BODYBUILDING made Datuk Abdul Malek Mohamad Noor a household name in the 1980s.
The burly and always smiling sportsman, however, is a man of many talents, as he was also a sumo wrestler, actor and singer.
Upon retiring in 1991, Malek became a businessman venturing into the fitness industry through his collaboration with Datuk V. Radhakrishnan, who helped him set up Sportec Resources Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Universal Fitness and Leisure (UFL) Sdn Bhd.
Malek said he was grateful to Radha-krishnan for playing a major role in guiding him.
“He has been a big inspiration and today, I am managing director of Sportec Resources.
“It has been an encouraging journey and I am comfortable with my achievements in business,’’ said the Johor-born Malek.
Malek is also chairman of the National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb), a position he assumed last year after having been a board member for several years.
“I am grateful to all those who have helped me in sports as well as business. I feel it is my duty to give back to the less fortunate, and being Yakeb chairman gives me the chance to help my fellow sportsmen,” he said.
The foundation aims to help athletes who had represented the country in events such as SEA Games, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.
“We must not forget the contributions of those who have made the country proud. Yakeb was formed to assist them.
“We have helped many former athletes pay their medical bills.
“We also want to create employment opportunities for them. We want to guide them to be independent and have a source of income after their sporting careers are over.
“We have also drawn up plans to have a building for Yakeb,’’ said Malek, who was crowned Mr Asia on six occasions in the heavyweight category.
He was also a Mr Universe finalist twice.
“As Yakeb chairman, I make it a point to visit former sportsmen and sportswomen whenever possible
“We would like all national athletes to register with Yakeb. Only then will we be able to help them.
Malek was named National Sportsman of the Year in 1985. In the same year, he also won the Benson and Hedges Sports Personality Award.
He was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Hall of Fame in 2010.
Malek is often invited to give talks in schools and higher education institutions, and he welcomes this opportunity to interact with the younger generation.
“They should be made aware of our struggles to achieve success in sports. There are many opportunities available to them now and I want to share my experiences so they can learn from them,’’ said Malek, who has acted in 10 movies and even released an album titled Sentuhan Malek Noor.
Malek ended his bachelorhood only four years ago when he married Dr Wan Asma Wan Ismail, a paediatrician and neuro-developmental specialist.
He is also an avid golfer and loves to play whenever he has time.
“I enjoy golf as it gives me a chance to relax. The challenges on the golf course are similar to what I had gone through in my early days,” said Malek, who has a handicap of 12.