Saturday, October 31, 2015

Memories of Ampang Park

Memories of Ampang Park by Tony Mariadass

“Ampang Park shopping complex, holds fond memories for me for as a schoolboy, it was my playground.
I had the pleasure of seeing the complex – the first shopping complex in Malaysia – being built and officially opening its doors in 1973.
I was in Form Three then and the very next year, I moved to about fifteen minutes’ walk from the complex, where my late father was the steward for a guest house in Jalan Freeman (now Jalan Ampang Hilir).
While there was a bus which went to Ampang Hilir once every hour, the last bus was at 7pm and if for any reason I missed that bus, I had to get down in front of Ampang Park and walk along Circular Road (later Jalan Pekeliling and now Tun Razak) to reach home.
And sometimes after school in St John Institution, my friend and football teammate Anuar Che Wan, who also stayed at Ampang Hilir, would rush after school at 1.20pm to catch the 1.30pm bus and many a time missed it.
So we took the bus to Ampang Park and walked home. It happened more often than not and we would end up at the Complex to get some cool air and do some window shopping besides looking at the ‘scenes’ or what we used to call ‘cuci mata’, before heading home.
We were students and did not have money to spend at the complex. Occasionally we would have saved money to get an ice-cream at the ice-cream parlour on the ground floor.
The Fitzpatrick’s supermarket on the ground floor was another favourite place of ours we would look at the grocery displayed and occasionally bought a bun or sweet before we headed home.
On weekends, Ampang Complex would be our playground in the mornings and evenings, we would be playing football in our neighbourhood.
During the weekends, we would cycle to the complex and would chain our bicycles at the back and many a time had problems with the security guards who refused to allow us to leave our bicycles at bays meant for motorcycles.
Once in a while we would watch a movie at the complex.
Traffic then was a breeze then and it was just two single roads in front of Ampang Park. Only on weekends, the traffic got heavier as almost the whole town converged to the complex which was a hit then.
I and my friend Anuar and with a few more friends from the neighbourhood had spent many hours combing the four-storey building.
Another favourite spot of ours was the playground on the rooftop where the dodgem bumper cars was our favourite. Again it was only in rare occasions we had enough money to ride on it. But we spent hours just watching the ‘rich kids’ having fun for hours.
Having been hooked to Ampang Park and wanting to come to the complex as a ‘real patron’ I decided to organise a farewell do for my classmates of 1975 after our final Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) paper in November.
We managed to get about ten of us interested and each had to fork out about RM20 (which was big money then) for a night out at the rooftop Beer Garden.
It was our first taste of beer for most of us and we arrived early to enjoy the ‘Happy Hour ‘prices.
It was a night to remember as we stayed late, listened to the resident band and stayed over at a friend’s father shop house along Jalan Silang.
Till today, we talk about it and will definitely be the main topic as about 20 classmates of mine meet next Friday for 40 year reunion with some of our teachers too.
After leaving school and doing my form six in St John’s, but through night classes under the Further Education Classes (FEC), I had to look for a job to pay for my school fees.
As it happened I found a job as a despatch clerk with the Austrian Trade Commission which was located on Persiaran Hampshire, which was five minutes away from Ampang Park.
I worked there for a year and spend more time in Ampang Park, this time with a salary, I could buy clothings, shop at the supermarket and visit the many outlets.
Come Christmas, I bought all my gifts from the complex.
Ampang Park had a wide range offers in Malay fashion, every day shopping needs like textiles, shoes and handbags, groceries, toiletries and household products, as well as banking, post office, travel, and currency exchange services. It had photographic stores with the latest cameras and accessories, beauty and hair salons offering a range of attractive styles and spa services to suit every budget.
It was also a food-haven with renowned food and beverage outlets, serving delicious local and international cuisine. It was a one-stop outlet.
How can I forget the MacDonalds where I spent many hours.
But sadly after moving out of the area, I had hardly revisited it, especially with so many complexes springing up.
But each time I pass Ampang Park, memories will come flooding back, especially how I grew up there as a schoolboy and teenager.
With news that the iconic Ampang Park mall will be demolished for the planned underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, is indeed sad.
Memories will be erased or will only be remembered as memories without the building standing there to remind the good times for those who grew up with it.
Can it be saved for nostalgic reasons? Unlikely as more often than not in the name of development many historical and iconic sites have had to make way.
Whatever happens, Ampang Park will be etched in my memory for as long as I live.”

