The table tennis fraternity of the country paid glowing tributes to T.D. Rangaramanujam, who passed away at Hyderabad on Sunday night.
Manjit Dua, who won all his three National titles under Ranga’s tenure, remembers him as a dominating personality, articulate and someone who could speak on any aspect of the game, be it technical or organisational. He commanded the respect of former ITTF president H. Roy Evans. He could get any event to India.
Recalling an incident that reflects Ranga’s astute observation, Dua said, ‘in the 1979 National final against V. Chandrashekhar, I lost the first game. At the changeover, I walked up to Mr. Hukam Singh. “Ranga, who was standing close by, said to me, “Manjit check the slope of the table and get it fixed. I can see you are committing several errors because of placement of the table.” I immediately asked the umpire to check the slope, if any. To my utter dismay, the umpires agreed that there was indeed a slope and corrected it. Thereafter, I won the title and thanked him for his help.”
Indu Puri, who won four of her eight National titles in Ranga’s tenure, said, “Ranga started table tennis in the country in the true sense. He helped several countries in the formation of their National federations.
“He was an administrator with tremendous abilities and ruled with an iron fist. A man of very strong likes and dislikes. His word carried weight even in ITTF.
“Though he did not interact much with the players, he kept track of their performance. I remember, he once told me, ‘I honour every invitation and never go where I am not invited’.”
Dhanraj Choudhury, the secretary of the TTFI, described Ranga as the most powerful man ever in Indian table tennis. “He was the only man to get two World championships (1952 in Mumbai and 1975 in Kolkata) when other sports could not imagine holding such an event due to lack of infrastructure and funds. “He was a visionary. I remember, when I met him first, I was 27. He asked me to assist him in the 1975 World championship and not waste time in umpiring. I learnt a great deal from him. His trust in my abilities is what I treasure today.”
Chaudhary also said, “not many are aware that Ranga witnessed 50 successive World table tennis championship and regretted not being in Paris for the last championship.”
S.P. Bagla, who succeeded Ranga as the TTFI president in 1980, remembered him as a “brilliant man with strong determination.”
Having interacted closely with him, Mr. Bagla described him as the “tallest pillar of table tennis in India. He devoted his life to table tennis.”