Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jega back to Myanmar – where it all began

Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan is returning to Myanmar as the medical and doping advisor.
Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan is returning to Myanmar as the medical and doping advisor.

KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a nostalgic trip when the former fastest man in Asia – Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan heads to Myanmar for the 23rd SEA Games next month.

It was at this same place 52 years ago that the former sprinter Jegathesan made his first international breakthrough at the 1961 SEAP Games in Yangon. He went on a gold medal frenzy – bursting the tape in the 200m, 400m, 4x400m.

After making his presence felt in Yangon, there was no stopping Jegathesan as he went on to make a name for himself and bring glory to the country for over a decade and rightfully earning the nickname “the flying doctor”.

Jegathesan, a doctor by profession, has contributed significantly to Malaysian sports in various capacities.

He has been invited by Myanmar to assume the role of medical and doping advisor.
“I won my first ever international gold medal in my athletics career at the SEAP Games in Yangon. I was 17 years old then. From there, my career in athletics took flight. It will indeed be a nostalgic trip to Myanmar,” said a sprightly Jegathesan, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Nov 2.

“There were just so many spectators for athletics then. Those days, they did not have television so they came in hordes to watch the action in Yangon. The atmosphere was very lively.”

“Then, I was studying in Singapore but represented Malaysia in the SEAP Games. The following year, I went on to win my first Asian Games gold medal. So, Myanmar will always hold a special place in my heart.”

Jegathesan won the 1962 Bangkok Asian Games gold medal – breaking the Games record in 200m with a time 21.3s

He featured in three Olympic Games – in Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964) and Mexico (1968). In Mexico, he made it to the 200m semifinals – posting a blistering time of 20.92s, which still stands as the country’s best timing.

“I still remember the camaraderie we had among the athletics team during that SEAP Games. We had a great bunch like Asir Victor, Nashatar Singh, Rajalingam and Kamaruddin Maidin, to mention a few. It was indeed the beginning of a new era for athletics in the 1960s.

“Those days, Malaysia ruled in sports like athletics, hockey and football, which require athletes to train hard in the scorching heat. They were made of sterner stuff. Now, the trend has changed ... we tend to dominate in indoor sports – like badminton, squash and bowling.

When asked what would be his advice to the current batch of athletes gearing up for Myanmar, he declined, saying that enough had been said.

“It is best that old timers like me keep quiet for now,” said Jegathesan.

His curt answer is understandable. So much of effort, guidance and advice had been given to motivate, empower and lift the standard of the current crop of athletes but the outcome on the track and field has been far from satisfactory.

At the last SEA Games in Indonesia two years ago, Malaysia won six gold medals but the men’s 4x400m relay gold was stripped as relay runner Yunus Lasaleh had tested positive for a banned substance.

Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF) have set a five-gold medal target in Myanmar. Whether Malaysia will see the birth of another star in Myanmar, just as it did five decades ago, remains to be seen.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

15 new names in Hall of Fame

THE Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Hall of Fame welcomed 15 new inductees at its annual dinner and Awards Night in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Among them are wushu exponent Chai Fong Ying, hockey player Lawrence Van Huizen and taekwondo exponents M. Vasugi and R. Dhanaraj.

Fong Ying is a former two-time Asian Games and three-time World Championship gold medallist.
An extensive career in hockey saw Van Huizen being part of the 1964 Olympics squad and playing a pivotal role when Malaysia took the bronze medal at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta.

Vasugi is best remembered for clinching bronze at the 1988 Seoul Olympics when taekwondo was a demonstration sport, and winning gold at the 1989 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games. She is also a former two-time Asian Championship bronze medallist.

Dhanaraj took bronze at the 1989 World Championships and also won gold at the Sea Games the same year. He is the current national coach, having assumed the position in 2005.

The 2013 International Olympic Committee Trophy went to the Royal Selangor Club (RSC) for its outstanding contribution to the promotion, development and practice of sports over the years.
The RSC has produced numerous national athletes in the past and consistently organises development programmes for youths in various sports.

The Jonah Jones Rugby Sevens, one of RSC's annual international sports events, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

OCM secretary general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said being inducted into the Hall of Fame is just reward for local personalities who have excelled in their sports, and sports officials of both sexes.
Kok Chi disclosed that the winners of the OCM men's and women's Olympian of the Year awards will only be announced in January as contenders will be judged on their performances at next month's Sea Games.

The other inductees are Aminullah @ Aman Karim (hockey), Lim Heng Check (swimming), Fong Seow Hor (swimming), Arulraj Michael (hockey), Daphne Boudville (hockey, athletics, football), Hector Durairatnam (cricket), Ahmad Mahmud (athletics, rugby), N. Thanabalan (football), Datuk Kamaruddin Abdul Ghani (equestrian), Rosli Abdul Kadir (cycling, walking), Datuk Ow Soon Kooi (hockey).

Sports Ministry secretary general Datuk Jamil Salleh presents the inductees of the OCM Hall of Fame with their awards at their annual dinner at Wisma OCM in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Pic by Hasriyasyah Sabudin

Marina Chin honoured by OCM

Datuk Marina Chin receiving the Women and Sport award from OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar at OCM's Annual Dinner and Awards Night on Nov 21, 2013.
Datuk Marina Chin receiving the Women and Sport award from OCM president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar at OCM's Annual Dinner and Awards Night on Nov 21, 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former track queen Datuk Marina Chin continues to hog the limelight even after leaving the athletics scene nearly three decades ago.

On Thursday, the 58-year-old Marina was recognised for her tireless contributions to Malaysian sport when she was accorded the main honour as recipient of the Women and Sport award at the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) 21st Annual Dinner and Awards Night at the Tan Sri Hamzah Hall.
Marina, who is now the principal of the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), was picked as the winner by OCM’s Women and Sport committee for her significant and outstanding contributions in the promotion, development and advancement of women in sports.

During the 70s, she was known for her prowess in the 100m hurdles, which saw her winning a total seven gold medals in the SEA Games and also nailing the 1975 and 1976 National Sportswoman of the Year awards.

OCM’s Women and Sport committee chairman Datuk Low Beng Choo said that Marina had grown into an iconic role model for many and deserved the recognition.

“Marina is distinct because she keeps giving back to the country. She was a star in athletics and then she went into coaching and, now, she is empowering so many young athletes as the BJSS principal,” said Beng Choo, who is also the OCM vice-president.

“She has not stopped contributing to the country and has played a key role in sports development. She is indeed a role model for many women.

“I am proud that we have continued to give recognition to women in sports. This is our 11th year hosting this awards ceremony and I am truly grateful to OCM for their continuous support.
“We have seen huge contributions by women athletes in winning medals at major events and we will continue to recognise their tireless work at all levels in the promotion of women in sports.”
Besides Marina, a few other women were also honoured for their contributions.

Penang Squash Association vice-chairman Linda Geh Guat Yeow took home the Women and Sport Leadership award while Ee Hong, the director of the sports division in the Education Ministry, won the Women and Sport Grassroots Development award.

For her achievements as a female technical official (cycling commissioner) at the international level, Beatrice Alfred Lajawa was handed the Technical Achievement award.

The role of parents was also given prominence when Abdul Hadi Ahmad and his wife Kimberley Ann Gagnon were honoured with the OCM Partnership award for their guidance and support towards the success of their daughters – synchronised swimmer Katrina Ann and gymnast Farah Ann.
Meanwhile, OCM also inducted 15 former athletes from various sports into their Hall of Fame, including 84-year-old Aminullah @ Amin Karim, who played hockey in the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and the 83-year-old Lawrence van Huizen, who represented the country in hockey at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games and twice in the Asian Games in 1958 and 1962.

Award recipients

OCM Women and Sport: Datuk Marina Chin

OCM Women and Sport Leadership: Linda Geh Guat Yeow

OCM Women and Sport Grassroots Development: Ee Hong

OCM Technical Achievement: Beatrice Alfred Lajawa

OCM Partnership: Abdul Hadi Ahmad and Kimberley Ann Gagnon

OCM Hall of Fame: Aminullah @ Amin Karim (hockey), Lawrence van Huizen (hockey), Datuk Ow Soon Kooi (hockey), M. Arulraj (hockey), Daphene Boudville (hockey), N. Thanabalan (football), Lim Heng Chek (swimming), Fong Seow Hor (swimming), Hector Durairatnam (cricket), Ahmad Mahmud (athletics and rugby), Datuk Kamaruddin Ghani (equestrian), Rosli Abdul Kadir (cycling), M. Vasugi (taekwondo), Dhanraj Rassiah (taekwondo) and Chai Fong Ying (wushu).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Malaysian athletes just plain pampered

The late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari (right) was one of Malaysia's athletes of the past who would have done everything they could to win for the country.

