Table Tennis’ One-Man Army

Veteran sport administrator and the founding member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) T. D. Ranga Ramanujam died recently, in Hyderabad. TDR, as he is fondly remembered in table tennis fraternity, was 95 and is survived by his wife and five children.

Ranga, known for his administrative skills, was instrumental in organising two World Table Tennis Championships in Mumbai (1952) and Kolkata (1975). TDR, who is considered as the father of Indian table tennis, was at the helm of TTFI as its secretary and president for four decades. He was also the vice-president of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) for a number of years. Till his death, he had been serving ITTF in an advisory capacity, and was also president-for-life of the Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU).

“Table tennis owes a lot to him because in early 50s it was a nondescript sport in the country. His popularity had reached as far as China and he had the honour of being invited for an audience with Mao-Tse-tung and Chou-En-Lai in 1952. Ranga also had the distinction of taking the Indian team, the first sporting outfit in the world to visit China in 1950,” said TTFI secretary general D. R. Choudary.

“The diligence and dedication inbuilt in his approach had won him a distinctive status and after moving to New Delhi, for the game’s administrative purpose, Ranga’s ingenuity was appreciated both by the government and other national-level organisations. It is difficult to identify another sport administrator from this country who have earned so much goodwill both from the national and international community. In more ways than one, Ranga is a unique personality, a one-man army so to say, evoking admiration, appreciation and affection.”

J. R. Shridharan