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Hockey: Tributes pour in for Malaysia legend Chua Boon Huat (1980-2013)

Chua played over 300 times for Malaysia. Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

Chua played over 300 times for Malaysia. Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

August 2, 2013: The international hockey community has paid tribute to long-time Malaysia international Chua Boon Huat, who died on August 1 following a road traffic accident. The tragic news followed the death of Malaysian basketball player Jacky Ng Kiat Kee, 25, last Sunday.

 

The 33-year-old Chua was one of Malaysia’s longest-serving hockey players, making 337 appearances for the national team between 1998 and 2013. Reacting to the news of Chua’s passing, Malaysia head coach Paul Revington described him as a truly great man and an amazing asset to the team, as reported on www.fih.ch.

 

“It was a pleasure to have him standing in the same dressing room as me and coaching him,” Revington said. “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 – whose club career included stints in Germany, England and New Zealand – played in all of the major international competitions including the 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.

 

Long-serving Hong Kong international Arif Ali, who made his international debut as a 15-year-old in 1997 and played club hockey in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and France, paid tribute to Chua, a long-time opponent and friend.

 

“I’ve known him since I was 18 years old. I played against him at club and national level and I always remember him as a top performer. His commitment on the pitch is always the best,” Ali, 32, told SportAsia.

 

“Off the pitch, he’s a nice and fun guy. During the Malaysian league, I used to always meet up after matches for dinner with him, Kuhan Shanmuganathan (over 300 caps for Malaysia) and Dhanraj Pillay (over 300 caps for India) and we’d play snooker, even though we played for different teams.

 

“It’s a big loss for Malaysian hockey. Once he retired, I’m sure he would have contributed a lot in coaching juniors. It’s sad for all fans, his good friends and especially his family.”

 

Tributes have been pouring in from the hockey community around the world, with players, coaches and fans taking to social media to offer their condolences. Below are a brief selection of some of the comments being posted to Twitter, as reported by the FIH.

 

“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, Canada 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

 

“Sad to hear of Chua Boon Huat’s passing. A great player for Malaysia (and Teddington). Best wishes to family and friends.”

- Ben Hawes, England/Great Britain international

 

“Condolences to Chua Boon Huat’s family & Hockey Malaysia on their loss. Thoughts are with you.”
- Lloyd Norris-Jones, South Africa 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

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