TWO weeks ago, StarSport carried a foreign story about a Mexican boys’ team who dominated a basketball tournament playing barefooted.

The Triqui boys’ basketball team became a media sensation in Mexico after winning a youth tournament in Argentina – winning all seven games, with most of them playing without sneakers.
They were singled out by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto as an inspiration for Mexico and an example for their struggling football team.

He was wrong.

The boys should be an inspiration to all Malaysian sportsmen and sportswomen.
Our athletes are a pampered lot. They have everything and yet deliver so little.

The Mexican boys displayed all the positive values one can only hope exist – even if it is just a tiny part – in our athletes.

They showed plenty of heart, hunger and humility – traits clearly missing from many of our athletes.
I believe that money – whether in the form of rewards or incentives – has blunted their passion and drive. Many athletes have been showered with gifts and cash the moment they achieve the slightest form of success.

It doesn’t matter if the victory was only at the regional level.
Many associations and companies have gone overboard when it comes to rewarding athletes. And many a time they have failed to see the damage they have caused and the monster they have created.
Who can forget the way the nation showered the badminton players with cash, land, cars and much more when they won the Thomas Cup in 1992.

Or how the states have lavished their footballers with gifts galore whenever they win the FA Cup, Malaysia Cup or the League title.
Yes, some of them do deserve what they get. For example, world No. 1 shuttler Lee Chong Wei and world No. 1 squash player Nicol David.

These two are prime examples of where hunger and heart can take you.
They also had the tenacity to overcome all the odds and the intelligence to change their game to suit their style.

They reinvented themselves so that they could reach the pinnacle of their sport.
How many of our current athletes can do that?
Many are just contented with the allowances and prize money they get. They are, in other words, just contented to be in their comfort zone.

These are athletes who have been given the very best in terms of training facilities, attire, food, travelling, accommodation, allowances, bonuses etc.
Their jerseys, boots/shoes and equipment are all sponsored.

And most times they travel in comfort for overseas stints and assignments and stay in comfortable hotels.

I bet the boys from Mexico would have loved to have half the kind of facilities our athletes enjoy.
Sometimes I wonder why it is that countries like Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam have improved by leaps and bounds in all sports.

In my humble opinion, it’s because they still have the hunger in them. They know that excelling in sport is one way for them to escape from poverty and to improve their families’ standard of living.
Thai badminton queen Ratchanok Intanon is one prime example.

And these athletes clearly take pride in representing their country as well.
Our athletes used to be like that. Back in those days, our athletes would run themselves to the ground, cover every blade of grass and spill blood (if necessary) to win for the country.

That was the time the likes of the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, Ishtiaq Mubarak and Eddy Choong, Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan, Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan and many others reigned supreme.
And they didn’t only rule in the South-East Asian region. No, these athletes took on the world and gave the best a run for their money.

Now, all we have are Nicol, Chong Wei and a handful of cyclists, bowlers and divers.
Another attribute I find really annoying among the current athletes is their arrogance. Many act like prima donnas after winning one or two tournaments.

They enjoy being in the limelight and hogging the headlines in gossip magazines and tabloids.
They tend to take their opponents for granted. To me, that smacks of disrespect.
Athletes of yesteryear knew the importance of humility. They respected every one. They never once underestimated their opponents.

The current breed of athletes only want to see their names in the headlines on back pages of newspapers (or front pages if they can) for the right reasons.
Part of the blame for the downturn in Malaysian sports should be shared by the leaders of the various associations – there is just too much politicking in the national sports associations (NSAs).
Many leaders have overstayed, and are overstaying, their welcome.

Some have been holding on to power for decades!
Their sport has been sliding down the rankings and they still insist they can do the job. These people probably have their heads in a hole.

What Malaysian sport needs are people with new and fresh ideas. The NSAs need men and women who can provide dynamic leadership.

We have a young and dynamic Youth and Sports Minister in Khairy Jamaluddin.
It’s time the NSAs have such a leader, too.

It’s time for the NSAs to come to their senses and bring in the young movers and shakers.

Will it happen?

Nah, I doubt it!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Posthumous award for Boon Huat

THE late Chua Boon Huat was posthumously awarded the Bintang Cemerlang Melaka (BCM) during the state awards ceremony in conjunction with the 75th birthday of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Malacca Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

   The  elder brother of the former national hockey player, Alif Nur Najmi Chua, 42, collected the  award on his late brother's behalf during the third investiture held at Dewan Seri Negeri, Malacca, yesterday.

  Boon Huat, who  was one of Malaysia's  longest serving players, was killed  in a road accident along the Damansara-Puchong highway (LDP), near the Kelana Jaya LRT station on Aug 1.
 Alif expressed gratitude to the state government for recognising his late brother's contribution to hockey even though he was no longer alive.

  "My brother had contributed tremendously to the country in the sports arena and it is hoped that the award could be a motivation for young rising hockey players to emulate his spirit and discipline in training and tournaments," he said.

  Also receiving the similar award was Malacca Berita Harian bureau chief, Amirullah Andi Nur.
  The two were among 487 recipients who were conferred with various awards and titles

Boon Huat dianugerah pingat BCM

MELAKA - Keringat dan bakti yang dicurahkan bekas penyerang skuad hoki kebangsaan, mendiang Chua Boon Huat mendapat pengiktirafan apabila dia dianugerahkan pingat Bintang Cemerlang Melaka (BCM).

Boon Huat adalah antara 432 penerima darjah, tauliah, bintang dan pingat kebesaran sempena majlis penganugerahan Hari Kelahiran Yang Dipertua Negeri, Tun Mohd. Khalil Yaakob Ke-75 sesi ketiga di Seri Negeri, Ayer Keroh di sini, semalam.

Boon Huat, 33, terbunuh dalam nahas jalan raya melibatkan kereta yang dipandunya dengan sebuah lori di Kilometer 10.4, Lebuh Raya Damansara-Puchong, Petaling Jaya pada awal pagi 1 Ogos lalu.
Pada istiadat tersebut, abangnya, Alif Chua Abdullah mewakili mendiang bagi menerima pingat itu daripada Mohd. Khalil.

Yang turut hadir isteri Yang Dipertua Negeri, Toh Puan Zurina Kassim; Ketua Menteri, Datuk Seri Idris Haron dan isteri, Datin Seri Fadilah Abdullah, Exco kerajaan negeri, Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) dan ketua-ketua jabatan.

Alif ketika ditemui berkata, beliau mewakili keluarganya mengucapkan terima kasih atas penganugerahan pingat BCM kepada mendiang adiknya, Boon Huat.

''Bagi pihak mendiang, anugerah yang diberikan amat dihargai kerana kerajaan negeri menghargai jasa dan pengorbanan adik saya ketika menyarung jersi kebangsaan.

''Walaupun dia tidak ada lagi tetapi sekurang-kurangnya pingat pemberian kerajaan negeri menjadi kenangan sampai bila-bila," katanya.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Supermokh The Musical

Venue: Istana Budaya
Date: 6-18 november 2013

He is hailed as one of the iconic footballer’s of the 1970s, and one of Malaysia’s most legendary strikers. He was instrumental in steering Selangor to win the Malaysia Cup 10 times, scoring 177 goals in total. Internationally, he scored 125 goals in 167 appearances for the Malaysian team, including matches in the Asian Games, Pre Olympic Games and Pre World Cup.

Mokhtar Dahari hailed from Setapak, Selangor, and was only 19 years old when he made his first international appearance for Malaysia against Sri Lanka in the 1972 Jakarta Anniversary Tournament. Mokhtar won his 100th cap for the Malaysian national team when he played in a Merdeka Football Tournament match against Japan in 1976.

In 1975, Mokhtar represented the Malaysian national football team against English giants Arsenal F.C. Malaysia won 2-0, with Mokhtar scoring both goals. It was rumoured that he received an offer to play for the Gunners. He also famously scored a goal almost single-handedly, in a 1-1 draw against England’s national team’s B Team in 1978. Mokhtar has also donned the national colours more than 150 times, including the Asian Games, Pre-Olympic Games, Pre-World Cup, and Asian Cup finals among others.

In those years, Malaysian football was at its best and players like Mokhtar made the game an interesting watch. His mobility and speed, flexibility and the ability to unleash sudden powerful shots with both his feet enthralled supporters and fans. Crowds would gather at the Merdeka Stadium to watch this spectacular “Number 10” and it was not uncommon to hear roars of “Super Mokh” rippling through the crowd during a match.

After winning the Malaysia Cup for his home-state Selangor and being crowned the Best Player in the Merdeka Cup of 1986, Mokhtar decided to retire from his illustrious football career. He came out of retirement in January the following year to play one more season for Selangor FC, much to the delight of his fans.

