Former international and President of Penang State Hockey Association Ow Soon Kooi was conferred a "datukship" in conjunction with the birthday of HRH Sultan of Pahang.
Datuk Ow received the award this morning in Pahang and it is due recognition for the someone who played in the 1978 and 1982 World Cups as well as the 1976 Olympics in Montreal and 1984 Los Angles Olympics.
In addition Soon Kooi also played in the 1974 Asian Games, having made his debut in the 1973 Sea Games in Singapore where Malaysia were beaten to the gold medal by the hosts, the only time Malaysia never won gold in the regional tournament. He represented Malaysia from 1973 until 1984.
On a bright side though, Soon Kooi was the first Malaysian playing as a forward to skipper the national hockey team since the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where centrehalf S. Selvanayagam was accorded the honour.
He was picked as skipper for the national team for a 4 Nation Tournament in Kuala Lumpur in 1980 but prior to that he had filled the shoes of skipper when R.Ramakrishnan was out injured - in April 1979 against France in Perth as well as for the two Test matches against Pakistan two months later.
He probably is the only player to have broken his nose twice while donning national colours. The first being in the 1975 Sea Games and the second time when a free hit taken by Pakistan's all time great Akhtar Rasool was deflected onto his face from a stick during the 1978 World cup match in Argentina.
Soon Kooi was a product of Penang Free School and while is soft spoken he never holds back from stating his opinion on issues that affect Malaysian hockey, especially during MHF Management Committee meetings.
Many may not know but Soon Kooi went through so many difficult timnes, on and off the pitch to be where he is now, the Chairman of Olympic Hotel.
He failed his Senior Cambridge examinations in 1971, all due to his passion for hockey as he neglected his studies despite being amongst the top 60 students in an open examination. Having enrolled in Francis Light School in 1967 for his primary education, Soon Kooi then moved to Penang free School.
He represented PFS in their Under 15 team when he was in Form Two. The failure in his exams meant that he was forced to be transferred to the Methodist Boy's School, something that did not go down well with him.
He started working as a waiter in a local hotel for 18 months and never let go of his passion for hockey as he was rewarded with a place in the national team for the 1973 Sea Games.
Fortune changed for the better after that as Soon Kooi joined the Penang Port Commission as a fireman and it was during this time that he went back to the books to complete and pass his Senior Cambridge exams. Two years later he joined the Malaysian Police as an Inspector and has never looked back since, charting one success after another.
We salute you Datuk Own Soon Kooi.