Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tributes flood in for a Malaysian hockey legend

 Chua Boon Huat.
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is saddened to learn of the passing of Malaysia international Chua Boon Huat. The 33 year old - who was one of Malaysian Hockey’s longest serving players, making 337 appearances for Malaysia between 1998 and 2013 – died in the early hours of Thursday 1st August following a road traffic accident.  
    The FIH offers its sincere condolences to Chua’s family, friends and everyone at the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) at this very difficult time.
Reacting to the news of Chua’s passing, Malaysia head coach Paul Revington described him as a truly great man and an unbelievable asset to the team.
    “It was a pleasure to have him standing in the same dressing room as me and coaching him”, said Revington. He really loved his teammates.”
    Under legendary German coach Paul Lissek, Chua made his Malaysia debut as a 17-year-old at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, where the team won a silver medal in front of their home crowd.
      He also won a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. Chua also played in all of the major international hockey competitions, including World Cup, Olympic Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and the Asia Cup. 
    Most recently, Chua was a central figure in the Malaysia team that finished fifth in the Hockey World League Semi Final competition in Johor Bahru.
    Tributes have been pouring from members of the hockey family all around the world, with players, coaches and fans taking to social media to offer their condolences. Here is a brief selection of some of the comments being posted to Twitter.
    “Can't believe what I just read. R.I.P Chua. My thoughts are with his family.”
Philipp Zeller - Germany international.‏
“Sad to hear about Chua Boon Huat. Big loss for both Malaysian and world hockey. Best wishes to his family, friends and teammates.”   Scott Tupper - Canadian international.
“Hockey Australia sends its condolences to the Malaysian hockey family following the tragic death of national player Chua Boon Huat.”   Hockey Australia.
“Terribly sad news is the passing away of Malaysian hockey star, Chua Boon Huat.”
Dave Staniforth - Hockey India’s strategic analyst / goalkeeping coach.

“Condolences to Chua Boon Huat's family & Hockey Malaysia on their loss. Thoughts are with you.”   Lloyd Norris-Jones - South African international.
“CANNOT BELIEVE THIS. He was the reason why I played hockey in Standard Five. RIP Chua Boon Huat. Waking up to such bitter news.”   Scott Lee Yuen Mann – Fan.
“We will miss you Chua Boon Huat.” Team Malaysia.

My last moments with Chua Boon Huat...

