TT's one man army Ranga is no more
New Delhi, October 14: Veteran sport administrator and the only founding member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in India, T.D. Ranga Ramanujam, breathed his last at his Cuddalore home yesterday.
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).
Subsequent to his organisation of the two World championships in India, TDR had gained worldwide recognition and old-timers remember his quintessential parametres which helped him carve out new dimensions in the area of sport administration.
TDR, who is considered the father of Indian table tennis, was at the helm of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) as its president/secretary for four decades. He had also held the position of vice-president of the ITTF for a number of years. In fact, Ranga has been serving the ITTF in advisory capacity, besides being the life president of the Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU).
His contemporaries recall the difficulties he had faced in organising the two World Championships. But by sheer dint of hard work, enterprise, efficiency and energy he was able to accomplish the task with aplomb. Ranga was able to convince the powers-that-be to get the job done, both in Mumbai and Kolkata, which necessitated talking to then chief ministers Morarji Desai and Siddarth Shankar Ray, respectively.
Table tennis owes it lot to him because when he began the game in the early 50s it was still a nondescript sport in the country. His popularity had reached as far as China that he had the honour of being invited for an audience with no less a person than Mao 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.
In spite of beginning began his life in a humble, middle-class, orthodox family, the scale of achievement for Ranga in sports is phenomenal. Organising table tennis tournaments was his passion. The diligence and dedication ingrained in his approach had won him a distinctive status and after moving to New Delhi Ranga's ingenuity came to be appreciated by the government and other national level organizations.
It is difficult to identify another administrator of sport from this country to have earned so much goodwill both from the national and international community. Ranga, who was sharp even at this age, had a vast panorama of moments and memories to introspect and educate the modern controllers of sport. In more ways than one, Ranga is a unique personality, a one-man army so to say, evoking admiration, appreciation and affection.
D. R Choudhary
Table Tennis Federation of India