Manjit Singh Dua
Table Tennis Player
The player who had dominated the Indian table tennis for the longest ever period is Manjit Singh Dua, the stylish lefthander from New Delhi were he was born and raised. There has hardly been any player in the annals of Indian table tennis who has enjoyed such a long innings.
Embarking on the international scene, Manjit Dua has left a long trail of personal glory with achievements galore in his career. He carved out many notable. victories with his close-tothe table fast attacking game. His variety of `serves' backed by nimble footwork, accurate and sharp anticipation upset the apple cart of many a heavyweight in the game.
Early in his life Manjit might have derived some inspiration from his elder brother Rajinder Singh Dua who played the game. But it soon became obvious that young Dua was destined to scale greater heights. Forgetting other frivolities which occupy sometimes a growing mind, Manjit put his heart and soul in the game and concentrated on it in the right earnest.
Slowly Dua built up his confidence as well and put his game on a sound footing. Now he started executing good strokes. He developed accuracy on both backhand and forehand. His drives were powerful and his blocks perfect, leaving the ball dead on the table in some obscure corner,
Dua soon caught the public eye. In 1967 he was selected in -the Delhi table tennis team. This was the first recognition of his talent. From then on Dua went on from strength to strength, bringing in more depth to his strokes, polish and power. The result was that now Dua was considered a. star on the national table tennis circuit.
He got the real break in 1973 when he was chosen to lead Delhi for the first time. The honour perhaps inspired the young star so much that he steered himself to success after success. He first captured the North Zone table tennis title at Jalandhar with- sparks of brilliance., But. more was yet to follow that. year. Following up his North Zone success, he caused a flutter when he overpowered Mir Kasim Ali,: the reigning champion, to crown himself as the new table tennis champion. Dua was the first Sikh player to have achieved that honour:
It would be safe enough to say that from that year onwards, Dua went: on to win name and fame in the field of table tennis both at home and abroad.
Next year although Dua failed to retain the national title, he on account of. his good performance throughout the year was ranked number one in the country. Dua failed still next year despite speculation in table tennis circles that he would emerge champion. And he became.. the champion in 1976. Dua kept leading Delhi in all the major tournaments. In 1974 and :80 under his captaincy, Delhi won the team title in the National Table Tennis Championships. .
In 1979 Manjit once again wrested the national table tennis title for the third time. All through the years, he had been defeated only in the semis or final. Never throughout his life has he been upset in the earlier rounds. For instance, in 1981, when the country once again expected him to win the title for the, fourth time, he succumbed to Kamlesh Mehta in, the semis who later easily lost to V.Chandershekhar in the final
Since 1973 when Dua became the national champion far the first time, he has been representing India in all the major table tennis tournaments all over the globe. In the Commonwealth T.T.Championship at Bombay (India) in February, 1982, Dua won a bronze medal in the men's singles event. He has taken part in all Waterloos for his country, in the Asian, the Commonwealth and the World Table Tennis Championships. People have often wondered at his peak form, psychological built-up with extreme physical fitness which he has maintained for an incredibly long time. Declared as the best Sportsman of Delhi 1974 besides ranked number one in the country, Dua was also awarded the Arjuna Award the same year.
Manjit Dua's performance at a glance:
1. National champion in 1973, 76 & 79. Ranked Number one in 1974 in the country.
2. Had been representing Delhi since 1967. Captained Delhi in the National T.T. Championships in 1974 & 80 which won the team title.
3. Had won all major tournaments of the country.
4. Captaining Delhi in all the major championships since 1973.
5. Represented India in the Asian T.T. Championships at China, DPR Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Calcutta and Indonesia and the Commonwealth T.T. Championship at Cardiff (Wales), Melbourne (Australia),' Edinburg (Scotland) and Bombay (India) and the World Championships at Calcutta (India). Birmingham (U.K.), Jarajevo (Yugoslavia), Pyongyong (DPR Korea), and Novisad (Yugoslavia)
6. Played in international tournaments in the USA, Canada, Germany, Iran, Swedan, Nepal, Japan and South Korea.
7. Best Sportsman of Delhi -in 1974. ,
8. Winner of Arjuna Award in 1974.
9. Bronze medal winner in the men's singles in the Commonwealth T.T. Championship at Bombay in 1982.