A salute to the sports doyen

A salute to the sports doyen
Highlights

The tennis fraternity in the country and, more so in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh, is in mourning. It feels like they have been orphaned on Thursday after having woken up with the tragic news of the demise of the fatherly figure of Raja Narasimha Rao, who seemed omnipresent in everything concerning tennis as the energetic go-to administrator for over five decades.

The tennis fraternity in the country and, more so in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh, is in mourning. It feels like they have been orphaned on Thursday after having woken up with the tragic news of the demise of the fatherly figure of Raja Narasimha Rao, who seemed omnipresent in everything concerning tennis as the energetic go-to administrator for over five decades.

If tributes are pourining in from all quarters it is on expected lines given that Raja Saab was the man for all seasons, who, as an energetic trail-blazer, was instrumental in the sport reaching the levels it has and the arrival of some gifted players, including S Narendranath, Vishnu Vardhan and Sania Mirza.

He was popularly revered as one of the Three Musketeers (the other two being Nawab Farkunda Ali Khan and SP Misra). They were the heart and soul of Andhra Pradesh Lawn Tennis Association (APLTA).

Such has been the overbearing persona of Narasimha Rao that in acknowledgement of his priceless contribution towards enlivening tennis in the State that saw the emergence of one gifted players, the newly carved out Telangana State Tennis Association (TSTA) in a wonderful thanksgiving gesture named him as its life president. He has also been a life vice-president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA).

Ever humble and forever rising to the task, particularly when his help was sought by fellow-administrators, coaches, support staff and players, he steered the APLTA ship for an incredible 46 years while serving as its Secretary uninterrupted from 1958 till 2006!

His dynamism was such that he won accolades for the manner he handled various positions in disciplines as varied as polo, rifle shooting and horse racing in most of which he was associated for long tenures.

It is difficult to see the emergence of any one man succeeding as an administrator in multiple disciplines. As a doyen he remains one-of-a-kind because he was a giant among sports administrators. He leaves behind a long-lasting legacy, one from which the future generations can take cue, emulate and grow in their respective careers.

Multiple posts

  • Life Vice-President, All India Tennis Association
  • Life President, Telangana State Tennis Association
  • Life President , Andhra Pradesh Lawn Tennis Association
  • Vice-President, Andhra Pradesh Olympic Association
  • Member of All India Council of Sports
  • President of Andhra Pradesh Riding Club
  • President of Hyderabad Riding Club
  • Vice-President of Polo Association
  • Hyderabad Race Club Steward for five terms.

Achievements

  • Won junior national tennis title at Hyderabad in 1941 partnering SM Sajjad
  • Represented International Club of India in Germany, Holland, Belgium and Sweden.
  • Honoured by Belgium Tennis Association as Hon Life member.
  • He won doubles title in Belgium partnering Sq Leader Verma; at Sweden partnering Ram Reddy.
  • He was the winner of State Pigeon Rifle Shooting Championship
  • First Indian to participate in the Steven Cup in USA
  • Elected as member of Asian Tennis Federation in charge of Finance & coaching
  • Indians Chef De Mission for Indo-China Cultural & Sports Events on China
  • Captain of India for Asian Nationals Cup at Malaysia
  • Manager for Indian junior team for World Tennis Cup USA & Switzerland
  • Was in to Turkey for ITF World Cup in 2004
  • Was special member from India in Davis Cup (India vs Spain)
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