Ex-400m hurdles champ Zambrose dies from cancer

Zambrose Abdul Rahman held the national 400m hurdles title from 1967 to 1970.

PETALING JAYA: Former Malaysian 400m hurdles champion Zambrose Abdul Rahman died yesterday in Seremban from throat cancer. He was 76.

Zambrose excelled at the highest level when he competed in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, finishing eighth in the first round in 53.2s.

He was the national 400m hurdles champion from 1967 to 1970 and held the national record twice – 56.3 (1962) and 53.2 the following year.

His proudest moment must have been winning the 4x400m relay gold medal at the 1969 Rangoon SEAP Games with teammates G Rajalingam, AS Nathan and Asir Victor.

He had earlier retained the gold medal in the 400m hurdles at the games which he first won in Bangkok in 1967.

Zambrose also took part in decathlon at the 1971 SEAP Games in Kuala Lumpur, although he did not finish the race.

Former national walker V Subramaniam, who worked with him at Telekom Malaysia for nine years, said they both coached the company’s athletics team.

“He was my senior in athletics but treated me with respect and we worked well together,” said Subramaniam.

Former Malaysian Amateur Athletics Union secretary NA Baskaran said Zambrose was a dedicated athlete who did the nation proud.

Middle and long-distance runner turned coach Papu Ignatius said he trained with Zambrose at the Prisons training centre at Jalan Gurney, Kuala Lumpur.

“He was a diligent and disciplined athlete and it was no surprise that he made the Olympics,” said Papu.

Other notable 400m hurdlers national champions in the 60s and 70s include Karu Selvaratnam (1961-1965; 1973), AS Nathan (1966 and 1971), Khamis Awang (1974) and JV Jayan (1976).

In 1989, Kenny Martin broke Karu’s 24-year-old Malaysian record of 52.7secs by two tenths of a second.

Kenny went on to win the national championship a record six times from 1988 to 1994.

The current national record of 51.28 is held by Mohd Shahadan Jamaluddin, who recorded it at the 2005 Manila Sea Games.

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