Tom Chapman - 12 October 2013
The badminton was coming to a close at the 14th Australian Masters Games on Saturday, and there were plenty of bottoms on seats as the competition heated up in its final day.
Competitors ranging from 30 years old to 70 years old were taking part and among them was one of the events most credentialled players.
Ong Beng Teong, 51, from Burwood in Victoria was competing in his first Masters Games, but he wasn’t at all unfamiliar with the scene.
Teong has been playing badminton since he was about seven years old, beginning at primary school in his home country of Malaysia, before making it to state and then national level.
In 1982 Teong competed at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, where he won a gold medal for Malaysia in the doubles tournament and a bronze in the team event.
Many die-hard badminton fans are aware of his achievements, and his presence at the Games was certainly noticed.
Although being mostly retired, Teong still has an unrelenting passion for the sport which involves playing on weekends, and running his own badminton company, Pro Badminton Academy, which aims to develop young players, as well as encouraging older players to continue in the sport.
Nowadays Teong only plays doubles, admitting it’s a bit easier on the body.
“I’m too old to play singles,” Teong said.
“I still play local competitions, but I can’t quite keep up with the pace, so I stick to doubles.
“I don’t have to move very far that way,” he joked.
However you could be forgiven for thinking Teong still played professionally, making light work of his opposition whilst barely breaking a sweat on his way to taking home the gold medal in the 45+ doubles event, with Greensborough-based partner Hock Siew Tan, 56.
Teong spends most of his time in Melbourne these days, despite still visiting Malaysia on a regular basis, and said although this was his first Masters Games, he hoped it wouldn’t be his last.
The Australian Masters Games is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events and concludes this evening.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit - www.AustralianMastersGames.com
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