choong Most Promising Player of the Year and given to the player who showed to be the most promising during a calendar year.[citation needed]

Honours

After retirement

Eddy settled in his native Penang for his retirement. After badminton, he bred dogs and raced fast cars and go-karts. He was a good driver and made a name for himself in motor racing after winning many titles from 1967 to 1982.[citation needed] Eddy was also the chairman of the Hock Hin Brothers Group which was his family business in real estate and housing development. Additionally, Eddy was involved at a high level in kennel associations in Malaysia.

In 1995, Eddy became the vice-president of the Penang Badminton Association and chairman of the Badminton Association of Malaysia Technical Advisory Panel. He focused on developing badminton in his native Penang. Choong used his own money to convert a family factory into Penang's first indoor badminton stadium. He later invested 1.5 million MYR to build the Penang International Badminton Hall. It opened in 1992.

Personal life

In 1959, Eddy married Maggie Thean Sun Lin. Together, they had 4 sons – Finn, Lionel, Antonio and Jorgen. His eldest son, Finn, and third son, Jorgen, were named after Eddy's longtime badminton rivals and friends, Finn Kobero and Jorgen Hamergard Hansan, respectively.[citation needed]

Death

Eddy died on 28 January 2013 at the age of 82 years old.[6]

References

  1. ^ "Interview with Eddy Choong". Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d http://bwfmuseum.isida.pro/library/profiles/news-317-11/
  3. ^ Herbert Scheele ed., The International Badminton Federation Handbook for 1971 (Canterbury, Kent, England: J. A. Jennings Ltd., 1971) 163.
  4. ^ Scheele, 75, 76, 84.
  5. ^ "BWF Hall of fame members".
  6. ^ http://www.themalaysiantimes.com.my/badminton-legend-eddy-choong-dies/

Sources