By Jugjet Singh

CHUA Boon Huat has touched many hearts, and some, including this scribe, are still shell-shocked at how his young and energetic life was plucked leaving a vacuum which will be hard to fill.
  To compound matters, we met seven hours before his tragic demise -- at a Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) buka puasa as well as incentive rewarding function at the Park Royal Hotel in Bukit Bintang.
  And there was never an inkling that it would be the last.
  As I made my way to the dinner tables after the press conference with MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, I noticed there were no more empty seats.
  So, I picked up a vacant chair from the back of the banquet hall and coincidentally, or by fate, placed it next to Boon Huat.
  With a wide smile, he started: "Bro, how have you been keeping these days?
  Not too bad I replied, and just then, Tengku Abdullah walked by and said: "You are looking good Chua, you have lost some weight (since the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru) and keep it up as we need you at your best in Ipoh."
   Turning to the scribe, Tengku Abdullah looked at my pot-belly and said: "You have also lost some weight."
  And I replied the favour by saying, "Tengku do you know that Peter Butler has tweeted that he wants to be the director of coaching for FAM (after news broke that the Malaysian football team had lost 5-0 to second division Japanese team, Tokyo Verdy).
  Tengku Abdullah, who had earlier in the press conference said that he did not want to talk about the football team, as it would only spoil his appetite, gave this scribe an irritating stare and said: "Well he can apply, anybody can apply."
  And after Tengku Abdullah walked away, Chua pulled my sleeves and said: "Bro he just told you in the press conference that he did not want to talk about football and now you have spoiled his appetite!"
  I told him, "That only means we will have a bigger share of the spread" and Chua gave out a hearty laugh.
  Getting serious, I asked him if Malaysia really needed foreign coaches in football and hockey.
  Chua looked around and then said something which was a shocker, and when I told him I'm going to write about it, he said, "No lah bro! Don't write that cause it will only hurt many people.
  (And so it will remain a secret)
  "But if you ask me about hockey, I feel we did the right thing with Paul (Revington). You know bro, I am not the type who enjoys training, but under Paul, I am actually enjoying every moment as there is never a dull moment lah.
 "Also, you know, its something funny, but I'm learning things that should have been taught to me 10 years ago, only now under Paul!
  "Every one in the team is enjoying training and are motivated. Before this, we enter the pitch and play on our own strengths, our own special skills, and nobody before this told us even how to trap the ball properly on the run and attack.
  "Things are changing and bro, you can also see, only that we were unlucky in the England and Pakistan matches in Johor."
  And when asked about playing in the Asia Cup at his favourite hunting ground, the Azlan Shah Stadium, Chua again broke out a beaming smile.
  "Ya lah bro, I did score some super goals in the Azlan Shah (Cup). The Ipoh crowd is super, and lets see how I can make them cheer even louder (In the Asia Cup)," said Chua.
  Just then, the TV station guys walked up and asked Chua for an interview, which he obliged, and they recorded his last moments.
  He was the only Chinese in the senior side for the last two decades, and you would want him on your side in a match, and also a party.
  Coach Revington had this fitting finale to say: "Since I came to Malaysia, not a day went by when I was not extremely thankful that Chua was in our locker room and on our side.
  "I have admired Chua since I first watched him in the 2000 Olympics, then in Hobart 2001 and always secretly hoped I would get an opportunity to coach him.
  "A great athlete and warrior, he was."
  Gone today my friend, but remembered forever in the hockey books.

Chua Boon Huat..the passing of a humble man

 NATIONAL hockey player Chua Boon Huat's untimely death has sent shock-waves to not only his team-mates, but also the entire hockey loving fraternity in Malaysia.
  The 33-year-old midfielder-striker who wears jersey No 3, died in a motor-vehicle accident at 3am in Kuala Lumpur. His car number was CBH 3350.
  Tragically, or some see is as a blessing, Chua met all his team mates and hockey officials including Malaysian Hockey Confederation President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at a breaking of fast function seven hours earlier.
  He was his usual jovial self, and could be seen speaking to his team-mates, and was also interviewed by this scribe as well as television channels on his Asia Cup aspirations.
  National goalkeepr S. Kumar was shattered by the news and said: "Chua is normally a reserves person, but at the breaking fast function, he spoke to me for at least 30 minutes about various matters and this is very unusual of him.
  "He also spoke and joked with many people at the function, and it is a tragic loss. The news has shattered the entire team," said Kumar.
  His team-mates were at the University Malaya mortuary early in the morning, and even coach Paul Revington was inconsolable.
  Social sites have been on fire paying tribute to the player who made his debut as a 17-year-old in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
  Some of his closes buddies like former national skipper S. Kuhan wrote on his FaceBook: "Good bye my dear brother. Shattered and broken I am. I will miss you dearly and cherish the good and bad times we experienced together. Till we meet again... We LOVE you!
  And another skipper who played longside him in the KL Commonwealth Games Mirnawan Nawawi penned this: "My friend and former team mate in the national hockey team, you are too young to go. Great lost to his family and country. RIP Chua Boon Huat. U'll be missed!
  Former National Sports Institute director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz had this to say on FB: "Extremely sad to hear of the demise of one of our great hockey players, Chua Boon Huat. tragic. I was his team doctor for many friendly and approachable with a ready smile and kind-hearted. We will miss him badly. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
  Chua, born May 3, 1980 in Malacca, capped 330 times for the country, surpassing the appearances made by Nor Saiful Zaini (325) and his best friend S. Kuhan (327).

    He has played at the World Cup, Olympics, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and Asia Cup.
  And he also captained the 2001 Junior World Cup side in Hobart.