Dilbagh dies aged 76
Published on: Friday, October 19, 2012

Kota Kinabalu: The sporting community in the State mourned the loss of one of its greatest athletes Datuk Dilbagh Singh Kler aged 76, who passed away peacefully on Thursday morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 4.30am.The Olympian who was fondly known as the "flying Sikh" in the sixties with his prowess on the track leaves behind wife Datin Amrit Kler, a son and two daughters.

He was a household name here in the State when he took part in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and he also appeared in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Asian Games in Bangkok the same year as well as four consecutive SEAP Games in 1965, 1967, 1969 and 1971.

He was the SEAP Games record holder in the 3,000m and 5,000m events in 1965, 1967 and 1971 and held the national records for the same events in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1971.

Dilbagh served as a coach for athletes under the State Youth and Sports Ministry and retired in 1991.

He was awarded Datukship in 2005 for his contribution to sports.

He was a true sportsman to the very end as his wife Datin Amrit Kler told Express Sports that he continued to keep himself fit by cycling for an hour per session twice daily on an exercise bike until very recently despite his failing health.

Daughter Jaswinder said her father passed away quite unexpectedly with doctors who treated him were also surprised as they were about to discharge him on the same day.

Former national sprinter David Williams who was at the funeral parlour to pay his last respect had only fond memories to say about Dilbagh.

He said he used to train under Dilbagh together with State Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister, Datuk Elron Alfred Angin and had followed him to many coaching clinics throughout the State.

"He was the first real coach for us here in the State back in the late seventies.

He was always very generous to the athletes and he really took care of us in terms of our welfare and training."

"I have never seen him losing his temper. He was a passionate coach and he was always there at the track to guide the young athletes patiently."

David said he last met him a month ago and Dilbagh could still remember him as a former athlete and he even asked him to shed a few pounds to stay healthy.

His remains will be placed at the Fook Lu Siew Funeral Parlour here until Saturday when it will be cremated.


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