Badminton Life

Ong Ewe Hock Interview Part 5

This is the Exclusive Ong Ewe Hock Interview part 5, former World No. 2, brought to you by Badminton Information.
There were more dominant players in the past, for example, Yang Yang and Lim Swee King Era, just to name a few. Nowadays it is not so, why that?

To me, the first reason to this is that there were fewer participants in competition last time. So the competition among top players is not as intense as it is now. The second reason is the fact that Badminton has been officially included in the Olympic Games.

This has definitely increased the popularity and profile of Badminton. You now have more players from different countries participating in this sport now. Naturally, when the talent pool is bigger, more challengers will emerge in the international scene.

Why do you think the Europeans are struggling to match the Asians?

I think the main reason is that Badminton have not been the most popular or participated sport in Europe or U.S, other than Denmark. In Asia, people are fanatic about this sport. There are much more children playing this game in Asia compared to other Continents.

That is also the reason why I would like to promote this sport to a wider audience in the world. I believe if Badminton was as popular in Europe or in U.S as in Asia, they will produce as many world class players as well.

Is the environment in the international badminton arena friendly or hostile?

I think that every international players are friends and get along well outside the court. However ,when we are inside the court, we as professional players will do our best to win and leave friendships aside.

Which tournament would you rate most important and meaningful to play in?

That would definitely be the Thomas Cup as it is a team event. The feelings of representing your country is entirely different.

Is the prize money lucrative?

I think it is quite ok, but if compared to other sports then it could be improved. As a professionally played sport, the prize money should be more lucrative so that it will become more popular among younger generations.

How much do you keep?

100% of it.

How are Malaysian national players rewarded?

I would say that it is only ok. But it needs to be improved on if they want to encourage more young talents to develop in this field.

What was your remuneration at the national junior and senior level ?

At juniors, very minimal, all we got was RM300-400 monthly allowance although food and accommodation was provided for. At the senior level, it was more in that we get sponsorships and prize money from competitions.

You left Malaysian Badminton Association a few times during your career. Why? Has they improved?

There was a time when the management changed and imposed lot of harsh conditions on players. I would not wish to go into details, but that was part of the reason why I left BAM. I can see that they are trying to strengthen their management team and handle matters in a more professional approach but things can still be improved .

What do you think about the current crop of Malaysian badminton players?

I rate a few of them highly. Chong Wei still has yet to unleash his full potential. With a bit more experience and patience he might become one of the greats. There are a few double pairs that caught my attention as well, Koo Kien Kiat and Chan Chong Ming is definitely one of them. Hopefully things will turn out well for them.

Malaysian badminton players always fall at the final hurdle. Why is it so?

I would say that the main reason is because sometimes we lose out on mental strength. There is a lot of pressure coming from the nation as well. On skills and techniques, we are on par with the best but we need to work on strengthening our mental fitness.

That concludes our interview with Ong Ewe Hock. We hope that you have enjoyed reading all the 5 parts of the interview. But you are not seeing the end of him...definitely not! Will update you once he reveal his plans in the near future. Thank you for your support!

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