Administrator extraordinaire

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KUALA LUMPUR — Former BA of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Elyas Omar (pic), who was instrumental in helping Malaysia to reclaim the Thomas Cup in 1992, passed away yesterday.

Elyas was undergoing treatment at National Heart Institute (IJN). He was 81.

According to his nephew Syahril A. Kadir’s Facebook post, Elyas breathed his last at 7.15 pm.

“It is with a heavy heart that I’m announcing the passing of my uncle Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who was the former Mayor of Kuala Lumpur, at the National Heart Institute at 7.15 pm. Al Fatihah,” he posted.

Elyas took over BAM leadership from long-time president Tan Sri Khir Johari in 1985 and embarked on a special project to regain the Thomas Cup last won in 1967.

The former KL mayor, aided by secretary (the late) Datuk Punch Gunalan, recruited top players from China — Han Jian, Yang Yang and Cheng Changjie — as coaches to prepare the Malaysian squad which secured the Thomas Cup at Stadium Negara overcoming traditional rivals Indonesia 3-2 in the final.

The birth of BAM academy, the house of the national junior and senior players, was also mooted by Elyas and it was launched in Taman Maluri, Cheras in 1993.

He handed over the BAM leadership to his deputy Datuk Seri Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan in the same year.

Regarded as one of the finest administrators in Malaysian sports, Elyas was also the president of Kuala Lumpur FA (KLFA) and during his tenure the city side secured the Malaysia Cup treble between
1987 and 1989.

Elyas also played his role in reviving the cycling scene during the same period in his capacity as the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) president.

He was also the Sports Commissioner under the Ministry of Youth and Sports between
2005 and 2008.