BADMINTON England today paid their tribute to one the sport’s great players Datuk Eddy Choong, who died yesterday in Penang, Malaysia, aged 82.
Eddy and his elder brother David transformed badminton in the 1950s while they were students in London and pioneered the sport as it is today. David died in September 2011, also at the age of 82.
BADMINTON England President Geoff Rofe paid tribute to a great friend when he said: “I remember playing him in the 1951-52 season on Herne Bay Pier.
“He was the man who speeded up badminton and made it what it is today. He was so quick around the court, much faster than the old players.
“But he wasn’t just a great player, he was a great ambassador for the sport. He would talk to anyone. Back in the 50s he had a big white Rolls-Royce which he kept at Wimbledon.
“He was a real gent, he was happy to buy everyone a drink at the Wimbledon club and would sit and talk about badminton for ages.
“He was a really nice chap and we will miss him and his vibrant personality. He was known all over the world for what he achieved in badminton.”
Eddy, who is pictured during the Yonex BWF World Championships at Wembley Arena in 2011, won the All England singles title there in 1953, 54, 56 and 57 and was a finalist in 1952 and 1955. He also won the men’s doubles title with David in 1951, 52 and 53 and they were runners-up in 1954, 55 and 57.
He was renowned not just for his speed but his acrobatic, agile and extrovert style of play, diving around the court to return the shuttle.
In retirement he bred Dobermans and, typical of a larger than life character, he also raced fast cars.
Eddy, who was inducted into the BWF Hall of Fame in 1997, had once again been planning to attend this year’s Yonex All England Open Championships in March.
BADMINTON England send their condolences to his wife, Maggie, their four sons Finn, Lionel, Jorgen and Antonio, and his five grandchildren.
Picture: Peter Richardson