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Chinese and Malay duo at the heart of Singapore's badminton fraternity

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Powerful returns and ferocious war cries. That defined the gameplay of Changi-Simei Community Sports Club's (CSC) Benedict Voon and Samsuddin Bin Mohammed.

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Samsuddin Bin Mohammed (left) and Benedict Voon of Changi-Simei CSC compete during the badminton competition of the Singapore National Games at Pasir Ris Sports Hall. Photo: Sport Singapore

When they played on day one of the badminton competition at the 2016 Singapore National Games, all eyes were on them. After all, the pair are two-time defending champions of the men's doubles masters category.

Despite being high on the pedestal, the pair frequently gives back to the local badminton community by organising training sessions and imparting their knowledge to their teammates and the younger generation.

Beyond having grown from a cozy group of seven players to the current strength of 40, the Changi-Simei CSC team also managed to secure sponsorship from badminton brand Fleet with the duo’s help.

“We lead by example. We’re walking the talk and we play in the masters so hopefully the younger generation will follow us and play until our age,” said Samsuddin.

Voon concurred and joked that the partnership was formed because he was “only looking for a good looking partner”. 

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Samsuddin Bin Mohammed and Benedict Voon of Changi-Simei CSC pose for a photo. Photo: Sport Singapore

The pair had met at a Jogjakarta badminton training camp in 2010, and clicked ever since. Having played the sport since their school days, it was only natural that the two men, who also happened to be neighbours, paired up when they found out about the Singapore National Games.

In the first edition of the games, they represented Bedok CSC and won. Two years later, they donned the uniforms of Fengshan CSC and produced similar results. This year, the pair returned under the banner of Changi-Simei CSC and are the leading favourites for the title.

Outside the court, the two men are also the best of friends. Despite only knowing each other for six years, their friendship is so tightly knit that Samsuddin made Voon the godfather of his 14-year-old son. Voon, who is a commercial pilot with Singapore Airlines and captain of the A380, also coaches the latter at no cost.

Because of Voon’s flights and Samsuddin’s career as a manager at Standard Chartered Bank, it may seem that the pair would encounter difficulties in scheduling. However, that was not the case.

“We try to find alternative ways to play with each other, as much as we can. And at least we try to make it once a week,” Samsuddi said.

Thanks to the generosity of the pair, their team enjoys frequent travels abroad to participate in tournaments which allows them to gain experience and grow competitively. 

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Members of Changi-Simei CSC share a light moment during the badminton competition. Photo: Sport Singapore

Sporting excellence? Check. Giving back to the community? Check. Epitomising the values of sport? No one else does it better than these two men.

Catch your fellow Singaporeans competing in over 16 sports, including 5 para sports, at the Singapore National Games 2016 from now till 7 August!


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