PETALING JAYA: Former national 5000m champion C Sathasivam Sitheravellu remembers a time in 1974 when his teammate JV Jayan, lent him a pair of running spikes so that he could participate in a race in Kuantan, Pahang.
They were not ordinary spikes, he recalls, but an expensive Japanese brand.
“He asked me to use them and run the race, and I broke the national school (MSSM) record.
“I was shocked (that he lent me his spikes) as I was just a schoolboy. I was touched,” he told FMT.
Jayan, a former national decathlon legend, died yesterday evening. He was 74.
While the nation mourns him as a coach and gold and silver medalist, his former trainees and contemporaries remember him as a good “buddy” who was always humble despite achieving so much.
Jayan clinched the gold medal in the 1973 SEAP Games in Singapore. He also won silver in the three previous SEAP Games in Bangkok (1967), Myanmar (1969) and Kuala Lumpur (1971).
He retired from athletics in 1977 but continued as a chief athletics coach for Negeri Sembilan. He was also the Malaysian Amateur Athletics Federation (MAAU) chief coach from 1989 to 1994.
Sathasivam says Jayan, whom he described as the pride of Negeri Sembilan, was a strict and passionate coach, but also a caring one who even helped poor athletes secure jobs.
“Truly a great loss of an icon,” he said, adding that he used to meet Jayan regularly for breakfast or coffee. The last time they met up was two months ago.
Sprint legend Dr M Jegathesan said he and Jayan went back a long way, “to the heyday of Malaysian athletics”.
He said Jayan would always be remembered as a champion.
“For me, even more as a teammate, buddy, confidant, and motivator par excellence,” he said when contacted.
The three-time Olympian said Jayan was always there for those who needed someone to talk to.
“When people were down or dejected, he knew what to say to cheer them up.”
NA Baskaran, who was MAAU secretary in the 80s, said Jayan was a dedicated athlete and a responsible coach.
He added that Jayan had shown very good leadership skills.
“His approach and his preparation for each event were different, and that made him a complete coach.”