Passion see Mahendran relishing hockey

ICON: M.Mahendran

By Tony Mariadass
Pictures by: Azneal Ishak

M. Mahendran is 68-years-old but he is actively involved in the game of hockey all his life.
Infact, Mahendran is the only player from the famed 1975 World Cup squad who reached the semi-finals when Malaysia hosted the tournament, who is still active in the game.
The truth of the matter is that Mahendran has been involved in the game since he was introduced to the sport as a seven year-old by his cousins in Penang.
“The irony was that my cousins were all ladies. They were from the famous hockey family of Balram – sisters Sankuntala, Sulochena and Molly – who were all national players then, took me to their training session and introduced me to the game,” recalled Mahendran of how he got involved in the sport.
And Mahendran who comes a family of 10 – six boys and four girls – also saw his brothers Davendran, Subramaniam, Surendran, Suriaprakash and nephew Edwin Lambert – all represent the nation.
“I started to play for my school – Francis Light School in Datuk Keramat in Penang – from the age of seven.
“And I am still at it because of the passion for the game. I really do not know what I will do without hockey,” said Mahendran who hails from Kedah.
Having represented his school and state at the national schools tournament, Mahendran made his debut with the senior team when he moved back to Kedah as a 16-year-old.
From Kedah he came to Selangor and was representing Police when he was recruited by Tan Sri P. Alagendra as clerk. He played for Police for four years before turning out for Selangor.
Mahendran made his national team in 1967 when he played in the Pre-Olympics tournament but did not make the Mexico Olympics as he was injured.
But the disappointment only saw him double his efforts to make up for the setback and went on to play in two Olympics – Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976.
The 1972 and 1976 Games can be seen as a tale of two eras. The 1972 hockey competition marked the end of the game played on grass while 1976 was the start of the artificial age. And Malaysia’s eighth place finish in both editions ranks as their best in the Olympics.
For Mahendran, the mercurial forward, the Munich 1972 will also be best remembered for two other reasons. Firstly, he ended up as the top scorer for the first, and only, time in the Olympics. And secondly, that performance earned hockey its first and only Sportsman of the Year award.
Mahendran also said his most memorable at the Munich Games was the opening match where he scored all three goals in the 3-1 win over Uganda.
“I scored a total of eight goals and was the top scorer of the tournament. I’m proud of the feat as no other Malaysian has been able to match it. The Munich Games were full of incident and I’m lucky to have been part of history. Of course the icing on the cake was the sportsman award the following year.
“It was a tremendous boost for the whole team and I’m proud that we finished in the top eight in the two Olympics I played in,” he said.
Munich was full of drama and tragedy as several Israeli athletes were taken hostage and killed by the Palestinian group Black September.
Mahendran was also a member of the World Cup squads in 1973 Amsterdam, 1975 in Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia’s best ever performance in international hockey and 1978 in Buenos Aires.
Mahendran also represented the nation in two Asian Games – 1970 Bangkok and 1974 Teheran.

1974 Tehran Asian Games bronze medal winning team:

Standing from left:Zainal, Ramakrishnan, late Sultan Azlan Shah, Mohd Azraai, Sri Shan, KT Rajan, K. Balasingam, Padmarajahthan, Mohd Sidek, Tan Sri Anwar, Palanisamy
Seated from left: Choon Hin, Ow, Len Oliverio, Brian, Mahendran, Palanisamy, Savinder

