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. Here’s PART FOUR with special highlights on the greatest Malaysian athletes of the 90’s:
31) Rashid Sidek, Badminton
The ‘jaguh kampung’, along with Kok Keong, Yoke Meng, plus doubles teams Soon Kit-Beng Kiang and Razif-Jalani were instrumental in our 1992 Thomas Cup triumph, after a 25-year draught. In 1996, Rashid beat reigning world champ Haryanto Arbi at the Olympics, securing a bronze – our first men’s singles medal in the history of the Games. A year later, he was ranked World Number 1 by the International Badminton Federation(IBF, now BWF).
32) Foo Kok Keong, Badminton
In the scene from 1982 to 1994, Kok Keong started winning major matches in the late ‘80s. He was already 29 when he played for Malaysia at the 1992 Thomas Cup, where he kept the team in the lead by beating Alan Budi Kusuma with a straight set of 15-6, 15-12 – we won the tournament after defeating Indonesia 3-2. The former national shuttler was known for his signature dive defensive shots.
33) Watson Nyambek, Athletics
In 1995, Miri-born Watson smashed the Flying Doctor’s 29-year-old 100m national record of 10.38s with his own 10.31s. Three years later, at the pre-Commonwealth Games, he further shaved it down to 10.30s – the national record stood unbeaten for 18 years! Affectionally known as the ‘Flying Dayak’, Watson also grabbed a silver at the 1998 Asian Athletics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Between 1998-2002, the two-time Olympian was trained by former national sprinter, Mumtaz Jaafar.
34) Azman Adnan, Football
The deadly striker played for a few teams, but it was his time with the Red Giants that was most exciting. Selangor’s high-profile investment of Azman was worth it; he contributed to 147 goals between 1993 and 1998, and was part of the team that won the Malaysia Cup from 1995-1997. Often described as the next Mokhtar Dahari, Azman played for the national team at the 1996 Tiger Cup; we lost to Thailand but we put up a good fight.
35) Nur Herman Majid, Athletics
The former Southeast Asian 100m hurdles king has never failed to contribute a gold medal at every SEA Games from 1991 to 2001. The Olympian also shone on the Asian stage, winning gold at the 1991 Asian Athletics Championships and bronze at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima. His 13.73s national record set at the latter event was only recently broken by Sabahan Rayzam Shah (13.67s).
36) Shanti Govindasamy, Athletics
This 50-year-old dash queen is still Malaysia’s fastest woman; her national record for the 100m (11.50s) and 200m (23.37s) events still stand, although the former was technically shattered by Zaidatul Husniah Zulkifli’s unrecognised 11.36 last March. Upon her comeback in 1997, Shanti picked up two gold and a silver at the 1997 SEA Games as well as a bronze at the Asian Athletics in Fukuoka in 1998. Before making her mark in athletics, she was a national hockey player.
37) Alex Lim Keng Liat, Swimming
Dubbed the ‘Mighty Mouse’, this Sabahan left Sandakan to study and train at Florida’s Bolles High School, which has one of the best athletic programmes in the U.S. His time there paid off; Alex is a three-time Olympian, with achievements in Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and SEA Games (14 gold from 1997-2005). Alex is the only Malaysian swimmer to have won a gold at an Asian Games, and our first swimmer to make it to the Commonwealth Games podium.
38) Mariappan Perumal, Powerlifting
Melakan athlete Mariappan made his senior international debut at the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation Games in 1981, and since then, has collected more than 50 medals. Although the powerlifter received little support during his career, he kept on training and competing for the country at various global and regional competitions in the ‘90s and 2000s, including the Paralympic Games, where he won two bronze medals (in 1988 and 1992).
39) Ramachandran Murusamy, Athletics
To fans of long-distance runs, M. Ramachandran needs no introduction. After two silver medals at the 1989 SEA Games, he had a couple of disappointing years on the tracks. Subsequent guidance from Australian coach Tony Benson resulted in back-to-back SEA Games gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m events. In 1994, he set a national record of 14:06:84 in the 5,000m, which still stands today.
40) Sapok Biki, Boxing
His win at the 1998 Commonwealth Games on home soil made this Sarawakian an overnight household name… and it helped popularised the Royal Ranger Regiment’s motto, ‘agi idup, agi ngelaban’ (fight to the death). The then 24-year-old defeated four-time African champion boxer Mosses Kinyua in the light flyweight class, contributing to Malaysia’s first boxing gold in the history of the Games. Sapok’s also the only national boxer to ever reach the Olympics stage.
Sources: nusa-mahsuri.com, www.badminton-information.com, english.astroawani.com, www.badminton-information.com, liipohmali.blogspot.my, www.thestar.com.my, wheregot.blogspot.my, www.badminton-information.com, yakeb.org.my, www.arkib.gov.my, www.adriansprints.com, cilisos.my, flyinghigh16.blogspot.my, www.malaysiandigest.com, www.fourfourtwo.com, www.thestar.com.my, www.utusan.com.my, ww1.utusan.com.my, www.kedahnews.com, www.bharian.com.my, www.astroawani.com.my, my-indiansportsheroes.blogspot.my, archive.is, www.thestar.com.my, www.justonsports.com, ibswimteam.blogspot.my, yakeb.org.my, www.paralympic.org, www.themalaymailonline.com.my, hype.my, olahragawanmramachandran.blogspot.my, www.kosmo.com.my, rameshon-m.blogspot.my, en.wikipedia.org