The foursome — George Das, R. Velu, Fauzi Omar and Lazarus Rokk — organised a get together, Sports Flame, to honour the sportsmen and sportswomen who were household names in 1960s and 1970s.
The event, George said, was to remember the legendary sports personalities and honour them.
“Most of them have been left in the shadows of an industry that is continously aiming to produce the next generation of successful athletes. But we felt that their contributions and sacrifices should be remembered. Space and time have elapsed but we are hoping to immortalise these memories in our archives,’’ said George, the mentor of the quartet.
About 120 sports personalities and sports writers gathered in Kuala Lumpur to reminisce the golden era of Malaysian sports. The sports icons were from five sports — football, badminton, athletics, hockey and cycling.
Former national football midfielder Wong Choon Wah, who passed away on Jan 31, was one of the recipents of the Sports Flame.
He was in his usual jovial manner greeting all his compatriots.
Datuk Peter Velappan, who had served in Football Association of Malaysia as well as FIFA, was also present to meet his old friends.
“It is good to see them after a long time.’’ said Peter.
Former hockey international C. Paramalingam said he was pleased to be invited for such a meaningful event.
“All the sports personalities had a good relationship with the journalists. I think they were pleased to be part of this event. Meeting the greats from other sports is also good as we can recall the old days when we used to be in the Malaysian contingent for the SEA Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games,’’ said Paramalingam.
Tan Sri Dr M. Jegathesan, whose national 200m record still stands, shared his experience on taking part in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, while former Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary and FIH umpire Datuk G. Vijayanathan and Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union secretary N. A. Baskaran were also present.
George said their group was not an organisation or corporation flushed with cash to reward the honourable men and women.
“What we have for them is a simple momento acknowledging their respective contributions to the nation and the Malaysian sporting scene. This is our little but most heartfelt way of saying that we remember them for their sacrifices and recognise their roles in building the nation. Most importantly, we are proud of them,’’ said George.
Former national hurdler Ishtiaq Mubarak’s wife R. Selvarani was present with her two daughters — Shaniz and Shakira — and thanked the organisers for honouring her late husband.
Several sports icons, due to other commitments, were not able to attend the programme but George said they would be visiting the athletes to present the momento.
George said they were keen to make the event an annual affair.
Athletics: Annie Chong, M. Jegathesan, M. Rajamani, Nashatar Singh, T. Krishnan, Asir Victor, Karu Selvaratnam, R. Subramaniam, A.Vaithilingam.
Football: Paul Mony Samuel, Peter Velappan, George Joseph, M. Chandran, Syed Ahmad, Shaharuddin Abdullah, Namat Abdullah, Wong Choon Wah, N. Thanabalan, M. Kuppan, M. Karathu, Clement Soosay, Chow Chee Keong.
Hockey: Freddy Vias, Mike Shepherdson, Aminulah Karim, R. Yogeswaran, C. Paramalingam, M. Doraisamy, Lawrence Van Huizen, G. Vijayanathan, K. Anandarajah.
Badminton: Teh Kew San, Tan Yee Khan, Ng Boon Bee, Yew Cheng Hoe, Tan Aik Huang, Tan Aik Mong
Cycling: Shaharudin Jaffar, Ng Joo Pong, N.A. Rosli.