Former national table tennis champion Manmeet Singh Walia died on Monday in Montreal, Canada. He was suffering from ALS (amiotrophic lateral sclerosis) for almost two years. In this disease the muscles become weak and affect the movement of the body.
Manmeet was 58 years old. He is survived by two daughters besides his wife. He also came to Coimbatore for his treatment. Manmeet was one of the most prolific players of the 1980s and became the national champion by defeating S Sriram in the men’s singles final in Hyderabad in 1989. He reached the finals of the National Championship for four consecutive years since 1981 but could not win the title.
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After making his debut for India with eight-time national champion Kamlesh Mehta at the Asian Championships 1980, he played in several international competitions. The Indian team at that time included Manjeet Singh Dua, B Arun Kumar and V Chandrasekhar besides Manmeet and Kamlesh. The Indian team lost 4-5 against North Korea despite a 4–2 lead.
Recalling the days spent with Manmeet, Kamlesh said that he was one of the best players in those days. Kamlesh said, “Me and Manmeet made their debut together at the Asian Championships in Kolkata. Manmeet, Chandra and Arun had a chance to play against North Korea. Manmeet gave India an edge by winning both his matches. India finished fifth in the championship. ‘
Indian table tennis federation general secretary MP Singh expressed grief over Manmeet’s death, saying it was a sad moment for the entire table tennis world. He said, “When I used to play, I talked to him as a player and met him a few years ago when he came to Delhi. I lost a good friend. ‘