MALAYSIAN prince Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’far needs no introduction to the sporting world and thanks to his links Malaysia is playing host to the 128th International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC).
The sporting prince, a former national squash champion (1973), who is the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and a member of the IOC, is credited in bringing IOC’s 128th session to Kuala Lumpur after losing out the previous bid in 2010.
“It was a joint bid by the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) and the Government of Malaysia. We got it and then we had to work very hard to put it all together,” Tunku Imran was quoted in the July edition of VisionKL, the popular city lifestyle guide.
Apart from squash, the Negri Sembilan prince was a keen cricketer and has the distinction of playing with Sir Gary Sobers – the cricketing legend from West Indies.
Tunku Imran was the President of the Malaysian Cricket Assiciation from 1991 to 2011 and vice-president of of the Asian Cricket Council from 1993 to 2004 and also served as a member of the Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a 10 years.
The well known sports administrator revealed the key points that won KL the bid to host the IOC session was KL’s experience in hosting world-class conference apart from the City’s infrastructure and excellent facilities.
Putting that aside, Tunku Imran sees badminton as having the best prospects of winning Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Malaysia’s best achievements in the Olympics was winning silver medals through Datuk Lee Chong Wei in 2008 (Beijing) and in 2012 (London) while Yap Kim Hock and Cheah Soon Kit was in the doubles in 1996 (Atlanta).
The Sidek brothers Jalani and Razif won Malaysia’s first ever Olympic medal, which was a bronze in Barcelona in 1992.
Being a former squash player Tunku Imran’s fervent wish is to see the game played in the Olympics and believes it could happen in 2020. “Squash will get there one day,” said Tunku Imran.
On his most memorable sporting event, Tunku Imran said it was the struggle involving the opening of the Queen’s Baton at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games opening ceremony which he took it all in good humour.