Despite being left to fend for his own, 1998 Commonwealth Games gold medalist G. Saravanan proved that not only is he an athlete that wins gold medals but also showed that he has a heart of gold.
For the walker donated his 1998 Commonwealth Games gold medal to the Olympic Council of Malaysia museum with hope that another athlete will deliver gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Saravanan bagged the gold medal through the 50km men’s big walk event at the Commonwealth Games 1998 to create a record as no Malaysian had never been able to win any medal in athletics at the Commonwealth Games.
It remains a moment etched in the minds of millions of Malaysian glued to the television sets as 50km walk gold went to Saravanan, as he overhauled longtime leaders Craig Barrett and Tim Berrett from New Zealand and Canada respectively to cross the finish line.
“Until today I still get goose bumps thinking of that moment as it was truly an historic moment for the country,” said Saravanan.
“I remember the then Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammad challenging the athletes to win Malaysia’s 10th gold medal and that kept me going.
“This medal has been lying in my cupboard for the last 15 years and I think its time that it helps others inspire them to bring glory to the nation.
“I want it to be placed in the museum so that others can also relate to the win, especially those from athletics as we have not won a gold medal since 1998 in athletics. Hopefully this will inspire the athletes to deliver the goods as we could do with a revival of sorts in athletics.”
Saravanan was employed as a coach with the National Sports Council until 2012 when his contract was not renewed. Though he did not want to elaborate much, one could sense that Saravanan is bitter at the way he was treated.
“I am happy at what I have achieved and I do some coaching on my own so that’s enough for me,” added Saravanan.