Indonesian Nova Armada, the man behind Cheah Liek Hou’s Paralympic gold medal

After national para shuttler Cheah Liek Hou grabbed the winning point against Dheva Anrimusthi in the men’s singles SU5 final at the Tokyo Paralympics, Nova Armada was beaming with pride in Kuala Lumpur.

“He video called me right after the match, thanking me. I was proud of his efforts,” said Nova, 47.

Cheah even thanked Nova, among others, on Instagram.

Nova, a badminton coach from Indonesia, has known the 33-year-old Cheah since the latter was a teenager.

“I met Cheah in 2004 when I was with Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association. He was 16. I coached him until he was 18.”

Nova left Malaysia in 2006 only to return to Kuala Lumpur in 2013.

“I was attached to a badminton club. Then, in January 2019, Cheah approached me, saying he would like to train as badminton was in the Tokyo Paralympic Games. I had to say yes.”

The shuttler competed in several tournaments, including the World Championship in Switzerland.

“My wife was about to give birth, and I couldn’t follow Cheah for the other competitions in 2019. I was introduced to coach (Datuk) Rashid Sidek. I remember telling Rashid that Cheah had talent and could make it to the Paralympic final.”

Nova continued training Cheah throughout 2020 and 2021.

“Rashid was later appointed head coach for the Paralympics badminton team. As there was only one seat for a coach, Rashid accompanied the team,” Nova explained.

Nova added there were those within the fraternity who rubbished Cheah’s chances in Tokyo.

“Many people didn’t have faith in Cheah. I’m glad he proved them all wrong.”

Cheah’s gold medal was an early gift to Nova and his family as his wife is due to give birth to twins this month.

“It’s a blessing, really. The gold medal and now an addition to my family. I’m happy,” said Nova, who has two other children.

So what’s next for Nova and Cheah?

“I’ll continue coaching Sports Affairs Academy. Cheah has won six World Championships and is now a Paralympic gold medallist, so what else is there for him to win,” said Nova in jest.

Tagged with: