We started with Wong Peng Soon in the 40s
Malaysia’s sporting scene has always basked in glory where badminton in concerned.
Wong Peng Soon, also known as Great Wong, dominated the 40s and 50s by raking in gold for Malaysia in three consecutive Thomas Cup (1949, 1952,1955).
That legacy was carried on by Penang’s born Eddy Choong, another badminton maestro who played alongside Wong Peng Soon. Eddy Choong bagged gold at the 1955 Thomas Cup, and silver at the next one in 1958.
The Misbun era and Lee Chong Wei
Then the Misbun era launched. Misbun Sidek led the pack of the Misbun brothers; Razif, Jalani, Rahman and Rashid, all who seemed to have badminton ingrained in their genes. Together, they brought Malaysia’s badminton to great heights, winning the All England, SEA Games, Thomas Cup, various asian and world championships.
And now, of course, we have an undisputed champion who just don’t know what it means to give up or slow down. Datuk Lee Chong Wei is the pride and glory of Malaysian badminton, and a feared name in the international arena.
But Chong Wei is 34 this year, and although we know that age will not stop him from expanding his colossal list of accolades, we can’t help but the ponder upon the obvious question; who’s next?
This is the same question raised by Profesor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim, who thinks that the Malaysia badminton scene in in danger, especially since Chong Wei is nearing retirement. Will we churn another player as solid and relentless like him?
“Historically, we’ve always had successors, Eddy Choong took over after Wong Peng Soon, then we had Misbun Sidek and now, Chong Wei.” Dr Khoo told Sinar Harian.
“But things have changed, it does not look like we have someone who can continue the legacy and track record in badminton. I’m afraid Malaysia will lose its glory and we’ll be struggling a long time before finding the next “Chong Wei”, and to rise as a force to reckon with.”
Dr. Khoo also added that the current badminton generation are different from the older days, it part of the reason could be because schools don’t give enough importance to sports.
“Chong Wei will probably play for two or three more years. Or he’ll keep playing, that’s up to him. But we can’t keep relying on just one person to be the best in the world”.
Is Dr. Khoo right? Will we ever have another player as good as Chong Wei? Let us know!