11 July 1991 was a heartbreaking day for Malaysians. Mokhtar Dahari passed away of muscular dystrophy at the age of 37. A legendary footballer during his time, Mokhtar Dahari is a name that will definitely never be forgotten.


As Athlete
1972 - Jakarta Anniversary Tournament [Represented Malaysia for the first time]

1975 - Asian Games in Teheran [Bronze medal]

1975 - Friendly match with Arsenal FC, [Malaysia won 2-0, scored both goals]

1976 - Merdeka Football Tournament [Won 100th cap for Malaysia], Malaysia Cup [Champions]

1977 - Sportsman of the Year award

1979 - SEA Games, Jakarta [Gold medal]

1982 - Led Selangor FA in a friendly against Boca Juniors (captain: Diego Maradona) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Penang was once a feared football force

AWESOME: For a long time, Penang was highly respected as one of the top four in the Malaya Cup and inter-state football. It was up there alongside kingpins Selangor and Singapore, as well as northern rival, Perak. 


The glory days of Penang football.


Today, teams like Kuala Terengganu T-Team, PKNS, Sime Darby FC, Felda United, Muar MC, Pos Malaysia, Police and Betaria are holding their own against established state teams in the Super League and Premier League but Penang is, sadly, no longer around, laments A. Shukor Rahman
For the past  few years, Penang football has gone MIA (missing in action).

To many local fans, the Penang state team no longer exists. Some say the team has long been dead and gone.
Yet I can still recall an era spanning the 1950s to the 70s when Penang was among the top teams in inter-state football.

Today, the "Keramat roar" is just a memory and the City Stadium has only been hosting athletics meets and social functions.
There are reports that the Football Association of Penang (FAP) still owes a whopping sum to the Penang Island Municipal Council, the stadium owners.

Even the Datuk Keramat Padang, for many years the popular venue for Third Division matches, today stands forlorn -- only good for holding pasar malam.

The 1950s saw Penang producing players such as the country's first Olympian, Yeap Cheng Eng, Yeang Kah Chong, Tan Swee Hock, Wong Kam Poh, Yap Hin Hean, Liew Fee Yuen, Lee Ah Loke, the Pang brothers -- Siang Teik and Siang Hock, Aziz Ahmad, Ariff Ariffin, the Chuah brothers -- Poh Aun and Poh Beng, P. Murad, Buang Rawi, Shaikh Omar Isa, Djamal Djanas and Jalil Che Din.
The 1960s saw the arrival of Ibrahim Mydin, M. Kuppan, Ishak Ahmad, G. Vasu, James Raju, Boey Cheong Liam, Zain Rahman, Said Salleh, Yeap Kim Hock, Koay Ban Chuan, A. Arumugam, Latiff Aziz, Ahmad Musa, Teo Peng Chooi and Hassanuddin Harun.

In the early 1960s, winger S. Govindarajoo could not break into the Penang team but became a star with Selangor.

Another Penang-born winger, Abdul Rahman Daie, was only chosen for Penang after making a name for himself playing in Singapore, followed by a stint in Perak.

Since the early 1950s, the tall and well-built Aziz Ahmad was a real menace as centre-forward with his powerful shots and deadly headers and was Penang's top goal-getter in 1953 and 1954.
He scored the winning goal when Penang defeated Singapore 3-2 in the 1953 Malaya Cup final in Ipoh.

He was past his prime in October 1963, but still helped himself to seven goals when Penang trounced Perlis 13-0 in a Malaysia Cup tie at the City Stadium.
The good-looking Siang Teik started as an inside forward for the state and was the "brains" behind practically every attack.

A veteran of several campaigns, he was the most seasoned player in the team by 1961, and moved back to the heart of the defence.

He took over as captain when Cheng Eng retired and proved to be an inspiring skipper.
The early 1960s also saw a glittering array of "stars".
Selangor had Abdul Ghani, Arthur Koh, S. Lourdes, Abdullah Noordin, Edwin Dutton, Stanley Gabriel, and Govindarajoo.

Perak had goalkeeper Yusof Bakar, Yee Seng Choy, Ahmad Nazari, Kamaruddin Ahmad, Foo Fook Chuan, Kabri Yusof and Hamzah Hakim.
Kedah had Osman Ali, Syed Hood and Lim Ban Chiang, while Singapore had the likes of Rahim Omar, Quah Kim Swee, Majid Ariff and Ali Astar.
Kelantan had Mohamad Che Su, Awang Isa, Hamid Ghani and Nik Leh Nik Man while Malacca had the Choe brothers, Robert and Richard.

By 1965, veterans such as Siang Teik and Aziz made way as Penang rebuilt.
M. Kuppan took over as captain with Yeap Kim Hock, James Raju and Ibrahim Mydin the only other survivors.
Newcomers included Soo-Toh Kim Poh, Zainal Ghani, Abu Hassan Mohamad, K. Linganath and Kim Lean Kong.

For the first time, Penang also preferred the services of four Australians from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) which participated in the local league.

They were John Leather, Clive Warren, Vic Probert and Alan Peacock.
Football fan Sulaiman Ibrahim, of Jalan Perak, recalled that there were rumours that the four Australian airmen were actually based in Hong Kong and were flown back to Penang by the RAAF for state and league matches.

The late 60s saw the emergence of Aziz's nephews, the Abdullah brothers -- Namat and Shaharuddin. At his peak, Shaharuddin was a prolific goal-getter and many fans still remember his stylish flying kicks when the ball often ended in the back of the net.

In this respect, a few even put him ahead of the great Mokhtar Dahari.
Penang made the Malaysia Cup final in 1968 to face mighty Selangor but nobody expected it to be a massacre.

Selangor romped home 8-1 in one of the most one-sided finals ever.
This led to some fans saying Selangor must have had some powerful "black magic".
The 1970s heralded the arrival of the Bakar brothers - Ali and Isa, Shukor Salleh, Mohamad Bakar, Cheah Peng Chean, Khalil Hashim, Desmond David, Ooi Hock Kheng, Nik Hassan, N. Baskaran, Teoh Yit Huat and Gopal Krishnan.

In 1974, Penang heroically knocked Singapore out in the semifinal to face northern rival Perak in the final.

Namat Abdullah led Penang to a 2-1 victory in what was to be the state's last Malaysia Cup final victory.

The Penang line-up was Desmond David in goal, Namat Abdullah, Ooi Hock Kheng, Shukor Salleh, Nik Hassan, T. Gopal Krishnan, Ali Bakar, Isa Bakar, Mohamad Bakar, Shaharuddin Abdullah and Khalil Hashim.

Up to the late 1950s, almost all the big matches were played at Victoria Green, home of the Chinese Recreation Club, before the City Stadium was built in 1956.
Today, the Polo Ground has become the venue for Third Division matches but it is not as popular as the Datuk Keramat Padang.

The league competition run by the FAP had three divisions and was undoubtedly the best run in the country until the 1980s when the programme could not be completed as scheduled. After that, the league went downhill.

Some of the well-known FAP officials then were Loh Hoot Yeang, who was president for many years, A.S. Mohamad Mydin, Tan Cheng Hoe, Yaakob Syed and Haris Hussain.

Datuk David Choong was president in 1962 when Penang made the FAM Cup final, but lost 3-4 to Selangor in a pulsating contest on May 12 before a capacity crowd at the City Stadium.

To the delight of the home fans, Ibrahim Mydin put Penang ahead, only for Govindarajoo to equalise.
It was 1-1 at half-time. Ho Yuen Meng then put Selangor ahead, but Ibrahim levelled for Penang.
Then veteran winger Chuah Poh Beng put Penang in the lead but Abdul Ghani Minhat saved Selangor with his equaliser.

At full-time the score stood at 3-3. In extra-time, Ghani intercepted a corner to net the winner for Selangor.
Zainal Abidin Noor, who played for Perak and Penang in the 1960s, said Malaysian football has changed drastically compared with his playing days.

"There was hardly any monetary incentives then and we used to order our boots from local cobblers such as Chip Bee in Chulia Street.
"Today, young players have branded boots costing RM300 or more and strut around as if they are Barcelona or Real Madrid stars.

"But football standards today have gone downhill," he said.
Can Penang ever hope to scale the lofty heights of yesteryear?
Football fan Chang Chuen Bin believes that it would take a lot of effort and time as the rot had set in for quite a long spell.

Locals, he said, seemed to have lost interest in inter-state football.
Bookies, were also a big problem. Many, he said, have yet to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel.

But veteran Datuk Shukor Salleh is hopeful that Penang may come good again in the future.
"The problem is money. Money is everything today and once you can get sufficient funds, Penang can start making her way back.

"However, getting funds from the FAM alone will not be enough.
"We can see that other state teams are also facing financial problems.
"Things have changed tremendously since the last two decades.

"We used to play for the love of the game but players today will put money foremost in their consideration."

