The sports fraternity is deprived of a patron and a pleader for excellence in the demise of B. Sivanthi Adityan. A multi-faceted personality with a distinguished record in such diverse areas such as sports administration, business, industry, temple management and education, he was an iconic figure.
An aficionado of body-building, boxing and shooting — he excelled in skeet and trap events — sports was a passion for Adityan.
But it was as an administrator that he has left an indelible imprint.
At a time when it was an obsession for industrialists and politicians to capture the levers of power in popular sports, he opted to glamorise disciplines such as volleyball and kabaddi.
If volleyball enjoys a veneer of glamour today, it is largely due to Adityan’s energy and effort.
The part played by VFI in promoting the sport across the country needs no exaggeration. He also played a role in obtaining kabaddi a spot in the Asian Games.
Adityan’s dynamism coupled with persuasive skill helped him establish a rapport with the international administrators.
His equation with the President of FIVB, Reuben Acosta, IOC chief, Juan Antonio Samaranch and the OCA President, Al Ahmad Al Sabah, was enviable.
Every one of them offered Adityan a role in the international federations.
He held important positions such as Vice-President in the FIVB and AVC, and Chairman in the OCA Finance Commission.
Adityan was at the helm of the Indian Olympic Association from 1987 to 1996. This was an eventful phase. He was compelled to fight various forces, legally and diplomatically. He was the first, and till now, the only one from the South, to head the IOA.
His rise in the hierarchy was measured and gradual; it included a stint as the Chef-de-Mission for the 1978 Asiad in Bangkok.
For one who exemplified administrative efficiency, decorations and recognition came as a matter of course.
An Olympic Order of Merit for sports and education in 1995, Padma Shri in 2008, and the OCA Merit Award in 2010 at Guangzhou Asian Games all mirrored his impeccable stature in the world of sports.
At the State level, Adityan’s role was phenomenal. As President of Tamil Nadu Olympic Association, he crafted an illuminating chapter that led to the conduct of the 1995 SAF Games in Chennai.
With generous support from the State headed by Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, he ensured that the city acquired the mammoth state-of-the-art infrastructure, and upgrading the facilities at Madras Rifle Club and the TN shooting range in Alamadi.
Adityan was the guiding spirit behind the SDAT as a Vice-President. His interests did not confine to city. He encouraged the proliferation of sport and its infrastructure across the districts.
As Chairman of the Madras University Sports and Tournament Committee, he made it a point to be present at the award functions to honour the champion students.
Despite not being in the pink of health in recent years, Adityan kept in close touch with sports. He was deeply distressed by the happenings in IOA and was dismayed when IOC suspended the NOC.
“It is sad and depressing,” he observed. This underlined his emotional involvement with sport.