FORMER national 800m and 1,500m Olympic runner R Subramaniam died at the age of 82, on Sunday.
The news was informed by Negri Sembilan Athletics Association VP Datuk RRM Krishnan via WhatsApp.
It is understood that Subramaniam breathed his last at the Kajang Hospital after complaining of chest pain.
The country’s medium distance runner in the 1960s also competed in the SEAP Games (now known as the SEA Games), Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
When contacted by Bernama, former national athletics squad coach C Ramanathan said Subramaniam was a talented and ambitious athlete.
“One of the great long and middledistance runners, he’s (Subramaniam) done very well. His contribution to Malaysian athletics is very recognisable, that’s something to be proud of. I was shocked and sad to hear this news,” he said.
Meanwhile, former athlete and national athletics coach Harun Rasheed described Subramaniam — who had served with the Prisons Department before retiring as a deputy director — as an approachable person who never shied away from sharing knowledge.
“He was a senior and I was a junior at the time. He was a humble athlete, not arrogant at all. We both lived in the same housing estate in Kajang before he moved, and we lost contact. After that, we only came across each other a few times at a nearby market,” he said.
Subramaniam was born in Selangor on Oct 24, 1939, and studied up till Form Five at the Kishan Dial School before becoming active in athletics at the age of 19.
In addition to making appearances at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo and the 1968 edition in Mexico City, among Subramaniam’s other notable achievements were winning silver medals in the 800m and 1,500m events at the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok.
He also won gold medals in both of his favourite events at the 1965 SEAP Games in Kuala Lumpur before once again dominating the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m events at the 1967 edition in Bangkok.
After retiring as an athlete, he served as a coach with the national athletics squad for the 1975 and 1977 SEA Games.
The late Subramnian poses with the medals he won throughout his career
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