by Franco D’Cruz
The celebration of hosting the legendary 1967 Thomas Cup badminton team by Malaysia’s King and Queen is a celebration that is very much appreciated .
The reception at the Palace on January 13, 2023 in Kuala Lumpur was to honour their enormous services and contribution to the country. It is a landmark occasion long overdue to these players.
Those of us who were fortunate to have witnessed their historic sporting victory 56 years ago in Jakarta, will continue to have memories embedded in their minds and hearts.
It was a tremendous achievement. Only those who grew up in that era, will recall what these great guys had to endure at the Istora Stadium.
It was just not having to focus on playing the game. They also had to contend with the hostile home fans, who used every “off court” tactic especially cameras flashing when Yee Khan & Ng Boon Bee were about to serve.
As a sportsman myself, I know it must have been extremely difficult not to be rattled.
I’m so very pleased that this remarkable team of heroes ,were finally recognized for their sporting services to the nation.
Tan Yee Khan, Teh Kew San, Yew Cheng Hoe, Tan Aik Huang, Billy Ng, fully deserve this as they brought so much pride to the new nation of Malaysia.
Although the reception did not have much glitter, without a doubt , It was a great Royal gesture by Malaysia’s King and Queen to bring these forgotten heroes together and to say “thank you” to them.
It’s sad that Ng Boon Bee is longer with us.
And it’s even more sad that the present generation may not truly understand, and appreciate the exploits, hardship and the sacrifices made, by not only this band of badminton players, but all of the other Sporting Personalities.
They had to endure the very same hurdles, to achieve their goals of wearing the National Colours. This they all did with utmost pride.
May this landmark occasion of recognition for the efforts, services and contribution of the ’67 badminton team by the King and Queen, be an event that continues in the future.
To this effect, I believe that the nation does owe a debt of gratitude, not only to the great sporting personalities, the officials, but also to the Sports Journalists, who contributed so much to the nation too.