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Ong Ewe Hock Interview Part 3

This is the Exclusive Ong Ewe Hock Interview part 3, former World No. 2, brought to you by Badminton Information.
Which player you admire at the start, both at the local and the international scene ?

I never really admired a particular player. But the player I enjoyed watching most would be Zhao Jin Hua from China. He had every strokes in the game, very all round with a certain flamboyance. Jinhua was in the same batch as two times world champion (1985& 1987)Yang Yang. Even though Yang Yang was an all-round player and was more consistent, Jin Hua was a more skillful player and he could produce the unexpected.

As a player, what was your strength ? Weakness, if any ?

My fitness could be regarded as one of my strength in the earlier years because I got really fit from my soccer days. Weakness would be at the skill level because I started quite late at thirteen whereas some others would have started at age seven or even earlier. At the start in the juniors, I relied on my superior fitness to outlast more skilled opponents but as time and age went by, the skills naturally developed.

Is it important to have a favorite stroke? What was yours then?

Yeah, I believe every player will have their own favorite stroke. It is important in the sense that the favorite stroke will possibly be their strongest among all skills. It defines the player as well in that they are recognized for that particular skill or stroke. Like me, I was recognized as a player with a solid defense and a never-say-die attitude at the international level. I consider it as my forte.

Can you name a few international players, current or retired, who you regard as best or famous for a specific technique or an area of skills?

On retired internationals, I will take Zhao Jian Hua and Yang Yang (both from China) for discussion. As I have said earlier, Zhao is famous for his beautiful skills and flair while Yang Yang is famous for his consistency and stability.

On the current crop of internationals, I would say Taufik Hidayat's strength lies in his counter attacking abilities and Lee Chong Wei as well. Lin Dan will be more of an attacking player, slightly weaker in his defense.

Who do you regard as the all time best player?

I think now the game is a bit different from my time in that the speed and tempo of the game is faster nowadays, just like in tennis and soccer. So it is hard to compare the players of now and the players of 10 years or from a few generations back.

It will also depend on personal preference and the criteria you set. Like Zhao, he played beautifully and it's really a joyous affair watching him play. On his day, he is the best and practically unbeatable. But he did not win many titles as Yang Yang. Zhao at his best and Yang Yang at his best, Zhao would definitely win but how many days and times can Zhao perform to his best ?So would you consider Yang Yang to be the best then?

As for the current international players, Lin Dan (China) is more of an all rounder with strong attacking instincts. Taufik (Indonesia) is a more mercurial player, loads of character. Peter Gade (Denmark) is very skillful, plenty of deceptive shots. Our Chong Wei is quick around the court and has strong fighting spirit. So back to your question, it's hard to say who is the all time best player, it will be due to personal preference.

But say that you need to choose one, who will it be?

Well...this is a tough question. I would like to say I was the all time best but if I really need to choose someone else, that person would be Taufik. He has character and charisma. He gives me this feeling that when he set his sights on achieving something, he will accomplish it. He has also won the 2004 Olympic Badminton Single's gold medal and the World Championship 2005. Taufik is hard to beat on his day.

Interview Part 4

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