When Dhyan Chand was goalkeeper of the women's team

Nagendra Kumar Jain, a former judge, reminisces the moments he shared with the legendary Dhyan Chand as a young badminton player.

"There is money in cricket but in other sports, officials have power and they can misuse things to oblige certain people," says Nagendra Kumar Jain.   -  Stan Rayan

He has played friendly games with hockey legend Dhyan Chand and has watched track greats Milkha Singh and Makhan Singh sweat it out at a camp at Mount Abu many decades ago.

As a young badminton player, Nagendra Kumar Jain, a former judge, was in close contact with many sporting greats.

“Dhyan Chand was the coach of the men’s team in mid-1950s at Mount Abu but one day, he decided to be the goalkeeper of the ladies team. And we, badminton players and other youngsters, played against them,” said N. K. Jain, the former Chief Justice of the Madras and Karnataka High Court, in a chat with Sportstar on the sidelines of the 41st National masters badminton championship here on Friday.

Jain, from Rajasthan, in 1955, was the top seed at the Junior Nationals. Many global badminton stars came to Jaipur to participate in tournaments then.

“We had Denmark’s Erland Kops (the seven-time All England champion) and Rudy Hartono (who broke Kops’ record and won the All England title eight times) playing in Jaipur in many invitation tournaments,” he said.

“I used to speak to them whenever they came down to Jaipur. I used to serve with my right hand and play with my left… that was a unique thing so everybody knew me. Though I was not number one, I was noticed and remembered by world-class players because of this.”

His love for badminton brought him to the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here to watch the Masters Nationals.

Jain was recently appointed by the Rajasthan Sports Council to study how the Justice Lodha Committee’s recommendations, which the Supreme Court recently implemented fully to reform cricket in India, could be implemented in the various sports associations in Rajasthan.

“All the national and State sports associations over the country should implement the Lodha Committee’s recommendations,” said the 74-year-old who is settled in Jaipur.

“There is money in cricket but in other sports, officials have power and they can misuse things to oblige certain people.”

Sportspersons should be involved in running sports but players’ union should not be running sports federations, felt Jain who had once been an observer of the Indian team at the All England Championship.

“We can have one or two athletes in a sports association because players understand players better,” he said.

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