It’ll be a long wait for our next sporting hero

Source: It’ll be a long wait for our next sporting hero

Form is temporary while class is permanent. This cliche still holds water.

Similarly, there are personalities in Malaysia and the world over who are in a class of their own, and who are irreplaceable.

In Malaysian football, there is no one to fill the boots of the charismatic Mokhtar Dahari. He was a class act.

Mokhtar Dahari - NSTP file pic

The dazzling speed, close control and mesmerising runs of Supermokh were a joy to watch.

The goal he scored against the England B team at Stadium Merdeka in 1978 was a moment to savour.

The void left by Mokhtar is a reflection of the pathetic standard of Malaysian football now.

In athletics, there was Mani Jegathesan. Nicknamed the Flying Doctor, he represented Malaysia at three Olympic Games.

Motivated and driven by passion, pride and glory for the nation, he qualified for two 200m semifinals.

Jegathesan too has been a tough act to follow. The golden era of Malaysian athletics is yet to be relived.

In boxing, there is no one who has held centrestage and captured the imagination of the masses like Muhammad Ali.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Ali was synonymous with boxing, whether you loved him or loathed him.

He was larger than life, a person known even in the remotest of places. He was even more popular and famous than the president of the United States.

Till today, boxing hasn’t found a pugilist to match his charismatic and extroverted personality.

Boxing is languishing in the doldrums, looking for someone to give it a kiss of life.

Datuk Lee Chong Wei has graced the badminton courts for the past decade and a half.

 

Datuk Lee Chong Wei - NSTP/YAZIT RAZALI
Datuk Lee Chong Wei – NSTP/YAZIT RAZALI

He captivated fans in Malaysia and the world with his scintillating display. He was an icon, a role model, and a disciplined and dedicated player.

There is no one as yet in Malaysia to take over the mantle since his retirement.

The retirement of Usain Bolt created a vacuum in the athletics arena. Just like Ali, he mesmerised the world with his charming personality.

Bolt brought a new dimension to athletics. His popularity was immense. He was a tough act to replicate.

Golf has seen its popularity wane since the days of Tiger Woods.

The period when Woods ruled the golfing greens, swinging the golf club like a magic wand, is long over.

The gusto and oomph that accompanied his play brought the crowd to a frenzy. Woods had an aura of invincibility, and drew cult status.

Finally, our queen of squash, Datuk Nicol David, is another sporting great that Malaysia will find hard to replace.

She was the world No 1 for a record 112 months and the world champion eight times. Nicol won every honour that squash offered.

Just like Lee, there will never be another sportsperson in the mould of Nicol to glorify Malaysia globally for a long time.

Great sporting personalities are rare and few, just like diamonds, and are hard to come by.

They leave a legacy, with a benchmark that is set of high standards, and are hard to emulate.

THIAGARAJAN MATHIAPARANAM
Klang, Selangor

Scroll to Top