Jan 3, 2009

The Flying Doctor: Datuk Dr M.Jegathesan


In his day, he was regarded as the fastest man in Asia. In 1966, he earned the accolade of being the fastest man in Asia by winning three gold medals at the Bangkok Asian Games in the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m events. Datuk Dr Mani Jegathesan, fondly called the Flying Doctor for blazing the tracks around Asia despite being a doctor, was an icon in the 1960s, regarded as the "Golden Era" of Malaysian athletics.

At the Kingston Commonwealth Games in 1966, Dr Jega became the first Malaysian to qualify for the final of the 220-yard (now the 200 m) race. Forty years later, Dr Jegathesan not only became an accomplished athlete, well-known doctor and researcher but did the country proud yet again through his appointment as Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Medical Commission and honorary Medical Advisor for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Dr Jega has competed in three consecutive Olympics, namely Rome (1960), Tokyo (1964) and Mexico (1968). Dr Jega also has the distinction of appearing in two 200 m semi-finals in the Olympics and his time of 20.92 s, set in 1968 at the Mexico Olympics, still remains intact in the Malaysian athletics records book. His 200m national record in 1968 is probably the oldest in the records books but as much as he would love to see his record remain unbroken, he hopes Malaysian athletes would strive harder to not only smash his record but also reinstate the country's status as a leading power in athletics, just like in the 1960s.

A lot of questions appearing in my mind. There will be another Dr Jega appear in national athletic arena in future? Can anyone as Malaysian talented to equivalent the achievement of him? Why after few decades Malaysia still unable to produce the athletes that capable as him?

Dr Jegathesan: "It is my sincere hope to see Malaysia emerge as an athletics powerhouse in the region and appear in the final of a major event like the Asian, Commonwealth or Olympic Games."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi, new to the site, thanks.