KUALA LUMPUR: Former Olympian and double international Michael Francis (Mike) Shepherdson passed away at the Pantai Medical Centre here at 11.40pm on Saturday. He was 85.
Mike was a legend in the hockey fraternity, having represented the nation in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and also in two Asian Games – Tokyo in 1958 and Jakarta in 1962.
But it wasn’t just hockey that he excelled in.
Mike captained both the national cricket and hockey teams – and even found time to represent Selangor in football as a goalkeeper.
Mike also earned the rare distinction of being selected by journalists to be included in the World XI hockey team after the Melbourne Olympics – the first Malayan to achieve the feat.
He went on to represent the country in hockey in the Asian Games in Tokyo in 1958 and Jakarta in 1962 where Malaya won a bronze medal.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) Hall of Fame for his sporting achievements.
Mike was just as prolific in cricket, earning the distinction of being the most successful batsman. He is considered one of the best cricketer Malaysia has produced.
Shepherdson holds the record of nailing 132 runs against Hong Kong in the Inter-Port match in 1961.
Datuk Dr Harjit Singh, the president of Johor Cricket who knew Shepherdson personally, said he was deeply grieved by the loss.
“He’s the finest batsman Malaysia has ever produced ... a sharp cover fielder and occasional slow-medium bowler,” said Dr Harjit.
“He was the second Malaysian, along with Gurucharan Singh, to be mentioned in the Wisden Almanac of 1959 after Lall Singh (1933).
“In hockey, Mike was the best centrehalf of his era and had his career shortened by his premature retirement from international hockey in 1962.
“He also represented Selangor at football for a brief spell. He was my mentor. Mike volunteered to coach school boys in Johor for short spells in 1988 and 1989 after his retirement.
“I will always revere him as a gentleman sportsman, a great friend and the finest example of a simple, humble and caring personality.”
Mike leaves behind three children – Aubrey, Brenda and Jacqueline.
Those who wish to pay their last respects can do so at 38, Jalan Tempinis 2, Lucky Gardens, Bangsar.
The funeral will be held on Thursday at 11am at the Fatima Church in Brickfields.