LANGKAWI: Despite having retired from international action, former national boxer Yaacop Mat Saman, 44, has never stopped contributing to the development of the sport here.
Yaacop, who now sells nasi lemak at night markets to earn a living, has opened a makeshift boxing ring behind his house in Pokok Asam here.
With a punching bag given by a businessman and several personal boxing gear, the father of eight has been training 25 students of SM Mahsuri and SK Kelibang near here since the past one month.
The training is held daily for two hours from 5pm, except on Fridays.
“I dare not hold any sparring sessions as the boxing gloves which I have are not suitable for the children and can cause injuries.
“It would be nice if there are generous parties who wish to buy the boxing gear for us as they would be contributing to the development of boxing in Langkawi,” said Yaacop.
He said that he was not seeking any monetary rewards but volunteered his services to train Kedah boxers for the 2004 and 2006 Sukma (Malaysia Games).
Yaacop, named as the top boxer in the Armed Forces in 1985, said that he could not train his charges at proper facilities, including the Langkawi Sports Complex, because he could not afford the rental fees.
Among Yaacop's achievement for Malaysia were winning a gold medal in the Brunei Merdeka Games in 1985 and a bronze medal at the SEA Games in Bangkok the same year.
He was also named as the Armed Forces Commando Corps' Sportsman of the Year in 1985.
Yaacop was also the assistant coach of the national team for the 1993 Singapore SEA Games and the coach of the side for the 1994 King's Cup in Thailand.
He was appointed as the Kedah boxing trainer for three years from 1994. Yaacop can be contacted at 04-9672415. – Bernama