MALACCA: The Malacca Hockey Circle (MHC), a recently establised fraternity helmed by P.M. Selvanathan who donned national hockey colours at the 1982 Asia Cup in Karachi and 1982 Paris Junior World Cup, organised the ‘Yesterday Once More’ reunion and dinner at the Malacca Club Town House.
About 80 former state players, national stalwarts retired officials and umpires and long time supporters of local hockey were present and enjoyed catching up and sharing memories.
The MHC also took the opportunity to honour a former player, coach, administrator and sports official. They are Hilary D’Cruz, 80, P. Poonendarajah, 78, K.Balakrishnan, 75, and sixty-five year old Wong Choon Hin.
Wong picked up the supremo award as Malacca’s most illustrious hockey player. He is the only national player from the state todate to attain the ‘unique triple double’.
He donned national colours at the 1973 Amsterdam and 1975 Kuala Lumpur World Cup, the 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympic Games and the 1972 Bangkok and 1976 Tehran Asian Games.
Like Wong, D’Cruz was also awarded the supremo award as Malacca’s most illustrious sports official.
He was a Class One technical official and umpire with the Malaysian Amateur Athletic Union (MAAU), Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA)and Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) between the early sixties to mid-eighties.
He was also the first Malaysian cricket umpire to be officially recognised by the International Cricket Conference (ICC), the world-wide governing body for the game.
Balakrishnan and Poonendarajah, both former students of Malacca High School, were awarded outstanding and dedicated service meritorius awards.
Balakrishnan or fondly known as ‘Hockey Bala, served the Malacca Hockey Association (MHA) for 43 years as an administrator, technical official, statistician and conveynor.
Starting off as a MHA committee member between 1966 and 1972, Balakrishnan held the association’ secretary post from 1973 to 1985 before taking up the vice-president’s post from 1986 to 2002.
He was also the MHA deputy president from 2002 to 2006. In between, he also held the posts of the Malacca Government Services hockey conveynor from 1985 to 1989 before a stint as its secretary from 1990 to 1996.
He was also the assistant manager for the 1978 national hockey team which bagged a bronze medal at the Bangkok Asian Games.
Poonendarajah, popularly known till now as ‘Mister Hockey Poonen, was Malacca High School hockey master from 1955 to 1968 and then again from 1972 to 1987.
He has nurtured no less than 40 state and national hokey players including three double Olympians — Koh Hock Seng (Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968), Yang Siow Meng (1968 Mexico City and 1972 Munich) and Lim Chiow Chuan (1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta).