KUCHING: One of Malaysia’s weightlifting greats William Yeo (photo) passed away earlier today (June 10) at 77 after a four-year battle with leukaemia.
National Ex-Athletes Foundation (YAKEB) president Datuk Malek Noor announced that the former athlete whose memorable sporting achievements include winning the gold medal at the Afro-Asia Oceania Weightlifting Championships in Australia in 1993, would be inducted into the foundation’s Hall of Fame.
“It is a sad day for Sarawak weightlifting fraternity. He will be missed,” said Sarawak Bodybuilding Association (SBBA) president Dato Wee Hong Seng, who offered his condolences to the family on their loss.
“I may not know him personally, but I understand his struggles and hard work in bringing Sarawak weightlifting to greater heights…His work truly inspires me to do the same for Sarawak bodybuilding,” he continued, explaining that these two sports shared the same attributes.
Wee said that everybody should emulate Yeo’s dedication to the sport.
“On behalf of SBBA, I am conveying our deepest condolences for the loss of this true Sarawak hero…one who championed Sarawak weightlifting at a time when there was no palpable support for the sport.”
Hailing from Balingian, Mukah, Yeo became actively involved in shotput and weightlifting in 1966, a year after he began working at the Prisons Department.
He represented the country in weightlifting during the 1971 SEA Games and won a silver medal. In 1977, he clinched the gold medal and a year later another gold in the Asean Prisons Athletic Championships.
He was a national record holder from 1972 to 1979.
He coached Malaysia’s weightlifting contingent for the 1989 and 1993 SEA games and received the Pingat Bentara Bintang Sarawak (BBS) in 1979 and the Pingat Perkhidmatan Terpuji (PPT) in 1994 from the Sarawak state government. – The Borneo Post