SMK Maxwell’s ros­ter of sports greats

SMK Maxwell has pro­duced ath­letes who have made their mark on the na­tional stage

New Straits Times - - Front Page - » RE­PORT BY TEH ATHIRA YUSOF

THE school, which turns 100 this year, has pro­duced many of the na­tion’s sport­ing he­roes, par­tic­u­larly in foot­ball and hockey.

BACK in the day, SMK Maxwell was known as a train­ing ground to pre­pare stu­dents to be­come na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the sport­ing arena, in­clud­ing the Olympic Games.

Now in its 100th year, the all­boys school in Jalan Tun Is­mail here, known for its unique Hshaped de­sign, has pro­duced Maxwellians who have made their mark in Malaysia’s sport­ing events, par­tic­u­larly in foot­ball and hockey.

Among its fa­mous ath­letes are former na­tional foot­ball play­ers Datuk Dell Ak­bar Khan, Zainal Abidin Has­san, Yeo Swee Hock, Azhar Md Sharif and two-time Olympic hockey player Manin­der­jit Singh, who were all groomed for ex­cel­lence be­hind Maxwell’s great pil­lars.

Manin­der­jit, de­fender in the na­tional hockey team dur­ing the 1996 At­lanta Olympic Games and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, rem­i­nisced about the days when he and his team held their train­ing ses­sions ev­ery day af­ter school.

“The sports­man­ship was so in­grained within us Maxwellians that ev­ery day af­ter school, from 4pm to 7pm, we would be at the fields to prac­tise for ei­ther hockey, foot­ball or sepak takraw.

“Then, later in the evening, we would play tra­di­tional games, like konda-kondi,” he said at an event held at the school re­cently to com­mem­o­rate the school’s former na­tional ath­letes.

The event was held as a pre­cur­sor to the school’s 100th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion on Sept 30.

Former Maxwellians are in­vited to a re­union on Aug 26 at the school (10am on­wards).

Manin­der­jit said he had fond mem­o­ries of the school.

“It was so much fun. In those

days, the Maxwell sports team was well known for its achieve­ments, even though we had to go to a nearby field to prac­tise as the school’s com­pound was not big enough,” he said.

Zainal Abidin, who won the 1989 Sea Games with his foot­ball team­mates, Dol­lah Salleh and Ser­begeth Singh, among oth­ers, told the New Sun­day Times that his de­ci­sion to study at SMK Maxwell pro­pelled him to greater heights in life as a sports­man.

“Even dur­ing my time, the school was al­ready fa­mous for sports, es­pe­cially foot­ball.

“I knew then that I wanted to learn from the best.

“At Maxwell, we had renowned coaches, in­clud­ing S. Thevendira Raj and his brother S. Poova­nendira Raj, who trained Dell’s team,” said Zainal Abidin.

“I as­pired to ex­cel in both

sports and aca­demics, and I am glad that I had achieved both by at­tend­ing the school.”

He said what he val­ued the most about the school was its cel­e­bra­tion of unity and racial di­ver­sity.

“As Maxwellians, we are very close with each other.

“I think that is why we could per­form well as a team in sports and in­di­vid­u­ally in our stud­ies.”

Dell said he was part of the school’s foot­ball team from 1961 to 1965 and sub­se­quently went on to rep­re­sent Malaysia.

How­ever, an in­jury at the age of 24 forced him to hang up his foot­ball jersey and saw him join­ing the po­lice force.

He re­called that when he de­cided to join the po­lice force, many of his col­leagues joked if a Maxwellian could be­come a po­lice of­fi­cer.

“When I first joined the po­lice force, some of my po­lice friends

were scep­ti­cal if a Maxwellian could be po­lice of­fi­cer... if we were dis­ci­plined enough to last in the force.

“Af­ter all, apart from our ath­leti­cism, we were also known for our lit­tle mis­chief !” said Dell, who is cur­rently Malaysian Re­sources Corp Bhd ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent (Se­cu­rity, Safety, Health and En­vi­ron­ment, Fa­cil­i­ties Man­age­ment and Park­ing Ser­vices).

Dell went on to be­come the po­lice chief of Kuala Lumpur (re­tired in

2004).

He also held the post of Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia sec­re­tary-gen­eral from 2000 to 2005.

The school’s Recre­ational and So­cial Maxwellian 79-83 (Keras) club pres­i­dent Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Ali said the school alumni mem­bers were in­vited to the re­union on Aug 26.

He said tick­ets were now on sale at RM100 each.

For more de­tails, alumni mem­bers can visit its Face­book page, “Kami Warga SMK Maxwell 1917 Se­hingga Kini”.

PIC BY ASWADI ALIAS

Datuk Dell Ak­bar Khan with SMK Maxwell alumni dur­ing the launch of the school’s 100-year cel­e­bra­tion at SMK Maxwell in Jalan Tun Is­mail, Kuala Lumpur, last week.

Zainal Abidin Has­san

Datuk Dell Ak­bar Khan

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