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COVID claims Sultan of Andhra TT




New Delhi, October 31: S.M. Sultan, senior vice-president of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), passed away today afternoon in a hospital at Vijayawada, where he was getting treated for COVID-19.  He was 61 and is survived by his son and a daughter.


His burial was to take place at his native place, Machilipatnam, later this evening even as his daughter is expected to arrive from Australia tomorrow.  


Tragedy struck the Sultan family 10 days ago when his mother became the first COVID victim. Even before they could recover from the shock, Sultan, his wife Lubana Moosavi and son Javed Moosavi were all admitted to the hospital together. Unfortunately, she died last evening after failing to respond to the treatment. Javed, too, is on a ventilator and said to be in a critical condition. (Javed, two, died a day later).


TTFI president Dushyant Chautala said in a condolence message that there cannot be a terrible tragedy than this. “I lost a good friend, an able administrator and a very good organizer. His wisdom and knowledge-sharing had always come in handy for us in TTFI and we will miss him badly. I pray to God to give his daughter and other family members the courage to bear this loss.”




S.M. Sultan welcomes TTFI Secretary General M.P. Singh with his trademark smile during the Senior Nationals in Hyderabad early this year.


Recalling his interaction with Sultan, a grief-stricken Secretary General, M.P. Singh, said the news was surreal for him. “We knew he was hospitalized and were hopeful that he would come out unscathed. But I couldn’t digest the double blow (his wife’s death last night and his this afternoon). I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and pray to Wahe Guru to give courage to the other members of his family at this juncture. I lost a great friend and a guide.”


D.R. Choudhary, the adviser of TTFI, summed it up aptly: “How can God be so cruel? In one sweep, he has taken away the lives of three of a family. The fourth is battling for his life. We all join in our prayers to spare the son at least. My deepest condolences to the deceased family members and pray to the Almighty to help the departed souls rest in peace.    


Sultan’s association with table tennis goes as far back as a junior player who represented the then undivided Andhra Pradesh as a state player and then when he played for his University. Even after completing his law degree and becoming a successful lawyer, his passion for the sport never withered.


In fact, he pursued his passion with avid interest that he started helping the Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association in its administration works on a routine basis, becoming a protégé of Azam Khan, then secretary of the state association. Sultan’s amiable nature and contacts helped the players immensely as he was able to procure tables and other equipment for different centres in the state to promote the sport.


Soon after he became secretary of the Association, he was instrumental in regularly organizing state and national and international competitions, besides staging them in other cities like Vizag and Vijayawada. Sultan’s knack for picking the right team of people to work with him endeared him to all because he was meticulous in his planning and execution, be it a small event or a major one.


The World Junior Championships, which the TTFI organized in Hyderabad in 2013 in association with Andhra TTA, came for praise from Adham Sharara, then chief of the International Table Tennis Federation. Sultan and his team did a fine job and it showed his ability to organize an event of such a magnitude.


A successful lawyer, handling both civil and criminal cases, was always loyal to his clients and cared for them. He could have become a great professional if only he had left Vijayawada and moved either to Hyderabad or New Delhi, but the diehard table tennis fan in him never allowed Sultan to compromise with the sport.


A lot of players had benefited during his secretary-ship prior to the bifurcation of the Andhra state in 2014 and after as he and the state association was instrumental in producing players of international calibre like SFR Snehit, Karnam Spoorthy , and Sridevi, to name a few.


His loss will be mourned by the entire table tennis fraternity in both Andhra and Telangana besides all those who had known him personally.