Heroes from Southeast Asian sports

Despite Southeast Asia’s diversity and the tensions that persist among countries, the sport has been able to transcend some geopolitical boundaries and connect communities that have similar histories — and cultivate an appetite and appreciation for their native sport as well as identity. Ask a Southeast Asian about sport, and he or she will mention how sports form the mainstay of entertainment in this region.

1. Neil Etheridge

Neil Leonard Dula Etheridge (born 7 February 1990) is a professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for the EFL Championship club Birmingham City and the Philippines national team.

He joined the Fulham Academy after three years as a trainee at Chelsea and made his debut for Fulham in the UEFA Europa League against Danish club Odense Boldklub, though he never played in a league match with the club. While with Fulham from 2006 until 2014 he was loaned to various lower-tier clubs; Leatherhead, Charlton Athletic, Bristol Rovers, and Crewe Alexandra.

He was Awarded by Philippine Sportswriters Association Footballer of the Year (Mr. Football Award): 2018.

Born and raised in England and a former England under-16 international, he represents the Philippines at the senior international level. In August 2018, while with Cardiff City, he became the first Filipino to play in the Premier League.

In 2007, Etheridge received an invitation to play for the Philippines but declined the offer, citing unfamiliarity with the language and the players. He was again invited in early 2008, this time by the new Philippine Football Federation president Jose Mari Martinez. He eventually accepted the invitation after speaking to the new manager and learning about the setup and after encouragement from Chelsea youth teammate Phil Younghusband.

2. Trần Thị Thanh Thúy

Trần Thị Thanh Thúy (born November 12, 1997) is a Vietnamese volleyball player. She is the captain of the Vietnam women’s national volleyball team.

The start of the club’s women’s volleyball team Long An Textile was established in 1986, promoted teams from 1990 to the present, has 7 times the team standing in the first 3 national rankings (the successive phase from 1993 to 1999). When Long An Textile Company had difficulty in production and business, volleyball teams were also affected, but the potential of the team is great.

In 2002, the squad rejuvenated. Currently, members of the team have an average height of 1m74, and the average age is 20.75. The national team has two members. August 26, 2004, at the Department of Sport Long An, Binh Dien Fertilizer Company has signed a contract with the Department to negotiate on the receiving team and rename the Binh Dien volleyball team — Long An.

On 16 September 2004, the opening ceremony was held at the Center for Cultural & Information Long An Province. According to many experts, the investment capacity of Binh Dien Fertilizer Company, the team will return to the top in the next few years.

3. Susi Susanti

Lucia Francisca “Susi” Susanti Haditono (Hanzi: 王蓮香, Pinyin: Wang Lian-Xiang, Hokkien: Ong Lien Hiang, born 11 February 1971) is an Indonesia retired badminton player. Relatively small in stature, she combined quick and graceful movement with elegant shotmaking technique and is regarded by many as one of the greatest women’s singles players of all time. She is the first Indonesian Olympic gold medalist.

Susanti won the women’s singles gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, and the bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States. She retired from the world badminton circuit not long after her marriage to Alan Budikusuma (who had also won a badminton singles gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics) in February 1997. Susanti was the most dominant women’s singles player in the first half of the 1990s, winning the All England Open in 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994, the World Badminton Grand Prix Finals five times consecutively from 1990 to 1994 as well as in 1996, and the IBF World Championships in 1993. She is the only female player to hold the Olympic, World Championship, and All-England singles titles simultaneously. She won the Japan Open three times and the Indonesian Open five times. She also won numerous Badminton Grand Prix series events and five Badminton World Cups. She led the Indonesian team to victory over perennial champion China in the 1994 and 1996 Uber Cup (women’s world team) competitions. All of this came during a relatively strong period in women’s international badminton. Her chief competitors early in her prime years were the Chinese player's Tang Jiuhong and Huang Hua, and, later, China’s Ye Zhaoying and the Korean Bang soo-Hyun.

Susanti was inducted into the International Badminton Federation (IBF, currently BWF) Hall of Fame in May 2004, and received the Herbert Scheele Trophy in 2002.

4. Daniel Timothy Wenas

Daniel Timothy Wenas (born August 8, 1992) is an Indonesian professional basketball player who currently plays for Louvre Surabaya of the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL).

He mainly plays Point Guard and Shooting Guard. Occasionally, he plays the Small Forward position. Wenas attended SMA Negeri 3 Jakarta for his high school and played for Perbanas Institute university where he was a member of their basketball team from 2011 to 2016. He was also recruited and played professionally for Pelita Jaya Esia during his time at Perbanas.

In 2008 during his sophomore season, his team went to the final and played against SMA 9 from Bandung. Despite falling behind during the first quarter, SMA 3 under their coach Julisa Rastafari broke through and came out victorious with the final score of 74–61 and grabbed the 2008 Pop-Mie Basketball National Championship.

In 2009 Wenas and his team played in the final and were matched against SMA Anandafrom Batam at the famous BritAma Arena. SMA 3’s defense was exploited and the score was even at 41 at halftime. However, SMA 3 closed out the game with an 82–81 win through Prastawa game-winning free-throw and grabbed the 2009 Pop-Mie Basketball National Championship.

Wenas returned to SMA Negeri 3 Jakarta in 2010 to complete his education. Despite still being on the basketball team, he and the other senior members were not allowed to participate in a national competition to focus on their academics. During this time, he was also selected to the Indonesia National Team for Asean School Games 2010.

5. Sutee Suksomkit

Sutee Suksomkit ( born June 5, 1978) is a Thai retired professional footballer. Sutee or nicknamed “Bird” is one of the most famous Thai footballers during the last decade regarding his skillful style of play.

The attacker spent 8 years between 2001 and 2009 playing abroad for several clubs in Singapore and Australia. He has also been serving Thailand at the international level as an important member since 2000, earning 70 caps so far.

Sutee spent his youth career during 1995–1996 with an Asian powerhouse, Thai Farmers Bank F.C. The club recently emerged champions of AFC Champions League (Asian Club Championship) twice consecutively between 1993 and 1995. The young striker made his first senior appearance with the club in 1996 and continued playing for the club for 5 years until 2001.

In 2001, the promising forward joined a Singapore S-League club, Tanjong Pagar. He later adapted to play in various attacking positions including left-winger, second striker, and attacking midfielder. Sutee spent 2 seasons with the Singaporean side before moving to another S-League club, Home United, in 2003.

Sutee scored 30 goals from 56 appearances for Tanjong Pagar.

In 2004, a K-League side Busan I’Park expressed their interest in signing Sutee but eventually stepped off. However, regardless of his missing opportunity to join the Korean side, he was given an opportunity to take on a trial with an English Premier League club, Everton, as a part of a sponsorship deal between the Merseyside club and a Thai beer maker, Chang. The English club did not sign him afterward.



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