Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ex-national powerlifter Mariappan staring at bleak future

Former national paralympic powerlifter P. Mariappan is unemployed and receives a RM320 monthly subsidy from the welfare department to help make ends meet for his family of three school-going children and a disabled wife.
Former national paralympic powerlifter P. Mariappan is unemployed and receives a RM320 monthly subsidy from the welfare department to help make ends meet for his family of three school-going children and a disabled wife.

P. MARIAPPAN has dedicated almost 34 years of his life to powerlifting – and bringing glory to the country.

And the 56-year-old has seen many ups and downs in his life.
Life was good when he was a national powerlifter.

Afflicted with polio when he was three years old, Mariappan never let his physical disability stop him from working his way up to become a successful powerlifter.

The former world record holder competed in seven Paralympics – winning two bronze medals in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). He has also won a host of international titles.

He has made the nation proud by winning all over the world – bagging more than 70 medals – and given a hero’s welcome at the airport, gala receptions and awards in recognition of his feats.

Those were the good times as he was also showered with incentives and rewards for his success.
But the last couple of years have been mostly down.

The unemployed father of three school-going children is staring at a bleak future.

His life took a turn for the worst when he lost his permanent job with an American firm – Matheson PFC Group, which closed down 10 years ago. He was working as a mailroom assistant then and was paid RM16,000 as compensation for his 15 years’ service.

The National Sports Council (NSC) helped him out when he lost his job by offering him a full-time trainee scheme from 2007 to 2012.

But his services were then terminated and he now lives on a paltry RM320 monthly subsidy from the Welfare Department.

And all he has is a flat in Batu Caves, which he shares with disabled wife, B. Chandriga, who is also jobless and their three children – Tanuja, 17, Sreetharan, 15, and Thaarani, 9.

“I have no steady income to provide for my family. My children are still studying. I have to pay for their education, tuition, school bus, bills, daily home requirements and others,” said Mariappan, who is sad that the sacrifices of athletes like him seem to have been forgotten by the powers-that-be.

“I sometimes send them to school and tuition on my improvised three-wheel motorbike.
“How much longer can I go on without a fixed income?

“I have asked for help from various organisations and individuals on numerous occasions but none came forward.

“I feel like a shirt. It is nice when you first wear it. Then, when it is old and worn out ... and of no use, it is thrown away. It has no more value ... just like I am no longer of any use.”

All Mariappan is hoping for is some form of retirement benefits from the government.
“I’ve sacrificed everything for the country. But what is there for me now?” he asked.

His current financial difficulty has made him consider returning to competition.

“I’m still the top powerlifter in my weight category (below 80kg) in Malaysia today. I’m no quitter,” he said.
“I still train at a gymnasium near my house for free for three hours daily.

“I have not competed in any international events for the last two years. But I’m prepared to make a comeback if that is what it takes for me to help my family.”

But does he have to make a return - especially at this age?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ex-national footballer Fook Yoong passes away

PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian footballer Wong Fook Yoong has passed away due to an illness.

The 72-year-old Selangor winger died at the Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) on Tuesday.

Former national striker N. Thanabalan said that Fook Yoong played for the national team in the 1968 Merdeka Tournament, which Malaysia won after defeating Burma 3-0.

Fook Yoong also played for TPCA in the Selangor Division One.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bujang Taha Deserves Government's Recognition Say Two Sarawak Assistant Ministers

KUCHING, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- The plight of Sarawak's legendary bodybuilder Bujang Taha who passed away on Sunday is expected to be discussed at the Sarawak state assembly soon.

After his death on Sunday that some individuals in the government shared his plights and the hardship faced by the state star athlete.

Youth Development Assistant Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister's office (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman had both spoken about Bujang's plight, adding that they would bring it up to the state government to provide necessary assistance to Bujang's family.

The two-time Mr Asia, 77, passed away at 10.47pm on Sunday at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) due to acute asthma and complications from mouth and lung cancer.

The veteran muscleman was admitted to SGH medical ward about a week earlier for acute asthma attack, according to his daughter-in-law, Suzana Ibrahim.

Abdul Karim said the state cabinet will discuss the necessary assistance to be given to the family of the late Bujang whom he described as a great sportsman who brought glory to the state and country.

Meanwhile, Daud said he would discuss with Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to consider giving a monthly allowance to the family of the late Bujang.

"His (Bujang) demise is a great loss to the state and the country and there was no bodybuilding athlete from Sarawak who is as great as him," added Daud.

He said Bujang during his life time had never asked anything from the government despite his great contribution to the sport, state and nation.

Fellow national bodybuilding great Datuk Malek Noor, a six-time Mr Asia title winner was among those who paid tribute to the late Bujang and urged the state or nation to accord some form of recognition for his contributions and sacrifice.

