KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia has lost a great patriot and unsung hero with the death of former Olympic sprinter Datuk Zainuddin Abdul Wahab, say his former colleagues in the police force.Remembered: Zainuddin competed in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, West Germany.Remembered: Zainuddin competed in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, West Germany.

Ex-Esscom Intelligence Division Chief of Staff Datuk Hashim Justin, in extending his condolences, said the 74-year-old was believed to have succumbed to respiratory diseases at the Tenom district hospital on Tuesday.

Zainuddin was originally from Labuan but moved to Tenom district, which is the hometown of his wife.

“Zainuddin used to be my workmate in the Kota Kinabalu Criminal Investigation Department in 1986. He was my superior with the rank of ASP and I was an inspector.

“We offer our deepest condolences to his family, friends and others in the community who grieve this loss,” Hashim said yesterday.

The Sabah Police Alumni Facebook page also dedicated a post to him, recalling that Zainuddin made the state proud by representing Malaysia as a sprinter in the then SEAP Games in 1967 (Bangkok), 1969 (Rangoon, now known as Yangon) and 1971 (Kuala Lumpur).

It said Zainuddin also represented Malaysia in the Asian Games in 1970 (Bangkok) and the Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany, in 1972.

“He also contributed greatly to the community in various capacities in the police force until he retired,” the post stated.