Malaysia loses another sporting legend with the death of fencer Ronnie Theseira

Malaysia lost another sporting hero when fencer Ronnie Theseira died yesterday. He was 92.

His death comes 11 days after hockey legend Wilfred ‘Freddie’ Vias passed away.

Theseira and Vias were among the country’s oldest living Olympians.

They, along with Tan Sri P. Alagendra (hockey) and M. Harichandra (athletics), were featured on this website ahead of last year’s delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Vias, Alagendra and Harichandra competed in the 1956 Melbourne Games, while Theseira qualified for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

After interviewing Theseira last year, he offered to teach me fencing – if I was willing to travel to Melaka.

I thought he was being polite, We kept in touch after the interview, and he often repeated his offer.

Each time, I found an excuse to say no. Sadly, I will not have the opportunity to learn from the best.

It is a lesson for all of us not to take life for granted.

Theseira, a Professor of Fencing, is also a master coach, meaning he is qualified to coach in any sport.

He was coaching until 2020 but had to take a break due to Covid-19.

When interviewed last year, the energetic nonagenarian said he was looking forward to the end of the lockdowns as he wanted to continue sharing his knowledge.

“It breaks my heart that I cannot coach because of Covid-19. I love fencing. I am willing to coach anyone who wants to learn,” said Theseira, who founded the Malayan Amateur Fencing Association in 1959 and was its president until 1985. MAF became the Malaysian Fencing Federation in 1981.

“I don’t want any money for my services. The only ‘payment’ is for the students to spread fencing to more people.”

Theseira’s wake is today and tomorrow (10am-10pm) at the Xiao En Centre (Hall 8), Jalan Kuari, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.

The funeral service is on Tuesday at 11am. The cortege will then leave for the Kuala Lumpur City Hall Crematorium.

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