Mentor hopes Lee Chong Wei to continue legend

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/8/19 21:40:54

Judged by his outward appearance, Teh Peng Huat seems no different from other residents living in Bukit Mertajam in Penang, an area with large Malaysian Chinese communities. Only when he takes up the battledore, one can understand what makes him a legend.

It is not his age -- 80 years old, nor his more than 50 years of coaching experience -- he has been coaching badminton since he was 18 years old, but because of his Midas touch in scouting and polishing badminton talents in his small training center at the Berapit Primary School. It was his insistence that led Lee Chong Wei to become a professional.

In 1992, after seeing Lee play badminton, Teh was convinced that "the agile and nimble kid" is born to shine on badminton court." He tried to persuade Lee's parents to send Chong Wei to his center for training, saying, "your kid can make a difference within three months' time."

But due to financial problems, Lee's father declined. Teh did not give up. He promised to waive Chong Wei's fees and offered to send the four-grade student home every day if Chong Wei's father could bring him here.

And that was how Lee Chong Wei began his journey on the professional road.

According to Teh, he did not see a world champion in Chong Wei. But little by little, Chong Wei's performance exceeded his expectations.

"Chong Wei has a knack for digesting my teachings, sometimes I am amazed by his ability to bring out the tricks only learnt yesterday," said Teh.

All led Teh to make a bold prediction to Lee's father -- "your kid will someday fight international matches."

Though Lee has realized that prediction, he is also remembered by the mentor as one who never forgets past kindness. Teh said Lee would come back to Penang every year to visit him, sometimes with big gift money.

Asked how he thought of the rivalry between Lee and Lin Dan, a Chinese badminton superstar, who will face Lee at the upcoming badminton semifinal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games on Friday, Teh said it was too close to call.

"The whole nation is expecting Chong Wei to net the first ever gold medal for Malaysia, so I don't want to impose more pressure on him, let's wait and see his performance," he said.

Lee Chong Wei is not the only badminton star scouted by the octogenarian, who also scouted several other Malaysian badminton players.

Though still doing coaching nowadays, Teh held Lee Chong Wei as the perfect example of a professional badminton player.

"Chong Wei is known as a player who is both talented and hardworking and knows to be patient and self-disciplined. I hope he can continue his professional career till 40 years old," he said.

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