KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) grandmaster and former National Sports Institute (NSI) psychologist V. Sivalingam died from Covid-19 on Saturday. He was 59.

Described as a true fighter by family members, Sivalingam was actively teaching taekwondo classes after he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). 

His niece Anoshya Rani Dass said even after he lost both mobility and speech abilities he continued to teach taekwondo classes. 

“Before he was diagnosed with ALS a few years back, he was still able to give live demonstrations during classes. 

“Until he lost mobility, he was still teaching. He only was less active when his speech was deteriorating, but yet he was still teaching at the beginning of this year,” Anoshya told Malay Mail when contacted. 

Sivalingam was diagnosed as Covid-19 positive earlier last week and on August 6, Anosya said he collapsed at his home at about 11pm. 

Although he was rushed to the hospital, he was not able to overcome the virus and died the next morning. 

“My uncle lives with two other siblings and he is the youngest among his six siblings.

“It was my aunt who caught the virus because she was the one who would go out and get food. She takes care of my uncle (Sivalingam). 

“But she too now has been admitted to the hospital and we have received news that her condition has worsened,” she said.  

According to Anoshya, Sivalingam was a triple World Taekwondo Championships gold medallist in the lightweight division.

He won in 1990 (Montreal, Canada), 1992 (Pyongyang, North Korea) and 1994 (Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia).

“He was the man who was behind the setting up of many taekwondo and yoga centres in Klang Valley and was hired by the NSI (National Sports Institute) as a psychologist where he also introduced yoga in the institute.

“When he worked with NSI, he was working with the national hockey team, coaching them on mental fitness,” she said, adding that Sivalingam had a degree in sports science and was a certified yoga master. 

Anoshya added that her uncle had also established a studio in London for a short period of time.