SPORTING HEROES > HALL OF FAME > ONG POH LIM AND ISMAIL MARJAN
The most famous badminton duo in the 1940s and 1950s were none other than Ong Poh Lim and the late Ismail Marjan. As partners, they were unbeatable and their successful partnership had, among other things, also helped Malaya retain the Thomas Cup in the 1950s.
Ismail's involvement in badminton began when he joined the Dapat Badminton Party, winning many individual and doubles titles at both local and regional competitions. Joining the Devonshire Bamdinton party and nurtured by Coach Yap Che Te, he soon became the “No. 2” singles player in Singapore , second only to Wong Peng Soon. Tired of playing the bridesmaid, he was to form a lethal combination with Ong Poh Lim, another ex-national champion.
Ong Poh Lim won his first badminton title when he beat Selangor's Lim Kee Fong at the All-Ireland Open men's singles. Subsequently, he won a series of titles including the All Malayan, All Singapore, All England and World Invitational in both the singles and doubles events. Ong's tricky “crocodile serve” was world renown.
The duo proved to be an unbeatable pair, sweeping the Singapore Open for four consecutive years. In 1951, they made their debut at the All-England Cup and emerged runners up. The duo then toured Europe winning many tournaments including the Danish, French and British titles among others.
Ismail Marjan's dedication to badminton was laudable -- he was still serving as advisor to the F&N Badminton Training Scheme up to his death at the age of 70. He had helped to coach the national team and the youths in the training scheme for several years.
In 1997, Poh Lim received a Meritorious Service Award from the International Badminton Federation (IBF) for his significant contribution to the growth of world badminton.