“…Humility has taught me that I have much to be humble about…”
Datuk Dr. Mani Jegathesan
“The Flying Doctor”
Sport: Athletics (Track & Field)
Year Inducted: 2002
20.92 seconds – a mere fraction of time, a moment that could pass us by in the blink of an eye. But these 20.92 seconds proved to be one of the most memorable moments in Mani Jegathesan’s athletic career, one that defined him as the national athletic icon that he is today.
The year was 1968 and Jega as he is popularly referred to , qualified for the semi-finals in the 200m event at the Mexico Olympic Games, creating a new Malaysian record of 20.92 seconds which still stands unchallenged to this date.
Born on the 2nd of November 1943 in Ipoh, Perak, Jega’s foray into athletics was supported wholeheartedly by his family, especially his father N.M. Vasagam, an active athlete himself. His early education was at Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Road and Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur before he continued his studies in Anglo Chinese School, Singapore in 1956.
Jega made his regional athletic debut at the 1959 SEA Games in Bangkok, where he brought home the silver medal in the 4 x 400m event. In 1961, he generously contributed to Malaysia’s overall medal tally at the SEA Games, with three gold medals and one silver. Jega next set his sights on the Asian Games. He made Malaysia proud the following year, by winning the 200m gold and creating a new Asian Games record. By the 1966 Asian Games, he was at the top of his game, sweeping three golds in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m events, earning him the title of “Fastest Man in Asia”. He is the only Malaysian to win the men’s 200m event in the Asian Games – a feat he accomplished twice. That same year, he was crowned “Asian Athlete of 1966”.
He participated in three Olympic Games: Rome (1960) while still a schoolboy, Tokyo (1964) as an undergraduate, where he was the semi-finalist for the 200m event, and Mexico (1968) as a qualified Medical Officer. However, after his record-breaking run in Mexico, Jega announced his retirement from athletics in November 1968, at the age of 24. Today, Dr. Jegathesan has made a name for himself in the medical field as a prominent doctor and researcher.
As his legacy continues to live on, his personal wish is to see Malaysia emerge as an athletics powerhouse once again.
1960 – Olympic Games, Rome
1961 – SEA Games, Rangoon, 200m, 400m, 4x400m [Gold Medal] & 100m [Silver Medal]
1962 – Asian Games, Jakarta, 200m [Gold Medal- Malaysia’s first ever Gold at Asian Games]
1964 – Olympic Games, Tokyo, 200m Semi-finals
1965 – SEA Games, Kuala Lumpur, 100m, 200m, 4x100m, 4x400m [Gold Medal]
1966 – Asian Games, Bangkok, 100m, 200m, 4x100m [Gold Medal], Crowned “Asian Athlete of 1966”
1968 – Olympic Games, Mexico, 200m Semi-finalist
2007 – Inducted into Asian Hall of Fame
1972 – Medical Officer Malaysian Olympic Team
2003 – Hon. Medical Advisor & Chairman of CGF Commission and Hon. Medical Advisor for Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Deputy President of OCM
2004 – Olympic Games, Athens, Chef de Mission and torchbearer representing Malaysia
2007 - Chairman of Medical Commission OCA
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