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Home > City Resources > Sports & Recreation > Personalities > Chandrakant Pawar

 Chandrakant Pawar

Chandrakant Pawar - A top notch squash coach

Chandrakant Pawar amidst his glittering trophiesFrom a relatively modest beginning as a tennis ball boy in Bandra Gymkhana to becoming one of the most sought after squash coaches in Mumbai, the rise of Chandrakant Pawar is a classic example of a rags-to-riches story. The short and stocky Pawar could not pursue his formal education by force of circumstances and worked as a ball boy in Bandra Gymkhana where his father Sajjan Pawar was also employed as a gardener.

“I used to play tennis with other ball boys in the evening,” Pawar absorbed in practice sessions reminisces Pawar. Lady luck beckoned him when he was offered the job of a marker in Otters Club by a billiards marker Jeevan who was his father Sajjan's close friend. Pawar worked as a billiards marker at the Otters club for nearly 7 years before manager Rodrigues proposed the game of squash. Pawar replied in affirmative and started learning squash under the guidance of coach, Faiz Mohammed. For the next 7 years, Pawar worked as the assistant of coach Faiz who taught him the tricks of the trade.

With the help of squash lovers like Ashgar Patel and Shishir Shirgaonkar, Pawar participated in countrywide tournaments and became a great all-round player. He made phenomenal progress and won the National Singles Championship within the first three years of training under coach Faiz. Victory at the premier level of the game became a regular exercise for the ambitious Pawar who cantered to win 9 National titles, 10 Western India titles and 5 Maharashtra State titles. Pawar reckons the victory over Shyamlal Verma of Delhi in the final of the Nationals Singles title in 1983 as the most satisfying moment of his career.

When asked to name his favorite squash player, Pawar said, “I had great admiration for Anil Nair of CCI who was known for his tremendous speed in the game. ”Blessed with the opportunity to explore different horizons, Pawar taught squash to young aspirants in different clubs of Dubai. He had also given coaching lessons in squash to Bollywood stars like Sunny Deol at Searock Hotel before shifting loyalties to Leela Hotel.

At the moment, Pawar heads the Indian Squash Professional (ISP) Association as its Director. Under his guidance, the ISP has successfully staged more than 40 competitive tournaments and numerous free coaching camps for youngsters in different clubs like CCI, Otters, Leela, etc. Pawar has coached many promising youngsters like Gaurav Juneja, Rohan Juneja, Parth Joshi, Abhijit Kukreja, Juniad Nathani, Deepali Anvekar, Priyanka Yadav and Paul Ferriera who have regularly grabbed the limelight in the state and national level tournaments. He believes that Deepali Anvekar and Chennai based Joshna Chinappa have all the ingredients to win the National Championships. Commenting on Manish Chotrani who crowned himself as a national champion for the first time at the age of 28, Pawar said, “Chotrani has a good returnable game and his supreme fitness plays a very important role in competitions.”

Reflecting on the prevailing scenario, Pawar feels that squash tournaments should be organized in large numbers with necessary assistance from the corporate houses. Pawar reasons, “Public squash courts with qualified coaches should be established to spread the game among the masses. It can be also be built along the lines of the SRAM (Squash Racket Association of Maharashtra) courts at the Andheri Sports Complex.” Pawar also asserts that squash coaches should devote ample time to young wards, while children should work hard to exell at the premier level of the game. When asked to divulge his plans for the future, Pawar said, “I want to produce at least one world champion. If Pakistan can produce so many world champions, then why can't we ?”

By: Wasim Siddiqui
Vinayak Prabhu


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