He has played in numerous Seap/Sea Games from 1967 and his final appearance in the 1989 Games in Kuala Lumpur.
He has distinction of having capped 179 times for the nation, when earning a cap meant playing a full game and when the game did not have rolling substitutions.
“It has been a long road in the game, but my love for the game is still the same as when I first took up the game,” said Mahendran who also played football and cricket when in school.
After his playing days, Mahendran continued his ties with hockey as a coach having coached the national juniors (1994/1995), Malaysian B team (1987/88) and national team from 1989-1991.
Mahendran also had ventured out of Malaysia to coach where he had coached the Indonesian national team for Sea Games from 1987 to 1997 and Thailand for the Asian Games in 1998.
He also coached Sarawak from 2009 to 2004 before he returned to Penang, thanks to Datuk Ow Soon Kooi, who was the president of Penang Hockey Association then.
“Ow and I go a long way back. When he came to the national team, I was his big brother and guided him.”
Ow a former national skipper had the opportunity to play with some of the elite players like Khairuddin Zainal, N. Sri Shanmuganathan, A. Francis, S. Balasingam, Mahendran, Wong Choon Hin, R. Ramakrishnan, R. Pathmarajah, Poon Fook Loke, N. Palanisamy and Mohamed Azraai Zain, who were household names after their fourth place finish at the 1975 World Cup.
“Ow is equally passionate for the game and wanted to give back to the game and asked me to return to Penang and play a role in the development of the game in Penang.
“It is the best thing that happened because working with the young kids has the utmost satisfaction,” said Mahendran who has seen many players make their grade under him over the years.
Currently he is the 1MAS development programme coach in Penang and also handles a team of Indian boys from Kampung Kuil in Bertam.
Ow was instrumental in Mahendran to coach these young kids three times a week which has a group of 60 of them.
Owing to the poor state of artificial turf at the Bertam Sports Complex where pleas to rectify it has fallen on deaf ears for many years and is still in a deplorable state, Mahendran trains the boys on a concrete court on Tuesdays and Thursdays and take them to train at the Sungei Petani artificial turf on Sunday.
Ow had donated a van which Mahendran uses to ferry the players from Bertam to Sungei Petani – having to make two trips (half an hour each trip from Bertam – and the assistance of teachers and parents who also ferry the players in their cars.
Ow had also set up a clubhouse where it is used as a gym and also for players to come and study and get tuition.
“I hope I will be able to see a few players from this Group make the national team soon. Kampung Kuil is known as a notorious area, but the involvement of the youth from here in the hockey programme has seen kept them out of trouble and built good character for a brighter future. Some players from his programme have even found places in colleges and universities.”
Mahendran is a man of multi-talent. He used to commentate on hockey games with Astro during the Junior World Cup tournament when Malaysia hosted in 1989.
Mahendran said he hoped that more ex-internationals are roped in to assist in development, especially with schools.
“The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) and State Associations must make an earnest effort to get the ex-internationals involved in the game and probably give them some remunerations to cover their petrol and pocket money. Many of them are waiting to assist in development, but have not been approached,” said Mahendran who is currently playing in 2015 Grand Masters Hockey Asia Cup tournament at the Pantai Hockey Stadium which ends tomorrow (Sunday).
Besides Mahendran among the 1975 World Cup players playing in the tournament, are Datuk Poon Fook Loke and R. Pathmarajah.
The biennial masters tournament hosted by the Sultan Ahmad Shah Veteran Hockey Association involves players age of 60 years and has defending champion Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia fighting for honours.
Beside the tournament, the 29th Pacific Rim International Masters Hockey, involving six teams — Australia A and B, Scotland, England, Europe-based team Alliance International Hockey Club and newcomers Egypt is ongoing at the Ministry of Education’s Hockey pitch.
For the record, Malaysia won the first edition of the Grand Masters Hockey Asia Cup Tournament in Singapore in 2011 before Japan emerged champion in Hong Kong, two years later.
Mahendran was indeed a delight to watch in this tournament and despite his age, he is fit and his deft touches has not deserted him.

Indeed Mahendran has hockey in his blood and salutations are in order for his long standing association and contribution to the game.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Schools the graveyard of sports?


Level Field

 (H) Schools the graveyard of sports?