Monday, September 16, 2013

Archery: Khairul makes it to World Cup Finals.

Khairul Anuar has become the first Malaysian archer to qualify for the season-ending World Cup Final in Paris, featuring the seven best archers of the season plus one from host nation France. The event will be held on 21-22 September at the Trocadero Esplanade. Khairul Anuar will shoot in the recurve category on Sunday 22 September, the day of his 22nd birthday!

Khairul Anuar was promoted to the Malaysian elite squad in 2011 as a 20-year old archer. After finishing second in the team event at the European Grand Prix in Boé, France in May 2011, he earned a spot on the Malaysian team for the London Olympic Games when he finished first in the team play-off competition.

Khairul Anuar made Malaysian archery history when he reached the recurve men's individual final at Stage 4 of the Archery World Cup, in Shanghai in September 2011, competing in his first World Cup event in only his third international tournament. Khairul Anuar edged out several top archers before losing to USA’s Joe FANCHIN in the gold medal final. This was the first medal for a Malaysian archer in an individual World Cup event.

One month later, Khairul Anuar tied the national record to finish second in the recurve men's qualifications at the London Archery Classic Olympic Test Event. He then defeated experienced Ukrainian archer Dmytro HRACHOV (UKR), team bronze medallist at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, to snatch third place, thus emerging as an Olympic medal contender for London 2012. 

In the Asian Championships in Tehran two weeks later, the archer from Malaysia took a well-deserved title in the individual event. This was just two days after Khairul Anuar won the team continental title, stopping China in the final.

At the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Malaysian archer made it to the quarter-finals of the individual event, where he was stopped by eventual silver medallist Takaharu FURUKAWA of Japan, finishing sixth individually. With his team, however, he retired after a first-round loss.

This 2013 season started with victory in the team event at the First Asian Grand Prix 2013 in Bangkok. He then clinched fourth place at the first World Cup event in Shanghai, losing to No.1 seeded athlete OH Jin Hyek of Korea in the semi-finals and to Japan's Shungo TABATA for the bronze medal. Eighth and 17th place finishes in Antalya and Medellin offered Khairul Anuar his ticket to Paris for the World Cup Final.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Playing for the flag

JUNG-MOO, ke tengah, Khalid, dapat kepada Hassan, masih lagi Hassan, cocok Hassan, Hassan, Young-jeung mengejar, kepada James, peluang untuk James, James, gol! Gol!”

(“Jung-Moo to the centre, Khalid heads it out to Hassan, still Hassan, Hassan moves forward, Young-jeung chases Hassan, Hassan passes it to James, chance for James, James, goal! Goal!”) Over three decades on, that commentary on YouTube still mesmerises this football enthusiast.

What a priceless experience it must have been for local football fans to watch Hassan Sani dribble past two players to set up that pass to James Wong – a move that led us to the 1980 Olympics!
Though the squad did not play in the Moscow Games due to the US-led boycott which Malaysia joined, both Sabahans etched themselves in the hearts of many Malaysians after their match-winning exploits in Stadium Merdeka.

In the past, South Korea, Japan and other Asian countries found our Malaysian side a fearsome force to be reckoned with.

Players like the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari, Datuk Santokh Singh, Datuk Soh Chin Aun and the late R. Arumugam were top class individuals during their prime.

Mokhtar was lauded as one of the best Asian players during the 80s and he spearheaded one of the best teams in Malaysian history.

And while east Malaysian legends Hassan, from Labuan, and Kota Kinabalu-born Wong played in a squad dominated by Malaysians from the peninsula, Hassan says that they were not treated any differently.

“When I first joined the squad, I was a junior. There was occasional bantering between seniors and juniors in the squad, but we were all friends and we played as a unit,” he said.
That team had only one thing on their mind: to play for the national flag!

Hassan, 55, added that his teammates were encouraging – “They told me not to be shy as I was part of the team!” – and fondly termed them as family.

“I thank them for giving me the fighting spirit. Players like Chin Aun, Mokhtar and Santokh gave my game some much needed impetus,” he said.

Wong, however, did not know what to expect as joining a band of footballers from the peninsula was a new experience for him.

“However, the thought of representing the country was foremost in my mind. It was a case of mind over matter,” said the 61-year-old.

The team eventually bonded over shared meals, training sessions and off time.
“Friendships naturally fell into place. Before we joined the squad, a sense of intimidation was present, but it gradually faded,” he said.

Santokh said Wong and Hassan played for the national team because of their abilities and not because of their state.

“Hassan Sani was a good right winger and James Wong was a good centre-forward because he controlled the ball well and could make good passes,” he said.

“For the first two days (of national training), both of them (Hassan and Wong) felt awkward but gradually we made them feel they were part of the national team.”
Santokh said the national team at that time was totally 1Malaysia.

“From those days, our heart and soul were 1Malaysia.
Legends (from left) Hassan, Chin Aun, Wong and Santokh together during a media function in Kuching in September 2011.

“We played for the country and we loved the game,” he said.
During his time, Wong said football was not just a profession but a passion.

“I was passionate about the game. I just wanted to play football with a group of friends from my hometown and I wanted our team to be the best,” he said.

Hassan and Wong say they had the privilege of playing with the likes of Mokhtar, Chin Aun and Santokh.

“We had excellent players during my time. Not only did they have skills, but they also brought some sense of intelligence to their game.

“Football is not just about kicking a ball around and running aimlessly. It requires smart running, passing and positioning in attack and defence,” said Wong, adding that today’s players lack these attributes.

To Hassan, the 1980 side was a very spirited one complete with all the necessary ingredients for success.

“In those days, we played with high spirits and went all out during our games. We only thought about the flag and the national team, nothing else,” he said.

Even if they lost some of their games, Hassan was satisfied as the team did not give up and played till the final whistle.

He also had the same mentality for his Sabah state team.
Citing Wong and longtime Sabah goalkeeper Peter Rajah as his close friends, Hassan said Mokhtar was by far the best national player Malaysia has ever had.

“I learnt a lot from him. As for Sabah, James (Wong) is the best.
“We have played together for so long, and this started since we first played in the Borneo Cup,” said Hassan.

For Wong, many footballers during his time deserve a mention, and he had only fond memories of those he played with.

Asked about the current state of Malaysian football, both players said the national side has been in the doldrums for many years.

Happily, it has seen some improvement in the last two years, with Hassan lauding the Harimau Muda team for its fighting spirit that should inspire their seniors.
“In those days, we were better than Japan and South Korea. Now, they have improved thanks to their league.

“If we have a strong league, our players will improve too,” he said.
Wong, who is now in the entertainment business but still keeps in touch with Hassan, Chin Aun and Santokh, said there had been a slight improvement.

“There are signs of quality games being displayed by our national side, but we are not consistent.
“At the same time, I wonder if we have all the best players assembled in our current squad,” he said.
Hassan still plays football as he features with some of the former Sabah state players for the Labuan Veteran’s squad.

“Occasionally, we organise friendly matches and play against other state veteran sides. We still need to exercise lah,” Hassan joked during the phone interview from Labuan.

To him, discipline is the key ingredient for any footballer.“My father, Sani Tengah, was also a footballer. He told me that to succeed in life, you need to have discipline,” he said.

Asked about the future of Malaysian football, Wong feels that it may take some time to achieve better results, but added that the latest crop of players show promise.

“Most of them are paid footballers, and it’s their job to excel. If we could do well as amateurs, there’s no excuse for today’s professionals to not do the same,” he said

Monday, September 2, 2013

Former hockey players from 70s to hold reunion gathering

Way back then: The Malacca Combined Schools hockey team that won the inaugural Federation of Malaya inter state schools honours in 1959. Standing in the back row are Goh (third from left) and manager cum coach A.G. Leon (fourth from left).
Way back then: The Malacca Combined Schools hockey team that won the inaugural Federation of Malaya inter state schools honours in 1959. Standing in the back row are Goh (third from left) and manager cum coach A.G. Leon (fourth from left).

MALACCA: Wong Boon Heng and Micheal Goh Doh Jin, two prominent former Malacca state and national hockey stalwarts of yesteryears are undertaking ground and leg work towards organising reunions of the 1975 Malaysia’ women Scotland World Cup side and the 1959 Malacca Combined Schools team.

For the record, Wong was in the 1975 outfit which wound up in 17th spot out of 25 teams in the Edinburgh Women’s World Cup.

On the other hand, Micheal was the first choice goalkeeper in the Malaccva schools side which bagged the inaugural Federation of Malaya inter-state combined schools title in Kuala Lumpur beating Perak 2-0 in the final in 1959.

Wong also played in the 1971 edition of the Women’s World Cup in Auckland apart from the 1975 tourney.

“I am already in touch with a couple of my team mates residing in Kuala Lumpur with regards to my reunion proposal,” said Wong.

