Former table tennis national champion Chandrasekar passes away

Three-time National table tennis champion and International V. Chandrasekar passed away in Chennai on Wednesday due to COVID-19 related complications.

India international table tennis champion V. Chandrasekar. (File Photo)   -  V. GANESAN

Three-time national table tennis champion and former international paddler V. Chandrasekar passed away here on Wednesday due to COVID-19 related complications. He is survived by his wife Mala and 20-year-old son C. Sanjay, a final year engineering student.

The 63-year-old was admitted to a city hospital recently for coronavirus, after which he developed lung infection. Chandra, as he was popularly called, has groomed many top-level players including S. Raman, Arul Selvi, Chetan Baboor, N.R. Indu, M.S. Mythili, G. Sathiyan and teenager Preyesh Suresh Raj to name a few.

Chandra, who retired from State Bank of India, has been coaching young paddlers for the last two decades. Starting his coaching stint in early 2000 in YMCA (Royapettah), he established his Academy with support from the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu in Arumbakkam and later [now] in Mogappair.

IN PICTURES: Remembering V. Chandrasekar (1957-2021)

Chandra had a tumultuous journey especially after a botched- up surgery on his right knee when he was just 25 years old. He fought a legal battle with a reputed hospital and eventually won the case. Despite his failing health and limited mobility — his peripheral vision was affected due to the after-effects of the surgery — he continued to coach youngsters with the same enthusiasm as his playing days.

As a player, he was attacking, always willing to experiment and take risks. Whether  he was playing in local prize money tournaments or the National championships, people flocked to see him play.

At the international level, he tasted limited success. He reached the semifinals of the Commonwealth Championships in 1982 and was instrumental in guiding the Indian men’s team from Group II to I in the 1983 World championships in Tokyo.

READ: Players, coaches remember TT veteran V. Chandrasekar

After the Tamil Nadu Table Tennis Association split into two factions in 2018 — TNTTA and TTTA, Chandrasekar was made the president of TTTA. But he wasn’t entirely happy with the position and always spoke about unity in the TT fraternity.

In fact, he and G. Jagannath, another former National champion, prepared a blue-print for the future of TT in the State. “We told the two Units that they can fight the cases in court but hold tournaments as one Unit so that the players don’t get affected, but things didn’t work out,” said Jagannath.

Chandra's autobiography with Seetha Srikanth, ‘My fightback from Death Door’, was well received as it frankly recounted in quite detail certain important incidents in his playing career and his battle with the hospital among other things.

He wrote in his book: “There are times when I stumble on the footpath, and people have thought that I was drunk. That is when it hurts for it is not my fault.”

He was a trailblazer both as a player and a coach. His legacy will live on.

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