Home BEYOND THE LIMITS The youth at 82- It’s all about VR Iyer and his inspirational...

The youth at 82- It’s all about VR Iyer and his inspirational sporting journey

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A cricket player, tennis coach, innovator of new sporting techniques and an environmentalist- VR Iyer has donned all these hats in his eighty two years of life.

Where Heart Lies- VR Iyer and his cricket

Venkatraman Iyer- is a cricketer at heart. “I used to dream cricket, live cricket, imagine cricket…..”, VR Iyer stated.

Though belonging to the Southern part of India, VR Iyer is a true Mumbaikar. With cricket being the primary sport in Mumbai, Iyer started to play it in 1952. He was a high-rated player and used to captain the Khar Gymkhana Cricket Team. He played in the Senior Division of Kanga League with some of the legends of the game like Farokh Engineer, Nari Contractor, Vijay Manjrekar.

But being a mechanical engineer by profession, VY Iyer had to chose between cricket and his job. Consequently, he has to give up cricket as it demanded more time. But a sportsman is always a sportsman. And VR Iyer could not have lived more than a day without any sport.

As VR Iyer started Tennis….

While engaging himself in professional work, he started playing Table Tennis during his leisure. But it was Lawn Tennis that attracted him more. He learnt the game, started playing it and later initiated Iyer Tennis Foundation. Since 1980, this tennis coaching scheme has been beneficial for a number of amateur and professional players. Iyer proudly announced, “There are some cases at Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana, in which I have taught tennis to three generation of players in a single family.”

VR Iyer continues to play different sports at this age too. And he keeps on innovating certain sporting tools to help players ‘play alone’. He keeps on believing that “practice anytime, anywhere” is the only key to success.

He said, “Once Sachin Tendulkar saw my self-help cricket ball and was very impressed. Then Balwinder Sandhu also saw it and ordered 20+ balls for his academy. I have made similar balls for tennis, table tennis and pickleball also. I named them Magic Balls.”

VR Iyer’s One Rupee Sports Club

One Rupee Sports Club

It is with immense passion that Venkatraman Iyer dedicates his time for the betterment of society through sports. To serve the common mass, he conceptualised the idea of One Rupee Sports Club at Dharamveer Shambhaji Kreedangon at Santacruz in Mumbai. The ground has got a major transformation from a defunct municipal dispensary with dilapidated rooms to a community sports club.

In Iyer’s words, “After renovating the ground, I opened it to the local people with support from BMC. I approached all the well-wishers and they donated in cash or kind. That’s how this One Rupee Club started.”

No Stopping- Iyer to contribute to wheelchair sports

It is time now for Iyer to move forward. He has thought of developing Wheelchair Tennis and Wheelchair Cricket in various clubs of Mumbai. According to him, every person has the right to play, as sport inculcates positivity and fearlessness in life. “Sports keeps us busy; whenever we hit a ball or take a shot we need full concentration. That brings in the maximum energy in us. To spread this positive energy, I now has the mission to develop wheelchair sport at the fag end of my career,” Iyer quoted.

VR Iyer- An Optimistic Environmentalist

On the other side of his personality, VR Iyer is an environmentalist who wants everyone to work towards zero garbage. He started this mission 40 years back; since then he  ‘keeps himself busy’ in making and designing items from wastes. Recently, he exhibited all his products in a ‘ Street Exhibition’ at Santacruz. Talking about the exhibition he said, “It is an eye opener and will spread the message about how we all can make simple items from wastes and reduce garbage to zero.”

At 82, VR Iyer, does not want a serene life; rather prefers an active one. With his cricket, tennis and other sports he refreshes his body and with his handmade objects he energises his mind. A true leader who has gone beyond the limits, Venkatraman Iyer is indeed an inspiration to many generations to come.

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PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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