“Several of the 1975 world cuppers are still in the country while a handful have migrated overseas mainly to Australia. I am contacting these players’ family members, relatives and friends still in Malaysia in attempts to contact those who had migrated.

“In fact there were 16 of us in the national contingent that made the Scotland trip when the late Vivian Soars was manager.

“Also, another who passed away was Dorothy Sibert Bailey, the national association’s secretary who accompanied the team as an official.

“Hopefully when all are contacted, I shall arrange an end-of-year reunion date in Malacca where their family members can attend.”

Women power: The 1975 Malaysia women’s Scotland World Cup contingent with former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and wife in the group. Standing extreme left in front row is Wong.
Women power: The 1975 Malaysia women’s Scotland World Cup contingent with former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak and wife in the group. Standing extreme left in front row is Wong.
The Scotland trip contingent included Vivian Soars (manager), P.T. Lingam (treasurer of the national association),Dorothy Sibert Bailey (treasurer) while the players were Khoo Jok Nee, Mary Soo, P. Savithri, G. Sundra Lakshimi, Evelyn Koelmeyer, Norlia Abu, Daphne Gomez, Dr. K. Navanayanam, Lyiha Ismail, Yap Siew Bee, Goh Joo Pek, Rani Kaur and Wong Boon Heng.

Wong recalled that most players don national colours in the 1971 Women’s World Cup in Auckland, apart from turning out in the 1975 Scotland edition.

Also, the national team bagged the 1974 Asian crown beating Japan 1-0 in the final played in Kuala Lumpur while Wong netted the solitary goal winner when Malaysia edged favourites India earlier in the semi-final.

“Apart from the reunion, a shorten friendly game would be arranged between the national side and the local combined schools girls team where family members and supporters would be invited to attend and maybe take turns playing. I hope the group will come to the reunion and make it a holiday to meet up and go down memory lane,” added Wong.

All former players, supporters and family members keen to come can contact Wong at hockeybhwong@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, Michael has been in contact with several of the 1959 Malacca Combined Schools team including a couple of them who have settled down in Australia.

The reunion is specially arranged to pay tribute to the team’s manager and coach A.G Leon, formerly with the Malacca Education Department who is presently residing in Kuala Lumpur and in poor health.

A couple of players have already passed away and their family members have indicated turning up for the reunion to represent them, added Micheal a former Malacca Survey Department staff now residing in Melaka Baru.

He can be reached at 012- 659 7623 for further details and enquiries.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bekas tekong kebangsaan, Mohd Fauzi Ghadzali meninggal dunia

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Aug 2013 – Bekas pemain takraw kebangsaan, Mohd Fauzi Ghadzali meninggal dunia akibat kanser kelenjar di Hospital Besar Pulau Pinang hari ini.
Mohd Fauzi, 33, menghembuskan nafas terakhir pada kira-kira 5.45 pagi ini, menurut anak saudara Allahyarham Mohd Khairil Ridzwan.

Katanya bapa saudaranya itu menerima rawatan di Hospital Besar Pulau Pinang sejak tiga bulan lalu dan keadaannya menjadi semakin kritikal sejak sebulan lepas.

Allahyarham meninggalkan isteri Solehah Omar, 30, dan lima anak berusia antara tujuh bulan dan lapan tahun.

Jenazah dikebumikan di Permatang Pauh, Pulau Pinang selepas solat Zohor, kata Mohd Khairil, 29, ketika dihubungi Bernama.

“Kami sekeluarga sangat terasa dengan kehilangan arwah yang merupakan individu peramah, dan anak-anaknya juga masih kecil,” katanya.

Berasal dari Pulau Pinang, Mohd Fauzi, bekas pemain kebangsaan bagi posisi tekong pernah membantu pasukan negara meraih sebutir perak dan sebutir gangsa pada temasya Sukan Asia Busan 2002 dan dua perak pada Sukan SEA Vietnam 2003.

Sementara itu, Menteri Belia dan Sukan Khairy Jamaluddin berkata negara kehilangan antara bekas pemain tekong terbaik yang pernah mengharumkan nama negara.

Allahyarham Mohd Fauzi Ghadzali bergambar kenangan bersama keluarga. - Sumber gambar Facebook.
Allahyarham Mohd Fauzi Ghadzali bergambar kenangan bersama keluarga. – Sumber gambar Facebook.

“Saya mendapat berita pemergian beliau di Twitter pagi tadi. Saya telah meminta Majlis Sukan Negara melihat beberapa perkara yang perlu dibantu bagi meringankan beban keluarga Allahyarham,” katanya kepada pemberita ketika ditemui pada satu majlis di Bukit Kiara.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

In remembrance of Ishtiaq Mobarak

THE sporting community has lost track legend Ishtiaq Mobarak at the age 65. Ishtiaq, who died on Friday, was known for his hurdling prowess and stylish personality on the track from the mid 60's till 1978.

He was a friend and colleague at Maybank and served in the 80's as a sports coordinator. He was a guiding force in turning the bank into a powerhouse in athletics, football and hockey.

He had the knack of identifying and nurturing young talented athletes into national champions. One of his protégés is former international decathlete and national coach Hanapiah Nasir.
His wife Shamini Mubarak (K. Selvarani) was a former national 400m hurdler who was coached by Ishtiaq himself at the Kampong Pandan Sports Complex in the 70's and 80's.

I had the honour to work with him as a middle and long-distance coach for the inter bank athletics meet where Maybank emerged champions for at least 10 years under his strong guidance. He was known for his ferocious work ethics, extraordinary talent and passion as an athlete and coach.

Ishtiaq is best remembered for winning four SEA Games gold medals in 1969, 1971, 1973, and 1977; a silver at the 1974 Asian Games; and silver at the Asian track and field in 1973 and 1975.

In 1978, he was awarded the Ahli Mangku Negara along with his 1977 Sea Games coach Edwin Abraham and athletes such as Datuk Marina Chin, Jessica Lau, Smit Bolkiah for capturing five golds at the KL Sea Games.

He represented the nation in three Olympics: 1968 (Mexico), 1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal). He was a semi-finalist in the 110m hurdles at Montreal.

Goodbye my dear friend. May your soul rest in peace.

C. Sathasivam Sitheravellu

Ishtiaq Mobarak – an obituary

It was during the late 1950s that I had the good fortune of being associated with two potential sports talents in Pasar Road English School, KL when these two boys about nine years old joined the teachers in bowling them out in cricket batting practice after the children’s sports activities were over for the day. They were Ishtiaq Mobarak and Zainon Mat. They were natural sports talents who could excel in any game. Both represented the school in many games.

Ishtiaq who excelled in Hurdles event represented the school at athletics, hockey, football, cricket and rugby and turned out to be one of the nation’s greatest ever hurdlers. Zainon represented the school at athletics, football, hockey, cricket and rugby. He later turned out to be  Malaysia’s top spin bowler and eventually the captain of the national team.

I write this on receiving the news that Ishtiaq had passed away aged 65. His father Mubarak Ahmad was then a senior police officer and a former Malayan sprinter and president of FMAAU (predecessor of MAAU) was very often at the school field witnessing and later discussing with teachers on the progress of his son.

Mubarak was especially responsible for the hurdles training of his son. He confirmed with that he had trained his son on hurdling in the compound of his senior officer’s government bungalow. Ishtiaq was already Primary Schools Selangor champion at hurdles, when the school entered him for an under 16 Selangor schools events. He created a sensation by winning this event!

Just before leaving for the next school The father discussed with me about choosing just one sports and  we both agreed that it should be hurdles. There were no regrets later. Then on it was glory all the way. His school days at the Victoria Institution saw him setting new 110m hurdles at both state and national Schools Sports Council records. MAAU sent him to Germany for special training and he continued to win SEAP Games and Asian Golds.

His height of  achievements was the qualifying for the semi finals at the Olympics in 1976. He joined the Malayan Bank and was jointly responsible with several coaches for Maybank being continuously Champion Bank in the then popular Inter Bank Athletics meet. His Bank achievements in coaching made him a national coach for hurdles bringing him to being appointed as a full time coach in the National Sports Council.

Being a national hit in the sports world has the build up of high expectations from all concerned. The fans, the admirers, the MAAU, the NSC, the employers, etc., are not groups which can be pleased easily when successes are not forthcoming all the time! Ishtiaq, like many other ex athletes or coaches faced lots of emotional strains . Fortunately, for Ishtiaq, his ex national athlete wife, Selvarani, became the stabilising factor in the tumultuous wold of high expectation!

To make matters worse a nasty motorbike accident caused him immense pain in a torturous  way forcing him to take non stop pain killers. The trust Selvarani  and the children, the close family and friends had in him cleared him of allegations made unjustly on an athlete who was once hero worshipped as an international Hurdler inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Olympic Council of Malaysia.

