Obituary: Dahlia Borhan

She's a loyal servant of S'pore hockey

After retiring from competitive hockey, Dahlia Borhan was the national Under-16 girls' coach and later became the national women's coach.
After retiring from competitive hockey, Dahlia Borhan was the national Under-16 girls' coach and later became the national women's coach.

Nerves were jangling just before the women's hockey final between hosts Singapore and Malaysia at the 1993 SEA Games.

Captain Florence Chua remembers vividly how centre-forward Dahlia Borhan helped to calm the team down before they went on to win gold - the only time the Republic finished ahead of Malaysia.

Singapore held their Causeway rivals in a goal-less game before edging them out 4-3 on penalty flicks at the Delta Sports Complex.

Former Singapore hockey international Dahlia died on Wednesday afternoon. The former national women's coach succumbed to cancer. She was 58.

Chua led the tributes for Dahlia by saying: "Just before our final game against Malaysia in 1993, we were a bit tense, as you can imagine. I remember Dahlia cracking jokes that really relieved our tension. It helped me as captain to stay calm and focus on preparation. She was a great team player, humble and prepared to train extra hard. I will miss her."

Foo Siew Chin, who was part of the 1993 gold medal-winning team, posted on Facebook: "Dahlia was a woman of few words, her actions spoke louder than words. She had a quiet steely and unyielding determination and a competitive nature which pushed her to be the best in what she did.

ALWAYS A FIGHTER

She had a quiet steely and unyielding determination and a competitive nature which pushed her to be the best in what she did.

FOO SIEW CHIN, Dahlia Borhan's team-mate on the 1993 SEA Games gold medal-winning women's hockey team, on her commendable attributes.

"Dahlia was a loyal friend, sincere and authentic. We were not just team-mates but lifelong friends as she provided support and encouragement to us on and off the field."

Former Singapore Hockey Federation president Annabel Pennefather said Dahlia, who served as the national Under-16 girls' coach and later as national coach, had all the attributes of a "strong sportswoman".

"She was skilful and fast but, more importantly, she stayed humble no matter what anybody did to her on the field," she said.

"She was one of first few trailblazers for female coaches... appointed to various positions because you knew you could always rely on her never to take shortcuts. She always had time for people, and had a nice way of imparting her thoughts and knowledge."

Former national player Steff Chan said in a Facebook post: "I am ever so thankful for those years of playing alongside (Dahlia) that made me the player I am today.

"I was (also) very blessed and privileged to have represented the country under her coaching. Thanks for being a friend, a team-mate, a coach and an inspiration. You have fought a great fight."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2018, with the headline 'She's a loyal servant of S'pore hockey'. Print Edition | Subscribe