Former Table Tennis player and three-time national champion Venugopal Chandrasekhar passed away at the age of 63, in Chennai, on Wednesday, due to Covid-19. Following his retirement, the Arjuna Awardee took up coaching and since then produced several successful players, like Sathiyan Gnanasekaran.
One of the most successful Table Tennis players in the 1980’s, Venugopal Chandrasekhar gained immense popularity during his heydays due to his aggressive game. The Chennai-based paddler, who won three national titles and was also a Commonwealth Games semi-finalist, breathed his last on Wednesday, in Chennai, at the age of 63, passing away owing to Covid-19
In 1984, he received the honorary Arjuna Award for his contribution to the sport and was destined for higher achievements. But, days later, while undergoing a knee surgery, something went horribly wrong as it left him partially disabled and blind. The tragic incident cut his career by quite a few years.
However, he continued to serve Table Tennis as he took up coaching and later on, having opened an academy to groom future stars. Chandrasekhar started coaching classes in various clubs before establishing his own academy - SDAT Medimix Chandra TT Coaching Centre. It was here that some of India’s top paddlers were nurtured, including Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, V Srinivaan and RS Raja.
“It feels like a personal loss to me. I have trained under him from 1998 to 2012 and my mind is blank at this point of time. If there is one person who can claim to have a fighting spirit --- it has to be Chandra sir. Despite seeing so much hardships, Chandra sir never took a step back. It is sad that he fell victim to this dreaded covid-19 and I am just heartbroken,” said Gnanasekaran Sathiyan to TOI.