Only a few weeks ago he rang me to express his gratefulness for my understanding for him. Alas! I sent him a Raya message yesterday and the answer I received yesterday morning that he is no more with us! The great individual he was, though a legend, depicted the life of many of our national greats who endure much agony and hardship after bringing glory to the nation. May the Almighty God Bless his soul.

Ishtiaq Was A Dedicated, Caring And Responsible Husband And Father - Shamimi

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 (Bernama) -- The late Olympian hurdler Ishtiaq Mobarak was a loving, caring and responsible husband and father said his wife Shamimi Selvarani Abdullah, 52.

Though he was busy with his duties as a coach, he was always concerned with the welfare of our children, she said.

"Though my daughter was pursuing her studies in Hotel Management in Dubai, he never failed to call her to find out how she was progressing," she told Bernama at her house in Taman Zooview, here, Friday.

According to Shamimi, her husband Ishtiaq, 65, who had suffered a stroke about three years ago, fell in the bathroom of their house and passed away at 9.55am, today.

Ishtiaq's remains were buried at the Taman Batu Muda Muslim Cemetery, Jalan KL-Karak at 6pm, today, after the prayers at Masjid Al-Ridhuan, Hulu Kelang.

She added that her husband was a kind and dedicated person who always led a moderate lifestyle but had a passion to collect high powered motorcycles.

He (Ishtiaq) however, had to sell off his collection of high powered motorcycles after suffering a stroke and decided to quit his coaching job in January.

Shamimi said her husband was very cheerful when celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri yesterday, especially with the arrival of family members to the house.

"He was very happy to celebrate Aidilfitri with the children, family members and relatives," said Shamimi who works in a bank.

The late Ishtiaq leaves behind his wife and two daughters - Shaniz and Shakira Mubarak who are 26 and 22, respectively.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A great athlete who will long be remembered

CHUA Boon Huat had touched many hearts and some, including this scribe, are still shell-shocked at how his young and energetic life was plucked, leaving a vacuum hard to fill.


We met at a Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) buka puasa cum incentive function at the Park Royal Hotel in Bukit Bintang roughly seven hours before his death.

There was never an inkling that it would be the last time I would meet him.
I remember how I made my way to the dinner table after a press conference with MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and noticed no available chairs. I picked one up from the back of the banquet hall and coincidentally, or by fate, placed it next to Chua.

With a wide smile, he greeted me: "Bro, how have you been keeping these days?"
"Not too bad," I replied, and just then, Tengku Abdullah walked by and said: "You are looking good Chua. You have lost some weight (since the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru). Keep it up as we need you at your best in Ipoh."

Turning to the scribe, Tengku Abdullah looked at my pot belly and said: "You have also lost some weight."

And I replied with a joke: "Tengku, did you know that Peter Butler has tweeted that he wants to be the director of coaching for FAM (after news broke that the Malaysian football team had lost 5-0 to second division Japanese club Tokyo Verdy)."

Tengku Abdullah, who had, at the press conference, earlier said he did not want to talk about the football team as it would only spoil his appetite, gave this reporter an annoyed look and remarked: "Well, he can apply, anybody can apply."

Tengku Abdullah walked away, and Chua pulled at my sleeves and said: "Bro, he just told you in the press conference that he did not want to talk about football and now you have spoilt his appetite!", to which I replied: "That only means we will have a bigger share of the spread."
Chua let out a hearty laugh. Getting serious, I asked him if Malaysia really needed foreign coaches in football and hockey.

Chua looked around and then told me a shocker, and when I told him I would write about it, he said: "No lah bro! Don't write that because it will only hurt many people.
"But if you ask me about hockey, I feel we did the right thing with Paul (Revington). You know bro, I am not the type who enjoys training, but under Paul, I am actually enjoying every moment as there is never a dull moment.

"Also, you know, it's something funny, but I'm learning things that should have been taught to me 10 years ago, but only now under Paul am I learning!

"Everyone in the team is enjoying training and is motivated. Before this, we entered the pitch and played to our own strengths, our own special skills, and nobody before this told us even how to trap the ball properly on the run and attack.

"Things are changing and bro, you can also see that we were just unlucky in the England and Pakistan matches in Johor."

Chua wore a big smile when I asked him about playing in the Asia Cup at his favourite hunting ground, the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

"Ya lah bro, I have scored some super goals in the Azlan Shah (Cup). The Ipoh crowd is super. Let's see how I can make them cheer even louder (in the Asia Cup)."
Just then, a television crew walked up and asked Chua for an interview, to which he obliged, and they recorded his last moments.

He was the only Chinese in the senior side for the last two decades, and you would want him on your side in a match, and also a party.
Coach Revington had this fitting finale to say: "Since I came to Malaysia, not a day went by when I was not extremely thankful that Chua was in our locker room and on our side.

"I have admired Chua since I first watched him in the 2000 Olympics, then in Hobart 2001 and always secretly hoped I would get an opportunity to coach him.
"A great athlete and warrior, he was."

Gone today my friend, but you'll be forever remembered.

Rest in peace, Chua Boon Huat

KUALA LUMPUR: NATIONAL hockey player Chua Boon Huat's untimely death has sent shockwaves to not only his teammates, but also the entire hockey loving fraternity in Malaysia.


File picture of the late, Chua Boon Huat (number 3, in yellow) after scoring a goal at the TNB MHL 2012 match at National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil. Pix by Goh Thean Howe 

 The 33-year-old midfielder-striker who spotted jersey No 3, died in a motor-vehicle accident at 3am in Kuala Lumpur. His car number was CBH 3350.

  Tragically, or some see is as a blessing, Chua met all his teammates and hockey officials including Malaysian Hockey Confederation President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at a breaking of fast function seven hours earlier.

  He was his usual jovial self, and could be seen speaking to his teammates, and was also interviewed by this scribe as well as television channels on his Asia Cup aspirations.

  National goalkeeper S. Kumar was shattered by the news and said: "Chua is normally a reserved person, but at the breaking fast function, he spoke to me for at least 30 minutes about various matters and this is very unusual of him.

  "He also spoke and joked with many people at the function. This  is a tragic loss. The news has shattered the entire team," said Kumar.

  His teammates were at the University Malaya mortuary early in the morning, and even coach Paul Revington was inconsolable.

  Social sites have been on fire paying tribute to the player who made his debut as a 17-year-old in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.

  Some of his closes buddies like former national skipper S. Kuhan wrote on his Facebook: "Good bye my dear brother. Shattered and broken I am. I will miss you dearly and cherish the good and bad times we experienced together. Till we meet again... We LOVE you!

  And another skipper who played longside him in the KL Commonwealth Games Mirnawan Nawawi penned this: "My friend and former teammate in the national hockey team, you are too young to go. Great lost to his family and country. RIP Chua Boon Huat. U'll be missed!

  Former National Sports Institute director general Datuk Dr Ramlan Aziz had this to say on FB: "Extremely sad to hear of the demise of one of our great hockey players, Chua Boon Huat. ..so tragic. I was his team doctor for many years..so friendly and approachable with a ready smile and kind-hearted. We will miss him badly. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

  Chua, born May 3, 1980 in Malacca, capped 330 times for the country, surpassing the appearances made by Nor Saiful Zaini (325) and his best friend S. Kuhan (327)

   He has played at the World Cup, Olympics, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and Asia Cup.
  And he also captained the 2001 Junior World Cup side in Hobart.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Farewell sir, we will miss you

KATHIRAVALE: Knew the law of the sports at his fingertips

THE young generation would have known about other countries having football and hockey legends but what they would not have known was that Malaysia had a double accredited official, S. Kathiravale, who passed away at his home in Taman Yarl in Old Klang Road yesterday.

Kathiravale, a Fifa-accredited referee and an International Hockey Federation umpire from 1968 to 1980, was 84.

Kathiravale blows his last whistle

OCM vice president Datuk Roy Rajasingham, who is also Kathiravale’s close friend, said he was loved by all in the fraternity.

“He achieved great heights in football and hockey and brought fame to the country by being the first Malaysian world-class referee and umpire,” he said.

Rajasingham said Kathiravale had contributed a lot for football and hockey as an official. He was a mentor to the younger generation of referees and umpires.

“As a close friend, Kathiravale was the most jovial person I have ever met. He always makes people laugh and made sure they were always happy with him,” he said.

Kathiravale, who is an Arsenal supporter, started out as a linesman and graduated to become an international referee during his 48 years in the sport.

He officiated at 33 matches, including Malaysia’s 2-0 victory over Arsenal, at Merdeka Stadium in 1975.

