The passing of State Dignitary Mohamed Zahir Naseer (NIIV) took the nation by storm. Known and respected as the father of sports in the country, Zahir Naseer was well-loved and appreciated by every sportsman in the country. In his more than fifty years of service to the nation, Zahir Naseer not only laid the foundations for modern sports, but served the government at many levels in various sectors. In his honor, the nation observed a day of National mourning with the National flag flown at half-mast.
The late Zahir Naseer first served the government as Secretary to Foreign Counsel at the Ministry of Home Affairs. His services in the health sector remain invaluable; especially his efforts to battle the cholera outbreak in the late 1980’s. In his condolence message, former President Maumoon Abdul Qayyoom noted that “Zahir-Naseer was a man who spent his whole life in serving the nation through sports & medicine”.
With health services under his belt, the late Zahir Naseer remains most celebrated for his contributions to sports. Since the foundation of the Maldives Olympic Committee in 1985, late Zahir Naseer remained as the President of the Committee until 2008. In his 23 years as the President of the Committee, late Zahir Naseer worked tirelessly to develop sports and sportsmanship in the nation; his prime belief being that discipline made good sportsmen. The late Zahir Naseer also worked as a sports teacher in Madhrasathul Salaahiyya and Majeedhiyya School.
The sports sector saw its first participation in the Summer Olympic Games under late Zahir Naseer’s leadership. Apart from the Summer Olympics, he also introduced the Maldives to other international gaming festivals and remained well-known in the international sports arena throughout his life. Late Zahir Naseer filled the post of President of the Asian Olympic Federation and the Treasurer of the International Carrom Federation and was also a member of the Olympic Council’s Finance Committee.
He served the sports sector in the Maldives at many different levels, including Counsel at Sports Division, Advisor on Youth Welfare and Recreation and Consultant on Youth Welfare and Recreation. He was also the Honorary President of the Maldives Olympic Committee and the Carrom Association of Maldives; a game that owes much of its development to his personal efforts.
The late Zahir Naseer has been recognized for his commendable services to the nation. He receieved the National Award of Recognition in 1979 and the National Award of Honor in 1992, for Exceptional Contributions to the Development of Sports in the Maldives. He also received the Honorary Shield for Invaluable Service to the Government, well-deserved following his five decades of service to the nation. He was conferred the Order of Distinguished Rule of Izzuddeen in 2011.
His contributions to the nation does not end with sports. The late Zahir Naseer also served the in the field of journalism, working as an English announcer at Information and Broadcasting and a reporter at ‘Viyafaari Miadhu’. He also published several sports newsletters. The late Zahir Naseer has left an era of service in his wake and will always be remembered for his invaluable services to the nation.