As the nation turns 60, we take a look at the sporting greats who made it to the headlines for their outstanding achievements, commitment and passion for the game. We’ve given you the low down on athletes in the 70’s, this time around, we’re highlighting the greatest Malaysian athletes in the 80’s; read on for more:
21) Zaiton Othman, Athletics
The ‘Iron Lady’ of Malaysian athletics has won multiple medals at numerous SEA Games and Asian Track & Field Championships; in addition, she secured the 4th placement at the Asian Games in ‘82. Until recently at the 2017 SEA Games, her national heptathlon record remained unbroken since the 1981 SEA Games; that’s 36 years! The gruelling heptathlon consists of seven events: 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin and the 800m.
22) Mumtaz Begum Jaafar, Athletics
1981 was Mumtaz’s year. The sprinter won the women’s 100m at the 1981 Manila SEA Games, plus the 4x100m and 4x400m (with It squad Zaiton Othman, V. Angamah and Saik Oik Cum) and she was named Sportswoman of the Year. Mumtaz retired after a thigh injury and several disappointing outings; however, she never truly left, taking up administrative postings in sports. She’s currently the vice president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).
23) Malek Noor, Bodybuilding
Heavyweight bodybuilder Malek was crowned Mr Asia, Mr ASEAN and Mr Malaysia six, four and six times respectively, before retiring in the early 90s. A household name (seriously, who doesn’t know this man?), he then went into acting and even singing before becoming a fitness entrepreneur. Malek was chairman of the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb).
24) Vasugi Maruthamuthu, Taekwondo
Had taekwondo been considered as a full medal sport at the 1988 Olympics, Malaysia would have captured our very first medal in the history of the sporting event, thanks to Vasugi’s efforts on the mat. Alas, since it was regarded as a demonstration sport, the bronze she won was not included in the official tally. The fighter is also a three-time SEA Games medallist.
25) Adnan Saidin, Sepak takraw
You wouldn’t want to sit in the front row when Adnan played; known as ‘Raja Libas’, his spikes have knocked out a few teeth… and opponents! Trained by takraw legend Abdul Rahman Mohd Noor, Adnan was part of the team that clinched the gold medal at consecutive SEA Games between 1979 and 1985. His sweetest personal win was at the MAS-Utusan Malaysia-RTM 1986 Championship, where he was awarded the ‘King of Asian Sepak Takraw’ title after helping the national team beat arch rivals Thailand.
26) Kumaresan Murugayan, Cycling
Making his SEA Games debut in 1985, Kumaresan went on to win 21 medals, nine of which are gold. At the ‘89 Kuala Lumpur edition, the former national cyclist claimed three gold and set a SEA Games record too. Johor-lad Kumarasen also represented Malaysia at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics.
27) Faiznur Miskin, Rhythmic Gymnastics
The 15th SEA Games meant a great deal for many Malaysian athletes as they competed in front of their home crowd, but it must have been a whole other level for Faiznur, as it was the first time rhythmic gymnastics was introduced to the biennial sports event. The then 14-year-old single-handedly made a clean sweep, winning five gold medals. While her career was short-lived, she’s often heralded as the national pioneer in this field.
28) Jeffrey Ong, Swimming
The Olympian started swimming for his school, Penang, and then the country, making the podium at four consecutive SEA Games from 1987 to 1993, the Asian Swimming Championships, and the 1990 Asian Games, where he collected a silver medal. At the 1991 World Student Games in Sheffield, the medium- and long-distance swimmer clocked in the nation’s best record for 1,500m freestyle; his *15:23:61s remains unchallenged.
29) Rosman Alwi, Track cycling
Trained by his late father, national coach Alwi Ahmad, this two-time Olympian has a few bittersweet memories as a national track cyclist. At the 1981 SEA Games, he failed a urine test and was subsequently banned for two years. At the height of his career in the mid ‘80s, Rosman aka ‘Turtle Head’ became a SEA Games and Asian Cycling Championships gold medallist. His biggest regret? Not winning a gold medal at the 1989 SEA Games, when it was held on home soil, he shares with The Star.
30) Zainal Abidin Hassan, Football
A deadly striker, Zainal loved switching sides, playing alternately for Selangor and Pahang between 1980 and 1999. In 1985, he left the Elephants for the Red Giants, so that he could play with the legend himself, SuperMokh. Two years later, when Dollah Salleh transferred to Selangor from Johor, footie fans here witnessed one of the most feared striking partnerships on the field. Together, they helped the state win back-to-back Malaysia Cups, and cemented the country’s 1989 SEA Games campaign for football gold. Zainal currently coaches Penang FA.
Sources: level-field.blogspot.my, ms.wikipedia.org, www.pressreader.com, thedandelions.wordpress.com, ww1.utusan.com.my, www.star2.com, thedandelions.wordpress.com, olympic.org.my, thesportsmuseum.blogspot.my, www.thestar.com.my, leaderonomics.com, www.thesukan.com, chedinsphere.blogspot.my, stl.my, www.utusan.com.my, www.facebook.com, en.wikipedia.org, my.asiatatler.com, www.swimmersdaily.com, id.wikipedia.org, www.astroawani.com, www.fourfourtwo.com, www.goal.com, www.espnfc.com,