Tributes poured in for former table tennis star V. Chandrasekar, who passed away this morning.
Dronacharya awardee A. Srinivasa Rao said Chandrasekar created a revolution in table tennis with his attitude and playing style. “From 1976-83 he was mostly unbeatable in TN, he played the same strokes differently, and was really a crowd-puller. Actually, he made good use of his skills when the Indian team went for a coaching stint to Korea and Japan in 1975 and returned stronger,” he said.
Srinivasa revealed that Chandrasekar’s first coaching stint was in 1999 when he was part of the coaching staff for the Tamil Nadu team for the Senior Nationals in Calicut (now Kozhikode).
Former National champion and coach S. Raman said he was a fighter all through his life. “He showed great fighting qualities be it on court and off-court battles with his life, running Chandra’s Academy and his run-ins with the Table Tennis Federation of India during his playing career. My one-year stint as his ward was quite fruitful as I reached the final of the Senior National championships in Jaipur in 1991,” he said.
Former National champion G. Jagannath wondered about the fate of Chandra’s Academy after his death. Despite his failing health, he visited his Academy regularly. “I am concerned about his Academy. In the last couple of years, we discussed a lot of things including preparing a blue-print for the future of TT in Tamil Nadu after it was split into two factions. We tried working out a compromise between the two units, but things didn’t work out,” he said.
According to Jagannath, Chandrasekar was one of the main players who helped in the Indian men’s team gaining promotion from Group II to Group I at the 1983 World championships in Tokyo. “He was outstanding,” said the 76-year-old who was then the team coach.
India’s top paddler A. Sharath Kamal said Chandrasekhar was a gifted sportsman and a coach. “Most importantly, he was hands-on as a coach,” said Sharath. Explaining further, Sharath narrated an incident when Chandrasekar walked up to him after he defeated Sathiyan in the South Zone National ranking tournament in 2017 in Visakhapatnam. “The way he analysed my game was wonderful and it made sense,” he said.
“My entire junior career and the medals I won there, I owe it completely to Chandra sir. It’s a personal loss,” said India’s star paddler G. Sathiyan. Sathiyan said the World junior team bronze the Indian boys’ team won in 2011 in Bahrain, and the singles and doubles gold he bagged in the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune and the singles bronze in Asian juniors in Bangkok were all due to his guidance. “The best part about Chandra sir was he didn’t change my game and instead asked me to work on my strengths: spin and placements. My foundation is strong and it is largely because of Chandra sir,” he said.