CommentaryOPINION

The Passing of a Dedicated Coach

Obituary

The legacy of the great long-time coach Foo Yock Meng left a lasting impression among the swimming fraternity in Malaysia, especially those in Ipoh.

Coach Yock Meng passed away on June 30, following a year’s battle against diabetes and kidney failure.

It was a devastating day when news of his demise spread to his family members, relatives and friends, especially his charges and ex-students of Sekolah Menengah Methodist (ACS) Ipoh.

His notable contributions as a coach to the Amateur Swimming Union Malaysia (ASUM) and Amateur Swimming Association Perak (ASAP) spanned over three decades.

Yock Meng was the coach of the swimming team which participated in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

He was the Level 3 swimming coach and coaching chairman of ASUM; grade 1 life-saving examiner; and possessed the Level 3 sports science certificate from the National Sports Council. Moreover, he was the International Swimming Federation (FINA) referee.

Due to his outstanding performance as a coach, he was awarded the ‘Jurulateh Terbaik Negeri’ by the Perak Sports Council and ‘Coach of the Year’ by the National Sports Council.

Yock Meng’s most significant contribution to ACS and Malaysia was his unwavering dedication and commitment to swimming, as he single-handedly trained two ACS swimmers, Anthony Ang and Allen Ong, to represent Malaysia in the Olympics held in Atlanta.

During his tenure, he also made sure that the school water polo team emerged champions at the state and national levels.

His achievement in producing champions was due to his personal sacrifice and untiring efforts spent in the pool with his students every morning from 5am to 7am and 4pm to 6pm. He did it every day, six days a week, 12 months a year for more than two scores plus ten years.

Yock Meng was a patient and understanding person and was always available to any of his charges who needed some time and good advice on any matter. He was indeed an amazing and awesome coach, not only because of his deep knowledge of the sport but also because of his empathy, support and kindness for everyone who crossed his path.

Soft-spoken and humble, Yock Meng did not have any cross word with his colleagues. Many were impressed with his humility despite many national and state awards and accolades he received for his contributions and achievements.

We will miss him terribly, more than words can tell, as will so many others whose lives he had touched so positively. Undeniably, his departure would be a tremendous loss to swimming in Perak and Malaysia.

Yock Meng had inspired all of us to be better people. He was a great teacher, a great friend, a great mentor, a great coach and certainly a great father to his only daughter Foo Wen Yen.

Thomas Kok

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