A Living Legend Capt Ramesh Gautam .
A Living Legend Capt Ramesh Gautam . A Pride of Meerut.A person whose 1ST love is Tennis A young, aspiring and enthusiastic teenager barely fourteen years old, started playing tennis in the year 1956, at Alexander Athletic Club (AAC), Meerut. The Government had then started RajKumari Amrit Kaur Tennis Coaching Scheme…., his love for Tennis drove him to join the Coaching and he became a temporary member of the Club and in 1958, Ramesh Gautam was given a permanent membership of the AAC because of his game at a nominal fee of Rs.50. The Club at that time had six Lawn courts and two Bajari(clay)courts. The area of the Club extended to where the Treasury exists in the Lower Court now. The standard of Tennis at AAC was supposed to be the best in U.P. The well-known players at that time were Mr. K.N.Banerji, a leading Criminal Lawyer of Meerut, Dr. K.K. Bhatnagar, Professor of Meerut College, Mr. K.K. Gupta, a businessman, Mr. Mathur (Gulle Babu) and Maj. Sheoraj Singh, Professor of Meerut College. Besides them, all the top administrative officials like, Commissioners and Judges played here regularly. Unfortunately, a top administrative officer also joined the Club and had some dispute with the Club Secretary while playing, due to which the Club had to surrender the Bajari Court area after a prolonged legal suit. Besides Ramesh Gautam, other prominent players of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur Coaching Scheme were Gopal Banerji, Prabhat Banerji, Beant Singh and now Retd. General J.S. Bhatnagar. After two years of Coaching, Ramesh Gautam won The All India Interstate Junior’s Championship beating Andhara Pradesh’s team at Trivandrum 1958-59, and under his Captaincy U.P. again won beating Bengal at Indore in 1959-60. During this period he also won the Junior’s Championship of Delhi State and Western U.P. Tennis Championship Aligarh, U.P. State Lawn Tennis Lucknow and Central India at Allahabad. Same year he got an opportunity to play against Ulf Schmidt of Sweden (ranked World number Eighth in Senior’s) at Allahabad and lost to him 6-1, 6-1 in Seniors. He was called twice for the trials, for the team selection to Europe by All India Tennis Association (AITA) for further training and playing tournaments. Despite beating Shyam Minotra in straight sets (6-0, 6-0), and Balram Singh at Delhi State championship Finals (6-3, 6-4), he was not selected and they were sent to Europe for further training. Even though he had never lost to these two players, but ultimately they both played for India in Davis Cup……… Just because he did not have a Godfather to back him up……. Was he not disappointed ????? But he did not lose hope and kept on soaring higher and higher… Hereafter, he stopped playing Competitive tournaments as he joined The Indian Army in 1963 and got a single opportunity to play in 1967 in Inter Services Championship and remained unbeaten. From 1963 onwards, for nearly two decades, he played at Meerut and remained unbeaten. Two of his winning trophies presented to him by General Mathew Thomas, are still displayed in the Main Hall at Whelers Club. In the year 1995, started a new phase in his life. He started playing Veteran’s Championships in 55+ and 65+ age groups till 2010. In 55+ age group, he won the following Championships: i. GVK National Championship twice at Hyderabad. ii. All India Hard Court Championship at Kakinada. iii. All India Hard Court Championship at Vishakhapatnam- there he was Honoured by the All India Seniors Tennis Association (AISTA) as the Best Player . iv. Karnataka State Championship at Bangalore. v. All India Hard Court Championship at Calcutta. In the year 2001, AITA made him a member of International Club of India to play in Columbus Cup, held in Delhi in which Fourteen countries (who were members of International Club) participated. The other members of the team were Akhtar Ali, Shyam Minotra and Daljeet Walia. In 65+ age group, he won the following Championship: i. International Tennis Federation (ITF) at Lucknow. ii. International Tennis Federation (ITF) at Delhi. In the year 2008, he went to Turkey as Captain of Team India in 65+ age group to participate in The World Cup held at Ali Bey Club, Antalya, Turkey. Other members of the team were Joydeep Mukherji (who was the winner of Wimbledon Juniors Championship in his days), Inderjit Singh and Parikh. In 75+ age group, he won Dhaveji All India Seniors Tennis Tournament held at Tirupati in 2016 and thereafter he bid adieu to his Passion, his First Love due to shoulder injuries…… Countless such events and Championships which he played and won remain unmentioned….Numberless are the titles that he Won but only the main ones have been highlighted here.. Not only Tennis….. he has been an All-rounder and winner of different sports like Table Tennis, Badminton, Swimming 100 mtrs event (Winner Juniors Championship, Meerut District in the year 1958 of all the games mentioned), Hockey and Cricket.. He stands out to be a True Sportsman in the real meaning of the word…. Though he has stopped playing tennis at the age of 79, people far and wide still remember him and his game. In March 2020, he was invited by Moradabad Tennis Association and Honoured for his game. Tennis remains to be his Passion and First Love……… He is a true Inspiration, Mentor and Guide to his friends, colleagues and budding players.……
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