Former international Rashid Sidek wants the BA of Malaysia (BAM) to follow in the footsteps of the late Tan Sri Elyas Omar by cutting down on protocol. Pic by NSTP/ MOHD YUSNI

KUALA LUMPUR: Former international Rashid Sidek wants the BA of Malaysia (BAM) to follow in the footsteps of the late Tan Sri Elyas Omar by cutting down on protocol.

Rashid, a member of the successful 1992 Thomas Cup team, said Elyas , who passed away on Tuesday, was always free and easy around the players.

"He was a president who contributed so much to the sport. During his time, he made so many positive changes," said Rashid after a sponsorship event at the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) on Wednesday.

"One of his biggest contributions to the national team was when he started bringing in experienced coaches from China to beef up the squad.

"The programmes he introduced for the Thomas Cup was also successful. In 1986, we were in the semi-finals, then we reached the finals in the next two editions, before winning the title in 1992.

"The players loved him. He was easy to approach, and we would often go to his house to seek his advice. At times, when we were down, we would look for him.

"Elyas was a man who injected bravery into us. He was the one who guided us to not fear anyone," added Rashid.

Apart from spearheading BAM for eight years since 1985, the former Kuala Lumpur mayor was also the president of KLFA when they won the Malaysia Cup from 1987 to 1989.

Current BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria also conveyed his condolences through an official statement on Wednesday.

"My deepest condolences to the family of the late Tan Sri Elyas Omar, who was also the former president of the BAM. His legacy and contribution in our local sports scene, especially badminton, will always be remembered.

"His passing is a huge lost to Malaysia," said Norza.

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