Arjuna award-winning former India table tennis player V Chandrasekhar died at a private hospital here on Wednesday due to COVID-19 related complications, family sources said. (More Sports News)
He was 64 and is survived by his wife and a son.
Chandra, as he was popularly known, was a three-time national champion and was the president of Tamizhaga Table Tennis Association and Director and head coach of the SDAT-Medimix TT Academy in the city.
The Chennai-born player, who had reached the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games in 1982, was also a successful coach.
His playing career was cut short in 1984 following a botched knee surgery at a hospital here which led to him losing mobility, speech and vision. He fought back to recover and served the game as a coach.
He also fought a legal battle against the hospital and got a verdict in his favour.
He was a three-time national champion and a gold medallist in BA (Economics) and Law at the time of the career-ending injury.
Subsequently, sheer willpower helped Chandra return to 70-80 per cent of his normal mobility and he decided to focus on training promising players.
According to a few paddlers who have played with him, Chandra was one of the most attractive players and took risks at crucial stages of the game to unsettle opponents.
Current Indian paddler G Sathiyan and former national champion S Raman were among his trainees. Table tennis ace A Sharath Kamal condoled the death of Chandrasekhar.
"We have lost a champion who fought death 37 years ago. Saddened to hear of the passing of V Chandrasekar Sir. Table Tennis as a sport has lost a great mentor, coach and an amazing player. He made the sport famous in the early 80's. Rest in Peace, Sir," Kamal tweeted.
We have lost a champion who fought death 37 years ago. Saddened to hear of the passing of V Chandrasekar Sir. Table Tennis as a sport has lost a great mentor, coach and an amazing player. He made the sport famous in the early 80's. Rest in Peace, Sir. ðð½ pic.twitter.com/120Pb2RVn4— Sharath Kamal OLY (@sharathkamal1) May 12, 2021
On his part, Sathiyan said, "Completely shocked and indeed a very personal loss to me and my family. Lost my long time childhood & former coach & Arjuna Awardee Chandrsekhar sir today...Your memories and teachings will always stay with me sir. RIP."
Completely shocked and indeed a very personal loss to me and my familyð¢ð¢
Lost my long time childhood & former coach & Arjuna Awardee Chandrsekhar sir today for Covidð¢
Your memories and teachings will always stay with me sirð¢— Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (@sathiyantt) May 12, 2021
"Playing with him for almost 14 years. From 1998 till 2012 I was with him. He let me play in my style. He was the one who always helped. He nurtured me. It is not only a loss for me, but for my family also," he added.
Raman, who was trained by Chandra, recalled his former coach as a very stylish and multi-talented player.
The table tennis fraternity in Chennai condoled his death, saying that the sport had lost a legend.