At the continental level, Kathiravale officiated the final match between Iran and South Korea in the 5th Asian Cup in Bangkok, Thailand in 1972, and the first Women’s Asian Cup final between Thailand and New Zealand in Hong Kong in 1975.

In 1978, he was a senior linesman at the 8th Asian Games football final between South Korea and North Korea in Bangkok.

Kathiravale was also the referee for the Japan-South Korea qualification match in Tokyo, Japan for the 1978 World Cup.

Former The Malay Mail sports editor Tony Mariadass said Kathiravale was an icon during his reporting days.

“He has a unique way of presenting himself. He could pass down a message from a joke ... that’s how brilliant he was,” said Mariadass.

Kathiravale, a teacher by occupation, made time for Mariadass by teaching him about the rules and regulations of football and hockey.

“He knew the law of the sports at his fingertips. Two weeks ago, I rang him up to ask about the abandoned FA Cup semifinal match between Pahang and Darul Takzim FC. He was sharp for his age,” said Mariadass.

Kathiravale served as an AFC International Referee Instructor from 1975 to 2000 (one of the first three AFC instructors) and Fifa-accredited referee Instructor from 1986 to 2000.
In hockey, he started as a ball boy before becoming Razak Cup tournament director in 2002.

Kathiravele, seen here cutting his wedding anniversary cake
INFECTIOUS PERSONALITY: Kathiravele, seen here cutting his wedding anniversary cake with his wife S. Sarasvathi, always made an impact on whoever met him

The funeral was held at Loke Yew Crematorium at 5pm yesterday.

Among those who paid their last respects were C. Paramalingam, 1975 Malaysian hockey team captain Datuk Sri Shanmuganathan, K. Balasingam, R. Pathmarajah, S. Balasingam, Stephen Van Huizen, Malaysian Hockey Confederation deputy president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, FA of Malaysia assistant general secretary Datuk Ahmad Fuad and Olympic Council Malaysia secretary Datuk Sieh Kok Chi.

Kathiravale leaves behind wife S. Sarasvathi and three sons, K. Ananthavel, Dr K. Sivakumar and K. Sivapalan.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Farewell, Kathiravale

S. Kathiravale and his wife. FORMER double international S. Kathiravale passed away at 5am today. During his heyday, a time where double Internationals were a norm among athletes, the 84-year-old was on the other side of the spectrum officiating hockey and football matches.

Accredited by FIH and FIFA, the world’s governing body for the respective sports, Kathiravale enjoyed the spotlight never seen by referees nor umpires these days – making the headlines of newspapers across the country.

During an interview with an English daily a couple of years ago, Kathiravale recalled his golden years saying “as long as it lasted, I enjoyed everything.” “He was always passionate about his games and I think that is what took him to the top in hockey and football.

He has done great service to the country,” said his first born K. Ananthavel. Kathiravale started out a linesman in a local football tournament and graduated to an International referee during the 48 years of his involvement in the sport.

He had officiated 33 International matches in addition to Arsenal’s first visit to Malaysia in 1975, where his favourite club lost to Malaysia 2-0. When he finally called it quits in football in 2006, the Seremban-born man had served the FA of Malaysia (FAM) Referee Committee in various positions.

His service to football was recognised by Asian Football Confedearation as he was awarded the AFC Distinguished Service Awards – Gold (30 years) last month. Kathiravale also served a hockey empire for 42 years, first starting as a ball boy before becoming the Razak Cup tournament director in 2002.

In a press statement today, Selangor Hockey Association extended “its heartfelt condolences to his wife and family and mourns the loss of a sportsman, a friend and a mentor to all who has contributed so much to hockey and football not only in the state of Selangor but nationally and internationally.”

*Funeral will be held at the Loke Yew Crematorium at 5pm today.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Former Malaysia right-half Johari passes away

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s hockey fraternity lost another member, Johari Chua, who passed away due to blood cancer on Monday.
Johari, born as Chua Eng Wah, was 76. He came from a family of hockey players. Two of his brothers – defender Eng Cheng and forward Eng Kim – played for Malaysia at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He also had another brother Eng Chye, who played for Malaya against Pakistan and India in the mid 1950s.

Johari, a right-half, was best remembered for helping Malaysia win the bronze medal for the first time in the 1962 Asian Games. He later went on to coach the Malaysian women’s team. Under him, Malaysia won the SEA Games gold medal in Jakarta in 1987 and in Kuala Lumpur in 1989.

Former international Datuk R. Yogeswaran said he was sad to learn of Johari’s demise.

“I played alongside him in the Asian Games in 1962 and he was close to his team-mates. He always took care of his team-mates,” recalled Yogeswaran, a former national coach and team manager.
Yogeswaran also revealed that Johari became a grandfather on Monday but passed away later in the day.

Lau Sau Foong, a former skipper of the national women’s team, also paid tribute to Johari.
“He coached the national women’s team from 1987-89. He was soft spoken but strict. And we used to call him coach Jo. To him, fitness was vital in sports and we were successful at the SEA Games,” said Sau Foong.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Biography of a badminton great

FOUR-TIME All-England singles champion Datuk Eddy Choong celebrated his 80th birthday last Sunday in style by launching his biography Ex-Badminton Player: Dato Eddy Choong — Talk About History.

Choong was attired in a black samfu with red motifs while his wife Datin Maggie Thean was dressed in a lovely cheongsam at the event held at the Jade Palace seafood restaurant on Aboo Siti Lane in George Town at 7pm.

Joining the celebrations were his four sons, their wives and three grandchildren.

Proud: Choong showing a copy of his book launched at his birthday party.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew plus several state executive councillors were also present.

The octogenarian was All-England champion in 1953, 1954, 1956 and 1957.

The 110-page book was written in Chinese by Sin Chew Daily senior reporter Kiu Boon Huat. It has also been translated into English by a Universiti Sains Malaysia student.

Choong said proceeds from the sale of 100 books at the function would be matched ringgit to ringgit by him.

“I will give half of the amount to a charity to be announced later and the other half I will give to my wife to be given to the charity of her choice,” he said.

In his speech after cutting the birthday cake, Choong said he was leading a happy and fulfilling life with his wife who had given him unconditional love and friends who had kept him in good spirits over the years.

“I have friends from World War Two days. My family has been in Malaysia for 200 years.
“My great-great grandfather came to Malaysia in 1820. Some of those who are here at this event today were my father’s friends and I have learnt a lot from them,” he said.

Choong also joked that for 80 years, heaven had allowed him to be on earth to continue living until he became a good person.

“Only when I succeed in becoming a good person, will the almighty God take me because the good die young,” he said to laughter and cheers from guests.

Lim, in his speech, said he was impressed after reading Choong’s book.

He said Choong emphasised that a person’s character was more important than the colour of his skin.
“Eddy also held on to the old Scouts motto — Be Prepared — and that’s why he was the undisputed badminton world champion.

“I also admire Choong’s public spiritedness,” he said.

Guests were kept entertained through the night by Sweet Melody.

Alleycats singer David Arumugam shares fond memory of badminton legend Eddy Choong

Bidding farewell: David and Sabrina paying their last respects to Choong at his residence in Bell Road. Bidding farewell: David and Sabrina paying their last respects to Choong at his residence in Bell Road.
GEORGE TOWN: The late Datuk Eddy Choong used to train in an alley here as a young man.
This was revealed by Alleycats vocalist Datuk David Arumugam, who said he used to sit for hours watching the badminton legend train in a makeshift badminton court at the alley off Argyll Road at night.

“Datuk Eddy and the other players, all of whom were already well established at that time, used the alley as their training ground.

“My neighbourhood friends and I watched them play for hours. There were no high technology gadgets in those days and watching them play was entertainment for us,” said David, who was then a primary school student.

He said Choong and the other players were a motivation to the neighbourhood children and adults.
“They were all already top badminton players in Penang and it was amazing to see them train one night in our humble housing area and then see them compete in major international tournaments such as the All-England.

“When I was little, I remember listening closely to the radio when there were announcements of Datuk Eddy's victory and I felt so proud,” he said.

Choong, 82, died of intestinal bleeding on Monday at a private hospital here where he was admitted two days earlier due to a bout of vomiting.

He will be cremated at the Batu Gantung crematorium at 2pm on Friday.
David, now 63, recalled that when he started venturing into his music career, Choong took the time to attend Alleycats' performances.

“He was a very busy man but he still came. I could tell that he loved music a lot,” David added.
He and his wife Datin Sabrina Clyde, 57, were among those who paid their last respects to Choong at his residence in Bell Road here yesterday.

Among the others who came were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state exco member Chow Kon Yeow, Penang Barisan Nasional Youth chief Oh Tong Keong, Penang MCA Youth chief Tan Hing Teik, Penang MIC Youth chief J. Dhinagaran and Khoo Kongsi president Datuk Seri Khoo Keat Siew and his wife Datin Seri Daisy Yeow.