It is sad that efforts are not being made to get schoolchildren to watch notable ex-internationals in action whenever they compete in tournaments.
It is already disheartening that the children of this era hardly know about our ex-internationals of various sports who were household names.
The 2015 Grand Masters Hockey Asia Cup tournament is being held at the Pantai Hockey Stadium and ends on Sunday.
The biennial affair is hosted by the Sultan Ahmad Shah Veteran Hockey Association, involves players aged 60 and has defending champion Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Malaysia competing.
Besides this tournament, the 29th Pacific Rim International Masters Hockey involving six teams — Australia A and B, Scotland, England, Europe-based team Alliance International Hockey Club and newcomers Egypt — is going on in the adjacent pitch that belongs to the Ministry of Education.
Among the notable players in action are 1975 World Cup players Datuk Poon Fook Loke, R. Pathmarajah and M. Mahendran, others like Avtar Singh Gill, Awtar Singh Grewal, Kali Kavandan and N. Dharmasegaran, to name but a few, and top former nationals from other countries.
What a treat it would be for schoolchildren to watch these icons in action. They may be slower but their skills and game tactics are still a delight to watch.
Other than the families of the competing team members, there have been few spectators at the stadium since the tournament began on Tuesday.
Even more discouraging is the fact that the tournament does not have any ‘ball boys’.
For a tournament sanctioned by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) and FIH to have overlooked ball boys, especially since it is a veteran’s tournament, is indeed baffling.
To see the veterans having to pick up the balls was a sad sight. The organisers could have got children from the nearby schools who play hockey or even state or national junior players to come on board as ball boys.
Or they could have invited students from Universiti Malaya or the Language Institute, which is just a stone’s throw from the venue.
Not only would watching some vintage hockey be exciting for the young people but they could learn a thing or two from these senior and vastly experienced players. Mingling with these icons would do wonders for these youngsters.
Talking about schools, I remember universities being regarded as the ‘graveyard of sports’ those days.
But today, sports has become an integral part of the university system. There are inter-university games, inter-college and higher learning institution games and inter-university leagues for football, hockey, squash and bowling, among others.
University students also compete in the Asean and World Universities Games and many of our national athletes are products of the universities.
Sadly, schools, which were the nursery for sports in the country, are slowly but surely losing their relevance.
Yes, we have national sports schools and sports excellence schools in the various states while the Ministry of Education has leagues for football and some other sports. True, the Malaysian Schools Sports Council has programmes for 24 sports for Under-12, Under-15 and Under-18. However, these only benefit a select group of students.
Efforts have to be made to build a bigger base and to cater for late bloomers, and this can only be achieved through mass participation at national schools, something that is slowly disappearing.
Even the 1 student 1 sport programme has its shortcomings with students not allowed to participate in the sport of their choice. Or there is no qualified teacher to groom them and the hours dedicated to sports activity are limited.
Gone are the days when we had inter-class and inter-house games before the school team was selected for various sports. The school athletics and swimming meets were grand affairs.
Teachers, who were a dedicated lot, played a key role in the development of sports in schools.
Without any discrimination intended, today, almost 70% of school teachers are women and expecting them to chart the future of Malaysian sports is probably asking for the impossible.
This is where the ex-internationals come in. Ex-international associations for the various sports and even the association for Olympians could get in touch with the Ministry of Education or the Malaysian Schools Sports Council to offer their services instead of just being interested in organising overseas trips and playing friendly matches.
Of course, these ex-internationals need to be remunerated for their time and effort.
National and state sports associations should get ex-internationals on board and involve them in various capacity – from officials to coaches at grassroots level.
Another key point that needs mentioning are the school fields. Most of them, especially in the cities, have been reduced to mere plots, no thanks to development. Some schools don’t even have a field or the one they have is in a pathetic state.
A concerted effort has to be made to resolve the sports woes of schools, especially in terms of facilities, but more importantly, the facilities have to be fully utilised.
So, before it is too late and we lose a generation of icons without having tapped their vast experience and talent, let’s quickly engage them.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
Twitter: @tmariadass​​

