I was shocked and saddened when I received an sms from Lazarus Rokk informing me that one of Malaysia's greatest sportsman, former Olympian Datuk Ho Koh Chye passed away at the Kelana Medical Centre this evening.
Although at the point of writing this blog, the cause of his death had not been established, it was learnt that he had earlier today complained of abdominal pains.
Ho, 66, was a great sportsman. He represented Malaysia in hockey for many years and played a pivotal role in making Malaysia the top four in the world hockey ranking. Those were the days when you took part in sports in the spirit of nationalism and patriotism and not the lure of monetary rewards. Those were the days when Ho, like other sportsmen and sportswomen, survived on a RM10 meal allowance a day.
An old boy of St Paul's Institution in Seremban, Ho was one of the best hockey goalkeepers the country had ever produced.
Even after retiring from active hockey, he continued to contribute as a volunteer towards developing Malaysian sports.
He was the Chef-de-Mission of the Malaysian Contingent to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Having represented Negri Sembilan in hockey from 1983 to 1989, I knew Ho as a dedicated man who devoted his entire 66 years of life to the development of sports in Malaysia, especially hockey.
Ho's untimely death leaves a vacuum in the Malaysian sporting arena which only a great person like he was can fill.
My name is Mohd Ashraf Abdullah. I was born and raised in Tampin, Negeri Sembilan. I am a journalist at heart. I served the New Straits Times as a journalist for 17 years, beginning as a cadet reporter in 1988. I was trained to be a political writer. I served the NST in various capacities including as Staff Correspondent of the Kuantan Bureau and London Correspondent. I resigned as News Editor in 2004 to join Golden Hope Plantations Berhad as Deputy General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. Two years later I was made General Manager, Group Corporate Affairs. When Golden Hope and Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad were merged with Sime Darby Berhad in November 2007, I chose not to accept the offer of employment by the merged entity. I was a scholar of the British Government and possess a Masters Degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I am also a Jefferson's Fellow of the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.