Oh urged the state government to name a road or badminton hall after Choong in recognition of his contribution to sports.

Datuk Finn Choong, 53, said his father was an avid music fan who loved all music genres on top of his hobby in gardening and collecting antiques.

“There is also a discussion in progress by the Penang state museum on exhibiting some of my father's achievements there but we'll see how it goes,” he said.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PKNS FC Mahu Bangkit Bersama Inspirasi Super Mokh

SHAH ALAM, 29 Jan (Bernama) -- Pasukan PKNS FC mahu kembali menjadi kelab gergasi bola sepak tanah air dengan mengembalikan legasi penyerang legenda negara tahun 70-an, Mokhtar Dahari atau "SuperMokh".

Kelab itu Selasa menandatangani memorandum persefahaman dengan syarikat pemasaran sukan, Total Sports Sdn Bhd untuk menjenamakan semula pasukan itu selain merencanakan perlawanan persahabatan antarabangsa, program-program sosial dan kebajikan (CSR) dan membangunkan televisyen web Selangor FC.

PKNS FC dalam kenyataan akhbar hari ini berkata langkah itu akan membantu PKNS FC menjenamakan semula kelab itu menerusi penerapan semangat Allahyarham Mokhtar dalam diri setiap pemain.

Pada majlis menandatangani memorandum itu, PKNS FC diwakili Presidennya Noor Hisham Mohd Ghouth, manakala Total Sports diwakili Ketua Pegawai Undang-undang Total Sports Asia, Puan Paramjit Dhillon dengan disaksikan Pengurus Besar PKNS, Othman Omar dan Timbalan Presiden Total Sports Mohd Rafee Md Aris.

"Kita semua tahu Allahyarham Mokhtar pernah berbakti di PKNS suatu ketika dahulu. Oleh yang demikian, saya berharap dengan adanya pendekatan yang diambil ini, pemain-pemain di bawah naungan PKNS FC dapat mengambil inspirasi dari kehebatan legenda Super Mokh dan seterusnya mengharumkan nama kelab dan negara, kata Noor Hisham.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Eddy Choong Wira Badmintion Sejati

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Jan (Bernama) -- Walaupun berbadan kecil, ketangkasan dan kelincahan legenda badminton negara Datuk Eddy Choong, menumpaskan lawan yang mempunyai fizikal yang lebih besar dan tinggi masih segar dalam fikiran peminat badminton tanah air.

Dengan hanya ketinggian lima kaki empat inci, juara empat kali berturut-turut edisi 1953, 1954, 1956 dan 1957 Kejohanan Badmintion All-England mampu mengegarkan gelanggang badmintion, Empress Hall, Kota London pada era-1950 yang sebelum ini dikuasai pemain dari negara benua Eropah.

Kini Malaysia kehilangan wira badminton apabila Choong, 83, meninggal dunia di pusat pakar Loh Guan Lye di Pulau Pinang Isnin akibat sakit tua.

Mendiang meninggalkan isteri Datin Maggie Thean Sun Lin, 79, dan empat orang anak lelaki Finn Choong, 53, Lionel Choong, 51, Jorgen Choong, 46, dan Antonio Choong, 37.

Selain berjaya mengekalkan rekod tanpa kalah bagi acara perseorangan lelaki Kejohanan All-England, anak jati Pulau Pinang itu juga menyandang gelaran juara bagi acara beregu selama tiga tahun berturut pada tahun 1951, 1952, dan 1953 bersama adiknya David Choong.

Mendiang juga adalah anggota pasukan Piala Thomas Malaya, pada tahun 1955 beliau dan pasukannya berjaya mempertahankan gelaran berpasukan dunia itu selepas mengalahkan Denmark 8-1 di Singapura.

Namun pasukan gagal mempertahankan gelaran tersebut pada edisi 1958 setelah tumpas 3-6 ke atas Indonesia di Singapura dan Choong bersara dari skuad kebangsaan dua tahun kemudian iaitu pada pertengahan tahun 1960.

Mendiang pernah menerima penghormatan tertinggi sebagai penerima anugerah 'Player of the Year' daripada Persekutuan Badminton Antarabangsa (IBF) pada tahun 1983 atas kecemerlanganya dalam arena sukan badmintion dunia.

Walaupun telah meninggal dunia, nama mendiang setiasa segar dalam sukan badminton negara kerana sumbangan yang dicurahkan beliau dalam arena sukan negara terlalu bernilai buat negara.

Semasa hidup, mendiang pernah berkata Malaysia masih mampu menjadi kuasa badminton dunia selagi ada pemain yang berusaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk maju satu langkah di hadapan lawan mereka.

Master of the sport, mentor to many

FORMER BA of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Elyas Omar (pic) yesterday mourned the death of his dear friend, Datuk Eddy Choong, saying it was a great loss for Malaysia badminton and the national association.

Elyas, who admired the seven-time All England champion, said Eddy loved the sport so much that he was always ready to contribute.

Elyas said Eddy became his personal consultant during his tenure as BAM president between 1985 and 1993. Although Eddy never held an official position in BAM, Elyas said their common interest in badminton made them close friends.

"I'm shocked. Eddy was in good health and in joyful mood when we met several months ago," said Elyas.

"He had helped Malaysian badminton and BAM in particular. It is a huge loss.
"Eddy was always willing to contribute and never shied away from offering his advice and opinion. He was such a great personality.

"It was during my tenure as BAM president that we became such close friends."
Former All England champion Datuk Tan Yee Khan also paid tribute to Eddy, and said he became an established player after training under the latter in the 1960s.

"It's a sad moment for all of us. I dedicate my improvement as a player to Eddy as I trained with him at his house.

"Eddy taught me how to beat the best," said Yee Khan.

"He was a great player and created the attacking lobs, serving extremely high to frustrate players.
"He was a superb tactician and the reason behind my victories over Danish great Erland Kops during my days as a singles payer. Very few can boast of having his knowledge and ideas."

Former international Datuk James Selvaraj said Eddy played a big part in contributing to developing stars like Yee Khan, Ng Boon Be and 1966 All England champion Tan Aik Huang.
"I have seen him train Aik Huang and other national players at SBA Hall in Kampung Attap," said Selvaraj.

"He was always at hand to help any badminton enthusiast and was a well known figure worldwide.
"It is really difficult to endure a second loss (after Datuk Punch Gunalan) in less than six months.
"I also brought some of the national back-up players to Yee Khan's resort in Pangkor where Eddy gave a talk to them for about two hours. He was very sincere and badminton had been everything to him."
Current BAM president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Salleh described Eddy as a person with strong opinions but voiced them in a polite manner.

"Eddy was strongly opinionated but sent his message across in a polite manner," he said.
"When I became president, he was one of the former players who came forward with so many ideas. He was a real sporting person." By K.M. Boopathy

The passing of a Malaysian great

EDDY CHOONG: Short in stature but mighty in accomplishments


The late Datuk Eddy Choong with some of the many trophies he had won in a stellar career.

Who could come near Eddy's achievements? He won a total of 450 titles; 75 international crowns in four countries.

 BADMINTON legend Datuk Eddy Choong, who passed away in Penang yesterday at the age of 82, left behind a legacy which is near impossible for another Malaysian to match.

The highlights of his success were capturing seven All England titles, four in the singles and three in the doubles.

Inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame, Eddy's prowess on the court were aptly recorded as: "Good things come in small packages" - a saying that was certainly apt for him.
Standing at only 1.6m, he was a diminutive that towered over a sea of giants.
Nicknamed the "Mighty Mouse", Eddy did not let his size affect his game, but instead used it to his advantage.

Playing a major role in Malaya's 1955 Thomas Cup triumph, Eddy's famous jumping smashes and blistering speed worked to devastating effect against rivals.

The heir to a successful business empire, Eddie did not follow his parents' footsteps but took up badminton seriously instead of taking over the family business.
However, he made them proud by becoming part of the Asian tsunami that swept aside the European powers in the 1950s.

Eddy's brothers, David and Freddie also turned out to be great badminton players.
He teamed up with David to win three All England doubles titles.
Eddy's love for the game never diminished even when he was past his prime. At 53 years old, he won the All England Veterans Doubles title.

In recognition of Eddy's achievements and contributions to the game, the International Badminton Federation set up the Eddy Choong Player of the Year award.

Eddy was really passionate about the game, and he would never hesitate to speak his mind or criticise the BA of Malaysia if its programmes or policies were ineffective.

He would say that Malaysia is still capable of becoming a badminton powerhouse and reliving the glory of its heydays, as long as players constantly strive to excel and stay one step ahead of their opponents.

He once told young players: "My aim was always to set a benchmark for others to meet. If we were to gauge our progress, it is through surpassing our forefathers."