FORMER national runner N. Sanmuganathan was choked with emotion when representatives of the National Athlete Welfare Foundation (Yakeb) and three Penang sporting legends visited him at his parents’ apartment in Lintang P. Ramlee, Penang.
Yakeb general manager Zuhairi Abdul Manaf said the visit was to see how Sanmuganathan was doing and to enquire how Yakeb could be of assistance.
“We came from Kuala Lumpur to see him. In addition to providing him with RM500, Yakeb will also foot his hospital bills,” said Zuhairi.
“This is the second time we have come forward to help Sanmuganathan.
“We helped him undergo treatment for a nose injury previously.
“We want Sanmuganathan to know that his services to Malaysian sports are not forgotten.”
The visitors include Yakeb operations manager Aminuddin Nasir, Sanmuganathan’s former athletics coach P.L.B.S. Peyadesa and former football greats Datuk M. Kuppan and Datuk Shukor Salleh.
Sanmuganathan still holds the national record of 8:59.10 for the 3000m steeplechase event.
He set the record when he finished ninth in the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games.
He is recovering from injuries sustained in a road accident while riding his motorcycle in Burmah Road, Penang, on Thaipusam Day.
The 40-year-old trainer has pledged to recover from his latest setback and work on getting back on the track soon.
“After I stopped competing for the country in 2001, I thought my association with the national sports fraternity was over.
“Only now do I realise there are people out there who still remember the contribution of athletes like myself.
“It is during times like this that I feel proud to be a Malaysian and thankful I had the opportunity to represent my country,” said Sanmuganathan.
“I intend to repay everyone’s kindness by not giving up and to get back to running again. My goal is to start competing again in veteran competitions.”
Sanmuganathan’s father R. Nainasagoram said that in the accident, his son was thrown off his bike and lost consciousness after colliding with another motorcycle.
“We are glad he is physically all right but because of the head injury, he still suffers headaches and sometimes becomes too emotional while talking. He is not ready to go back to work yet,” said Nainasagoram.