(The very young Datuk Punch Gunalan. Image source: http://forzameyya.blogspot.com)
From the Star:-
Badminton legend Datuk Punch Gunalan passed away peacefully at 6am Wednesday. He was 68. Gunalan had been battling with liver cancer for some time. He had put Malaysia on the world’s map in the 1970s with his immaculate performances in the singles and doubles events – representing the country in the Thomas Cup, All-England and Asian Games.
He had also served with the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) and Badminton World Federation (BWF), earning the respect of the world for his excellent administrative and communication skills and also for his warmth, kindness and passion for the sport.
The last I meet Punch Gunalan was in the mid 1990s when I attended the KL Badminton Association annual meeting with my company Sport Coordinator who was there to discuss on hiring some of the KLBA’s younger players as interns and to represent the company for inter-bank meets.
Unfortunately, the meeting itself was an embarrassing one. Before the meeting started, we are the buffet table and in the rush for food, someone knocked onto me and I accidentally spilled the chilly sauce on my rather “white” shirt. Just then, my friend called me and introduced Punch Gunalan. As I shook his hand, I noticed that he was looking at the rather messy spill on the shirt. Embarrassed, all I wanted to do was to go and hide somewhere far. But he did not comment on it and he was rather polite to us despite the VIP guests that were waiting to see him.