Ong Poh Lim
"The Crocodile Swerve"
Year Inducted: 2004
Ong Poh Lim (1922 - 2003) was one of the greatest Malayan badminton legendary figures. Versatile and aggressive in his era, Poh Lim was famous for his “crocodile swerve” in late 1940s and 1950s.
Poh Lim won his first major badminton title when he beat Lim Kee Fong at the All-Ireland Open Men's Singles. Later on, he won numerous singles and doubles titles, including the Singapore, Malayan, All-England and Thomas Cup championships in the same year.
In his early career, Poh Lim excelled in badminton during his school days and had held the Sarawak singles and doubles titles for a number of years. After the Second World War, Poh Lim had moved to Singapore and played for Marigold Badminton Party. He built up his career there when he won the Singapore Open singles title four times in a row in 1952 – 1955, and taking the title when he beat Omar Ibrahim that lasted only 15 minutes in 1953. Poh Lim held doubles title seven times (1950-1956) and made a history by reigning over the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles over three successive years, from 1953 to 1955.
Poh Lim’s tremendous achievements were when he had won the Thomas Cup with other Malayan’s team in 1949, 1952 and 1955. He was the only Malayan player that won all his matches over the three championships. Poh Lim with his doubles partner, the late Ismail Marjan, had been described as “the best doubles combination” that was an unrivalled in 1951, when the pair had won all major tournament titles during their eight-month tour in Europe, that includes the Danish, French and British doubles titles.
Upon hanging his racquet, Poh Lim took on coaching stints all over the world, including Malaysia in 1976, Iran in 1978 and the Philippines in 1980. Poh Lim received his first taste of glory as a coach when his apprentice Lee Kin Tat had reached the semi-finals of the All-England championship in 1964 and 1966, and then followed by his two-time All-England champion Tan Yee Khan (1965 and 1966).
Poh Lim received a Meritorious Service Award from the International Badminton Federation (IBF) for his significant contribution to the growth of world badminton in 1997. He died at the age of 80 on 17th April 2003. Ong Poh Lim will forever remain in our hearts as the pioneer of the “crocodile swerve”.
1949 - Thomas Cup Winner
1949 - Irish International Championship Winner for Men’s Double title
1049 - Irish International Championship Winner for Men’s Single title
1950 - Malaysia Open Winner for Men’s Double title
1951 - All England Runner Up for Men’s Double title
1951 - French Open Championship Winner for Men’s Double title
1951 - French Open Championship Winner for Men’s Single title
1952 - Thomas Cup Winner
1953 - Malaysia Open Winner for Men’s Double title
1954 - All England Open Winner for Men’s Double title
1954 - Malaysia Open Winner for Men’s Single title
1955 - Malaysia Open Winner for Men’s Double title
1956 - Malaysia Open Winner for Men’s Double title
1956 - Malaysia Open Winner for Men’s Single title
1997 - Meritorious Service Award (IBF)
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