Turning 50 in a week, former national shuttler Ong Ewe Hock launches own badminton tournament | Sports

(From left) Charted President Rc Rahman Putra, Chua Keng Soon, organizing chairman Datuk Lim Choon Seng, Ong Ewe Hock, redOne Network CEO Farid Yunus and Tech Mate’s Samuel Sim pose during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. – Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 – Former badminton legend Ong Ewe Hock’s dream of having his own tournament will come to fruition this year with the inaugural tournament named after him: the Ong Ewe Hock Cup.

The former World No. 2 based out of Penang said the event, sponsored among others by Ancom Bhd, will be held at the Relau Sports Complex in Bayan Lepas from March 12 to 13.

Ong, who turns 50 on March 14, is the Sports Director at the Rotary Club of Rahman Putra in Penang. He said he feels no different turning half-a-century and is proud to have a tournament named after him.

“I feel no different turning 50. My heart is still young and will continue as long as I can,” he told reporters at a press conference announcing the tournament.

“What pleases me more is to see our Life Transformation Program bear fruit after three years, with Chow Wern Soon offered a spot at BAM (Badminton Association of Malaysia) academy to train with them.

“I hope with this tournament we can promote the program and hopefully in the next year we will get international teams to participate.”

Former badminton player Ong Ewe Hock speaks during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. - Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former badminton player Ong Ewe Hock speaks during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. – Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Ong was the former Malaysian No. 1 who won gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. He played for 14 years before retiring in 2004.

He won three Thomas Cup runner-up medals from 1994 to 2002. He won the Malaysian Open in 1996 and 2001.

Regarding Chow, Ong told Malay Mail He saw videos of Chow training on his own every day while posting Facebook videos.

Ong contacted him after some time and said he was talented and hardworking and wanted to give him an opportunity to realize his dreams.

“I was wondering if the videos were fake as it was daily but I observed different shoes and attire so I knew it was legit.

“When I contacted him he was already doing his own training without anyone asking him to. He is very motivated and self disciplined and so I got in touch and said join the program so we can sponsor him. Two weeks ago he won a trial at BAM and will be joining them soon. That is awesome and makes me happy. “

Upcoming juniors from Club Rahman Putra Chow Wern Soon, 17, and Mohd Ihsan Shafaad, 15, during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. - Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Upcoming juniors from Club Rahman Putra Chow Wern Soon, 17, and Mohd Ihsan Shafaad, 15, during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. – Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Chow told Malay Mail it is his dream to play for the country and his first goal was to join BAM. He and newcomer Mohd Ihsan Shafaad, 15, have already relocated to Kuala Lumpur and are attending Sekolah Menengah Bukit Jalil.

“The second kid to get there hopefully will be Mohd Ihsan Shafaad and the tournament will help raise awareness towards this transformation program as well as help grow this initiative,” said Ong.

The Ong Ewe Hock Cup will consist of 20 teams broken into four groups. Each team will have 10 players from all ages including former players.

It will be a round robin format with a first to reach 30 points in the group stages then best of three sets, first to 21 points, in the finals.

There will be a mixed doubles in the open category and two age limit men’s doubles per round robin match. The top team from each group plays the semifinals, then the finals.

Prize money for the winners is RM10,000, second is RM5,000, and semifinalists get RM2,500 each.

Ong said the competition will be streamed live on the RC Rahman Putra Facebook account.

He also said next year, the organizers hope to go international with participations from former players which will help boost the tournament.

Former badminton player Ong Ewe Hock (center) speaks during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. - Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former badminton player Ong Ewe Hock (center) speaks during the press conference on Piala Ong Ewe Hock redONE Challenge Trophy 2022 at Impiana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur March 1, 2022. – Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Rotary Club of Rahman Putra president Chua Keng Soon said he wants the transformation program to be at the forefront of the club’s initiatives with an eye to help the children in the bottom 40 per cent households (B40).

“For the past two to three years, we have been developing this initiative and we’re targeting kids from the B40 groups.

“We’ve managed to groom three state junior champions including Chow. Students are scouted and if they have the skill and determination like Chow and Ihsan, we will do our utmost to accommodate and help them become top shuttlers, ”he said.

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