Elyas Omar will continue to be remembered as a national sports figure who contributed greatly towards the development of Malaysian sports, sports activists said.
The former Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president, who was also the former Kuala Lumpur mayor, passed away at the age of 82 at the National Heart Institute (IJN) due to health complications on Tuesday night.
He headed the national badminton body from 1985 to 1993 and led the national squad to forge its name globally by winning the Thomas Cup in 1992.
"Condolences to the family of former BAM President Tan Sri Elyas Omar. His contributions and legacy to national sports, especially badminton, will always be remembered and appreciated.
"His departure is a huge loss for the country. May his soul be placed among the believers, "said BAM President Norza Zakaria.
Also sharing the same view was one of the 1992 Thomas Cup national squad players, Rashid Sidek, who described him as a loving father.
"Like a father and his children, if we have any problems, we could directly go to see him; no need to make any appointments and so on," said Rashid.
In addition to badminton, Elyas also served as the Kuala Lumpur Football Association president and oversaw their success of winning three consecutive Malaysia Cups from 1987 to 1989.
Razip Ismail, a former Kuala Lumpur player for 15 years, said the passing of Elyas, who was heavily devoted to sports development especially football in Kuala Lumpur, was a huge loss.
"The contributions of the late Elyas towards sports in Kuala Lumpur were truly big. He was a great leader and had a clear vision and mission.
"Many sports succeeded in achieving success under his leadership, not excluding the Kuala Lumpur football team which was at the peak of its performance due to his vision and mission," he said.
Elyas’ remains were buried at the Muslim Cemetery, Jalan Ampang, yesterday.