An all-action sports lover and talented journalist

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2012, 12:00am


Former South China Morning Post staffer Tony Allison, who died last Wednesday aged 59, will be remembered for his love for sports and a swift rise through the newsroom ranks in South Africa and Hong Kong as a talented editor.

Born in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 1953, Anthony Thurlow Allison matriculated from Maritzburg College in 1971 before going to the University of Natal to study law.

Despite his law degree, Allison decided to pursue a career in journalism and in the late 1970s, he joined The Natal Witness as a sports sub-editor where his skills were quickly noticed and he was tasked with a total redesign of the sports section, winning much acclaim.

In 1980, he landed a post on one of South Africa's major newspapers, the anti-apartheid Rand Daily Mail, where he moved from the sports department to news before taking on the role of deputy chief sub-editor.

In the mid-1980s, Allison moved to Hong Kong where joined the Post and was promoted from deputy chief sub-editor to assistant editor before becoming deputy editor for the Sunday Morning Post.

In Hong Kong, Allison adapted his love for kayaking to dragon boat racing, and in 1987 he helped lead the Post's own dragon boat team in the annual festival.

His sporting achievements included being part of a five-man team that set a record for kayaking non-stop across the South China Sea from Hong Kong to the Philippines, raising money for charity and inaugurating the Round the Island canoe race.

After the Post, Allison relocated to Thailand and continued as a news man, first as a senior correspondent at the Bangkok bureau of Asia Magazine before joining the Asia Times daily newspaper in 1995.

When it folded amid the financial crisis in 1997-98, Allison and Allen Quicke established Asia Times Online. When Quicke died in 2010, Allison stepped in as editor-in-chief.

One former Asia Times Online business editor described Allison as 'the solidest guy we'll ever know'.

Late last year, Allison was diagnosed with a heart ailment and he had a successful operation earlier this year, allowing him to continue his active lifestyle of cycling, sea-canoeing, soccer and golf.

However, complications set in recently and he died on June 20.

Allison is survived by his wife Janejira, who was at his side when he died, and two sons: Don and - from a previous marriage - Simon.