Malek, representing the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb), was among more than 100 people who paid their last respects to the bodybuilding great.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bekas Jaguh Bina Badan Negara Bujang Taha Meninggal Dunia

KUCHING, 12 Okt (Bernama) -- Bekas jaguh bina badan negara Bujang Taha, 77, meninggal dunia pada pukul 10.47 malam ini di Hospital Umum Sarawak (HUS) kerana komplikasi kanser mulut, kanser paru-paru serta asma.

Menurut menantu perempuan beliau, Suzana Ibrahim, Allahyarham yang mendapatkan rawatan di HUS sejak seminggu lalu akibat asma, meninggal di sisi anak dan cucunya.

"Esok, bekas jaguh bina badan Datuk Malek Noor sudah beritahu hendak datang tengok bapa, tapi apakan daya bapa pergi dulu," katanya kepada Bernama di HUS.

Pada kemuncak kariernya, Bujang memenangi gelaran Mr Asia sebanyak empat kali iaitu pada tahun 1980, 1982, 1983 dan 1986 selain memenangi dua pingat emas pada Sukan SEA di Kuala Lumpur pada 1977 dan di Jakarta pada 1979.

Beliau pernah bertanding Mr Universe di Belgium pada 1982.

Two-time Mr Asia Bujang Taha dies

Two-time Mr Asia and one of Sarawak's best known bodybuilders, Bujang Taha, died last night at the Sarawak general hospital, reportedly due to complications brought about by mouth cancer and infection to his lungs.

The 77-year-old Bujang, who won the Mr Asia titles back-to-back in the bantamweight category in 1980 and 1981 died at 10.47pm, according to his daughter in-law Suzana Ibrahim.

His body was brought back to his house in Kampung Tanjong, Petra Jaya, prior to burial this morning.

Bujang was admitted to hospital last week for asthma.
“The family accepts his passing,” Suzana said.

Bujang, however, died without fulfilling his wish to see his long-time friend, Datuk Malek Noor.
Malek was delayed as he reportedly could only fly to Kuching today.

It was supposed to have been a reunion of sorts for the two decorated bodybuilders whom Bernama had described “were like brothers”.

News of Bujang's illness and admission into hospital went viral in the social media.
It was through postings in Facebook that Malek, the six-time Mr Asia in the heavyweight category, got to know that Bujang was ill.

Bujang first represented Sarawak in the Mr Malaysia competition in 1975 where he won in the Master category.

That same year, he was picked for the last South East Asian Peninsula (SEAP) Games in Bangkok where he won gold.

In the renamed South East Asian (SEA) Games four years later, Bujang won silver and in the next two years, he was unbeatable as Mr Asia in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Asian Amateur Championships.

Bujang, however, failed to make it a hat-trick of wins when he only finished a runner-up in the 1982 competition.

In the waning days of his international career, he won the silver medal at the 1983 Asian Games and bronze in the 1987 SEA Games in Jakarta before capping it with a silver two years later in the same Games which was held in Kuala Lumpur.

Three years ago, Bujang lost almost all his medals, trophies and sporting memorabilia he had collected over the years when a fire razed his home. – October 13, 2014.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bujang Taha Masuk Hospital Kerana Asma

KUCHING, 8 Okt (Bernama) -- Bekas jaguh bina badan negara Bujang Taha kini dirawat di Hospital Umum Sarawak (HUS) kerana menghidap asma.

Beliau mendapat rawatan sudah hampir seminggu dan dinasihati doktor agar kurang bercakap.

"Saya sudah dapatkan rawatan di HUS hampir seminggu. Semalam doktor tebuk untuk keluarkan air di bahagian paru-paru saya. Nak tengok?," katanya berjenaka dan menambah sejak dirawat, anak serta cucunya bergilir-gilir menjaga beliau.

Bujang, 77, merasa teruja kerana keadaanya turut disebarkan menerusi laman Facebook yang turut mendapat respons seorang lagi bekas jaguh bina badan negara, Datuk Malek Noor serta bekas Pengerusi Eksekutif Yayasan Kebajikan Atlet Kebangsaan (Yakeb) Datuk Paduka Mumtaz Jaafar yang juga bekas ratu pecut negara.

Bujang berkata Malik berjanji akan datang melawatnya.

Beliau berkata seorang lagi bekas atlet bina badan negara dari Sarawak iaitu Solomon Ismanto juga sedang dirawat di HUS.

Sempena perayaan Jubli Emas Kemerdekaan Sarawak baru-baru ini, Bujang diberi Pingat Terpuji Jubli Emas (P.T.E) bersama dua lagi bekas atlet negara kelahiran Sarawak iaitu Watson Nyambek (pelari pecut) dan Sapok Biki (tinju).

Pada kemuncak kariernya, Bujang memenangi gelaran Mr Asia sebanyak empat kali iaitu pada 1980, 1982, 1983 dan 1986 selain memenangi dua pingat emas pada Sukan SEA di Kuala Lumpur pada 1977 dan di Jakarta pada 1979.

Beliau pernah bertanding Mr Universe di Belgium pada 1982.