Friday, October 23, 2015

Even the Philippines are puzzled


Level Field

It was an embarrassing trip to the Philippines last week for me as Malaysian football’s current poor standing kept cropping up in conversations.
I was in Bacolod City – not only the Land of Smiles but also a football city – for a week and having had close ties with the football circle there for almost 25 years, I was bombarded with questions over Malaysia’s slide in ranking.
The Philippines is way above Malaysia in FIFA ranking, placed 134 to our 171!
In 1993, Malaysia was ranked 79 while the Philippines was 163.
In current Asian ranking, the Philippines is 18 and Malaysia 32. In between are Thailand (20), Vietnam (22), Singapore (27), Myanmar (29) and Timor Leste (31).
Asia’s top-ranked team is Iran followed by South Korea, Japan and Australia.
“What’s wrong with Malaysian football? Football is the No 1 sport in your country unlike in Philippines where basketball is the top sport. Besides, Malaysia has a strong tradition in the game and went professional long before we did,” remarked former Philippines FA and Negros Occidental Football Association president Ricardo Tan.
I was lost for an answer, though I did say we were going through a rough patch and will rise again.
“But how can your ranking drop so badly? I remember when a club side (The Malay Mail FC) could beat the Philippines national team. What has happened?” Tan kept asking.
As much as I tried to explain the Malaysian football situation back home, he kept shaking his head in disbelief.
It was no different with many other football officials and supporters of the Malaysian team. “I cannot believe what is happening to Malaysia. They were my favourite team. They had so many talented players,” said Joemarie Abello, a liaison officer for the Malaysian team when they played in the 2005 SEA Games in Bacolod.
The Malay Mail FC, who have had ties with Philippines football since 1991, defeated their national team 1-0 in the inaugural President’s Cup that year.
The newspaper team competed as the Kuala Lumpur FA Dunhill League champion in 1991 after former FA of Malaysia secretary, Datuk Paul Mony, passed on an invitation from the Philippines FA to the club team.

The city team with a few guest players from the Kuala Lumpur FA back-up team, like Nazim Din, the late Tommy Chong Kok Min, Badrul Isham Jalil, the late R. Ramachandran and Badrulsham Ahmad, reached the final only to lose to Chinese Taipei in a penalty shoot-out.
En route to the finals, the Malay Mail FC defeated the Cambodian and Philippines national teams.
Then, in a friendly match in Kuala Lumpur, when the Philippines national team had come down for a ten-day training-cum-practice match stint in preparation for the SEA Games, the Malay Mail FC defeated the visitors 4-2.
In the SEA Games in Manila in 1991, the Malaysian national team, coached by Rahim Abdullah and Bakri Ibni, had the dubious honour of losing by a solitary goal scored by Norman Fegideros, who became an overnight national hero. It is worth noting that the Philippines team was coached by former Kuala Lumpur coach, German Eckhard Krautzun. Malaysia were eliminated from a semi-final berth while the Philippines qualified for the semi-finals and lost to finish fourth.
Many had dismissed that defeat as one of those things in football, but looking back, maybe that was an early sign of the fate of Malaysian football in the future.
Of course, Philippines have suddenly emerged as a football power in Asean, thanks to their policy to bring back players from overseas who are of mixed parentage in the last ten years.
The policy has indeed proved very successful since they introduced the likes of English-Filipino brothers James and Phil Younghusband in the 2006 SEA Games.
Now, half the team comprises players of mixed-parentage from Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Austria, China, Iran, Germany and Denmark.
When I pointed out that the “imported” players had strengthened the current Philippines team, Tan said: “Yes, we had to do it because we are of one race – Filipinos. But Malaysia has the advantage of several races, mixed parentage among these races, various ethnic groups. Malaysia does not have to import players. They have all of them in Malaysia. It is a matter of looking for them.”
Tan has a point there, which, of course, has been mentioned many times before but completely ignored by the football authorities.
The Malaysian football team is not a Truly Malaysia team.
These days, we too have several players of mixed parentage from abroad. The question is, were they picked for their talent or because they look Caucasian and are better built? Are we settling for second or third-rated players out of sheer desperation?
Surely, from Malaysia’s close to 30 million people, we can find 100 good footballers with the talent and right attitude?
Let us start combing Malaysia for talent that is surely waiting to be found and nurtured and save us the embarrassment of being looked down on by the rest of Asean.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than
three decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at
Twitter: @tmariadass​​

