In a generation where athletes make themselves unavailable for a contest because of just a niggle, Dipak Nambiar – grandson of veteran Tamil cinema actor MN Nambiar – has no qualms about competing in the Open Category despite being a disabled man.
The home supporters, who thronged the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) courts to cheer for local favourites Saurav Ghosal (men’s top seed) and Joshna Chinappa (women’s top seed), stayed until the very end of Day Four and watched Dipak’s pre-quarterfinal clash against fifth seed Colonel Vikram Aditya in awe.
“A lot of parents brought their kids, who are top juniors in squash, to see my game. If one person among them can point at me and say ‘If he can give everything knowing his shot at victory is negligible, I have no excuses to not try’, I would be pleased,” added the 50-year-old, who picked up a squash racket barely a couple of months ago.
While there are separate tournaments for para athletes in badminton and tennis – sports which the Tamil Nadu-based had tried his hand at – there is no such provision in squash. So, Dipak, a project manager in a tech company in Chennai, decided to punch above his weight.
“Squash is the second-fastest sport in the world. I was eager to take part in competitions. I got in touch with the organisers and asked them if there is a special category for disabled people. They responded in the negative. So, I enquired if I could take part in the Open event. They were OK with it and here I am,” revealed Dipak, also a participant at the Century Bangalore Squash Open last month.
A proud representative of the disabled community, Dipak trains under national coach Laxman Valliappan and Cosmopolitan Club coaches Narayanan and Ganesh. He aims to keep his family’s flag high through his achievements in squash.
“Nambiar taught me about physical fitness at a very young age. I want his name to live forever. He was like a father to me,” signed off an emotional Dipak.