New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) T.D. Ranga Ramanujan, one of India's erstwhile top sports administrators and founding member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), passed away Monday at the age of 95.
He died at his son's place in Hyderabad in the wee hours of Monday.
Ranga, as he is fondly remembered in the table tennis fraternity, is survived by his wife and five children, including three daughters and two sons.
Ranga was instrumental in organising two World Table Tennis Championships in Mumbai (1952) and Kolkata (1975), at a time when not many could think of staging major international championships.
"He died due to age related illness more than anything else. He stayed fit throughout his life and attended most of the Olympics and World Championships since the 1940s," Ranga's youngest son Ramdas told IANS from Hyderabad.
His passion for the game was such that he defied age to attend the London Olympics last year.
Ranga, 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. He had been serving as an advisor to ITTF besides being the life president of the Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU).
His contemporaries recall the difficulties he had faced in organising the World Championships. But by sheer dint of hard work, enterprise, efficiency and energy he was able to accomplish the task with aplomb. He was able to convince then chief ministers of Bombay state and West Bengal - Morarji Desai and Siddarth Shankar Ray, respectively - to get the job done.
"I vividly remember he did not sleep a wink during the Calcutta championships," recalled the sixty-year-old Ramdas.
Table tennis owes a lot to him because when he began the game in the early 1950s 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 Zedong and Zhou Enlai 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 his life in an humble, middle-class, orthodox family, the scale of achievement for Ranga is phenomenal. 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 organisations.