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tunku Imran: sporting prince and innovator

ICON: Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar

By Tony Mariadass
Pictures by: Mohd Firdaus Abdul Latif

Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar believes in being first in whatever he does and has carved a niche at it.
And it is little surprise for Tunku Imran born on 21st March 1948 is and Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, and that's pretty much how those born under this sign see themselves: first.
Aries are the leaders of the pack, first in line to get things going – an initiator.
Born in 1948, it is the Year of the Rat, the first in the Chinese zodiac cycle of 12 zodiac animals. 
He is known to be with strong intuition and quick response, always easily adapt himself to a new environment. With rich imaginations and sharp observation, Rats can take advantage of various opportunities well. Rats have strong curiosity, so they tend to try their hands at anything, and they can deal with it skilfully.
March 21 is also the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere — also known as the vernal equinox.
“My birthdate and year basically sums me up and I have always lived up to it. Whatever I do, I am an innovator and want to emerge tops,” said the 67-year-old second son of Tuanku Jaafar Tuanku Abdul Rahman, the tenth Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia and the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan. Malaysia’s first King Tuanku Abdul Rahman was Tunku Imran’s grandfather.  
Indeed, Tunku Imran has a long history with sports in Malaysia which dates back from the 70s till now.
He is currently the president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia  (OCM) – a position he has been at the helm for 17 years – and was elected for another two years in the recent elections which he said will be his last term.
He may be of royal blood, but it is the sports blood which has seen him give so much for Malaysian sports and taken it to great frontiers.
“My sports background stems from the fact that I was in a boarding school in King’s School in Canterbury from 1956 to 1966 and later at Nottingham University (1967-70) before finishing off at Gray’s Inn (an honours Law graduate in 1970 before being called to the Bar at Gray’s in 1971),” said Tunku Imran.
“I was involved in virtually all sports – rugby, hockey, cricket, squash, tennis, badminton and athletics – during my time in England.
“But during my later years, I was more actively involved in squash and cricket.”
While playing cricket he saw his schoolmate David Gowers go onto captain England in Test matches.
Tunku Imran having been England for such a long time is also known to his close friends as Pete.
When Tunku Imran returned to Malaysia in 1971, he became a successful entrepreneur and but sports was still very much part of his life.
He represented Malaysia on a cricket tour in 1971 and was the captain of the Selangor Club cricket team.
In 1974 he formed the Federal Territory Cricket Association and was the Malaysian Cricket Association president in 1991 to 2011 and patron from 2011.
Tunku Imran best remembers batting with the great Gary Sobers in 1984 during the Selangor Club centennial celebration match.
Sir Garfield (Gary) Sobers, the great West Indian cricket all-rounder, was and remains Tunku Imran’s role model.
“He’s such a great human being. Despite his outstanding talent, he is such a humble and humane person.”
In parallel, he formed the Squash Racket Association of Malaysia (SRAM) in 1972 and was the first secretary of the association.
Tunku Imran was the first national squash champion in 1973.
“Many people said that I formed SRAM to organise the national championship and win it. The truth of the matter was I was seeded fifth and worked hard for my victory,” said Tunku Imran with his hearty laugh.
Tunku Imran was SRAM president from 1978 to 1989 before he became the World Squash Federation president (1989-1996) and Emeritus President of the world body from 1996-2002 and patron from 2002.
It was during his tenure as the world body president that squash made the first bid to be included in the Olympics for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1994, but was told that the ‘bus was full’.
Tunku Imran an advocator of development and innovation was also responsible for the rise of squash in the country, with the first junior development programme in the 80s when Chris Clarke was hired to head the programme.
Through the programme saw Malaysia produce the first junior world champion in 1996 when Ong Beng Hee won, followed Nicol David.
Tunku Imran is indeed a man of firsts for he was the one who presented the paper on the Malaysia Games (SUKMA) – a youth Games – which became a reality and was the chairman of the first Games in 1986.
