FORMER Malaysian hockey captain Ow Soon Kooi (pics) was yesterday conferred the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) which carries the Datuk title in conjunction with the 81st birthday of Sultan Ahmad Shah.
The former cop, who is now a businessman, was conferred the title as his contribution to the sport is vast and he played in two World Cups as well as two Olympics.
He could have been a triple Olympian, as Malaysia qualified for the Moscow Olympics, but the nation boycotted the event.
Soon Kooi’s debut with the national side was at the 1973 Sea Games in Singapore, where Malaysia were beaten to the gold medal by the hosts. That was the only Sea Games hockey gold medal which the country failed to clinch.
He then played in the 1974 Asian Games in Teheran, and then the 1978 Buenos Aires and Mumbai 1982 World Cups as well as the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and 1984 Los Angles Olympics.
However Soon Kooi, now the Penang HA president, went through some hard times before making it good in life.
He failed his Senior Cambridge examinations in 1971, all due to his passion for hockey as he neglected his studies despite being amongst the top 60 students in an open examination.
Soon Kooi then started working as a waiter in a local hotel for 18 months and continued playing hockey and was selected for the 1973 Sea Games squad.
He then joined the Penang Port Commission as a fireman and went back to his books to complete and pass his Senior Cambridge exams.
After which he joined the Royal Malaysian Police as an Inspector and is now the Chairman of Olympic Sports Hotel.