Thursday, May 6, 2010

Badminton News: Ong’s glad to have overcome setback to play in Finals

DOUBLES shuttler Ong Soon Hock is finding it hard to believe that he may be playing for Malaysia in the Thomas Cup Finals in just a few days.
Four years ago, he was fighting for his life after contracting a mysterious illness. He had to stop playing for a year because of weakening muscles. He was losing hair and the doctors suspected that it could be some form of cancer.

“That is why it is quite emotional to be standing here with my team-mates, gearing up for my first Thomas Cup Finals,” said Soon Hock.
He forms the third ranked pair in the team with Hoon Thien How behind Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif.
“I took up badminton seriously for only one reason ... I wanted to play in the Thomas Cup Finals,” said the 25-year-old Soon Hock.
“Two years ago, it appeared to be a lost dream. I thought I was just good enough to guide another junior. But my fortunes changed after teaming up with Thien How last year.
“We clicked and reached the Indonesian Open semi-final last year (defeated Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen and Indonesia’s Tony Gunawan-Candra Wijaya) and the Malaysian Open quarter-finals this year (upset South Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung). Now, I am overjoyed because all my hopes and aspiration as a badminton player have become a reality.”
And he thanked three people – his father Boon Chong, medical practitioner Dr Liu Zhi Ye and girlfriend and former gymnast Yap Yee Yin – for giving him reasons to keep going.
“They were there when I was down and they are still my pillars of strength,” he said.
“China-born Dr Liu (based in Canada) was able to treat me when many others failed. My badminton-loving father and Yee Yin continue to give me encouragement in my badminton career.”
Now that Soon Hock is in the Finals, he is determined to justify the faith of many who have stood by him.
“I will go all out if I am given a chance. I want to help Malaysia regain the Cup for all the people and those who have belief in us. We will support the team in the best way we can,” he said.
If they are fielded, they can expect to play the second double matches against Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen (Denmark), Jae-sung-Shin Baek-cheol (South Korea), Alven Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan or Nova Widianto-Mohd Ahsan (Indonesia) and Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (China).

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