Similarly, he is the founder chairman of the Foundation for Malaysian Sporting Excellence (SportExcel) (from 1991) – a Foundation for supporting elite junior athletes – which has produced many champions in various sports.
Tunku Imran’s first are many which include playing a key role in team which secured the 1998 Commonwealth Games to be held in Kuala Lumpur and was the director of Sukom 98’ Bhd Bhd (Organising Committee of the XVI Commonwealth Games 1998).
At the Games saw the introduction of team sports to change the face of the Games with the inclusion of cricket, rugby, netball and tenpin bowling.
Tunku Imran was instrumental in the building of the Wisma OCM from the first phase in 1990.
Tunku Imran was also the first Asian president of the Commonwealth Games Federation who addressed the Commonwealth Games participants at the Glasgow Games last year – a indeed a rare honour.
“I wished I had another four years with CGF, but I think I had done my bit in the four years I was with them with several changes to the administration and vision,” said Tunku Imran who speaks English, Malay, French and German.
Among the other first is Tunku Imran realising his vision to have a sports channel for Malaysia.
“I wanted to do it myself as a business but did not have the means. But I am glad that I managed to convince Astro to take up challenge and make it a reality with Astro Arena,” said Tunku Imran with an air of satisfaction.
Other firsts include OCM under his leadership organising the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in 2002 and the International Olympic Council (IOC) Executive Board Meeting and 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Tunku Imran a National Sports Council of Malaysia board member since from 1985 has held international positions which include Executive Board Member of International Cricket Council (1997-1999 and 2001-2008); Chairman of Associate Members of the International Cricket Council (2001-2008); Vice President: Asian Cricket Council (1993-2004); Vice President: Commonwealth Games Federation (2000-2011); President Southeast Asian Games Federation (2000-2001); Honorary Life President: Southeast Asian Games Federation (from 2001) ; member of Advisory Board of Olympic Council of Asia;
member (Representative of ANOC) of The International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) – (2002-2014); Executive Council member of Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) (from 2011) ; member of International Olympic Committee (from 2006); member of International Olympic Committee Sport & Law Commission (2002-2014) and member of International Olympic Committee Sport for All Commission (from 2006).
At the local scene he had also helmed Taekwondo Malaysia (WTF) (2010-2014) and is patron from 2014.
As Malaysia is hosting the 2017 Sea Games, Tunku Imran will now assume the presidency of the Sea Games Federation.
He has also received numerous sports awards which include an International Honorary Doctorate in March 2009 from the United States Sports Academy (USSA) for outstanding leadership and achievement in sports and sports-related professions, selected as the Global winner of the Lifetime Service Award in June 2009, for the Pepsi ICC Development Program Annual Awards 2008 in recognition of contribution to the growth of cricket.  
He has also been conferred the Honorary Doctor of Laws in July 2011, by Alma Mater, the University of Nottingham, received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University from the University of Glasgow in June and received “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Alumni of University of Nottingham.
Tunku Imran having done such still has visions before he leaves OCM.

“I hope to see better finance management, administration in OCM, set up Council of Arbitration for Sport in Malaysia in collaboration with Kuala Lumpur regional, make National Sports Associations act more professionally and give emphasis to development for the future of sports and keep sports purely sports and free from politics,” said Tunku Imran.

“I am advocate of sports managers and not administrations. Sports officials have to think like managers.
“Just look at all our sports facilities which was under-used or not being used because of exorbitant charges. We need to innovate and get the facilities to be used at all times and by various sports. The managers have to think out of the box to attract people to the facilities. Only then we can have sports culture among our rakyat.
Indeed Tunku Imran is a legacy to sports and even when he retires from OCM in two years, he is most likely to be involved in sports in many other areas – especially in development which is his passion.

Thank you Prince of Sports!