By Arjun Bhagat
Dates: 21st & 22nd of April, 2023
The fourth International Club vs Bangalore Club Tennis fixture was held on the 21st & 22nd of April this year. The matches in various age group categories were fiercely fought on court but in the true spirit of sportsmanship coupled with great bonhomie off it. The IC mantra of ‘handshake across the net and friendship across the ocean’ was followed to the hilt with new friendships being forged and old ones renewed.
The two-day event saw competitive and entertaining tennis matches which were played on both synthetic and clay courts. Some matches were tantalisingly close, especially on the last day when the young guns of Bangalore Club pulled out all stops to close in on the considerable lead which the IC had established after the first day’s matches. One of the duels which stood out was between the IC doubles pair of Aditya Khanna and Swarandeep Singh.
Dhodi versus Ujwal Ponappa and Anup Deviah of the Bangalore Club in the 80 + category. The IC duo were on the cusp of winning the match with a few match points in their favour – but tennis is often unpredictable, and as we know fortunes can change unexpectedly and that’s what happened with the Bangalore Club team pulling off a close victory in what was a closely fought and never-ending tie breaker.
While the focus of the fixture was naturally tennis there were other highlights which are so very important for a great event and prime among them is good food and the spirit of hospitality – and to the credit of the Bangalore Club, I can personally vouch that the savouries and sweets were mouth wateringly delectable – the hosts ensured that the hungry tennis armies and guests was well fed throughout the two days even during the matches – some of us even thought that it was a conspiracy to lull our tennis instincts! But jokes aside the food was delicious and hospitality excellent, and all the players and guests savoured the Kesari Baath, Khara Baath (Upma), Omelette Sandwiches, Cakes, Malai Chicken and Paneer Tikka, Aloo Bonda, Pakoras, Grilled Vegetables – and these were just the snacks let’s not start on the dinner menu!.
In true sportsman spirit and camaraderie dinner and drinks on the very rainy 21st evening was hosted by the Bangalore Club to welcome the IC members. It was a happy and jovial get- together with Vikram Anand, Charu Sharma, Sanjeev Kassal and others regaling the group with many tennis anecdotes and stories. The President of the IC, Sanjeev Kassal also warmly welcomed the new members who played their first IC event, namely, Tarush Bagai who incidentally is now IC’s youngest member in India, Swarandeep Singh Dhodi and your’s truly.
After two days and 22 matches, the final scores were tied at eleven matches all, which was a befitting result of a close encounter with the elegant rolling trophy being housed in the historic Bangalore club for the year.
Almost 40 tennis players and other members enjoyed the camaraderie and friendship across the net. The prize distribution on the 22nd night was made even more special with Charu Sharma doing the honours as the Master of Ceremonies. The event was graced by our esteemed IC and Bangalore Club members Mr Atul Gurjar and Mr Krishna Bhupathi who was also the special guest and gave away the prizes at the Gala dinner. In addition to the team event, there were special prizes for the best pair KP & Manoj Masand and the sportsmanship award to Charu Sharma. The IC also presented the Bangalore Club with a salver in appreciation for holding the event and their warm hospitality.
After the successful culmination of the tournament, Sanjeev Kassal, President of IC, India who along with the executive committee comprising of Vikram Anand, Anshul Bagai and Jaideep Bhatia thanked Bangalore Club and its management for hosting the fixture, “ I want to thank the Bangalore Club for hosting the event and to our executive committee member Mr. Charu Sharma for all his help and to Mr. Dharam Amin for his indefatigable spirit from the side-lines.” Mr. Kassal also thanked the main sponsors of the event, HSBC and all those who participated in the event and also stated that, “the IC is a growing family in the south and a lot of the Bangalore Club players are now IC members as well and we’ll be organising many other events as we gear up to celebrate 75 years of IC India in 2026”
The IC members who participated at the Bangalore event were; Aditya Khanna, Arjun Bhagat, Anshul Bagai,Tarush Bagai, Swarandeep Singh Dhodi, Vikram Anand Capt Vinod Mittal, Arjun Sawhney, Rahul Khanna, Sanjeev Manchanda, Vineet Aggarwal, Ashish Chandiok and Sanjeev Kassal.
From the Banglore club the players were Abhijit Tagore, Akshay Murthy, Aryan Sadhwani, Charu Sharma, Devesh Sharma, Dr. BR Sandeep, Hari Shetty, Jayant Dev, Kanishk Gupta, Kartik Raju, Kedar Gopaldas, Mahesh Rao, Pradeep Jagannath, Prathik Harish, Raghu Krishnananda, BN Rajshekhar, Srinath K, Vinay Singh, Rahul Tadimalla. Prem Arora, Arhanth Dinesh, KP Balaraj, Manoj Masand, Karan Pravindra, Ujwal Ponappa, Anup Deviah, Vivek Ranthan, Manik Oberoi, Aditya Aiyar, Rohit Suryavanshi, Prem Arora, Pravindra Velu, Vishnu Moola, Arjun Alva and Dheeraj Shetty.
The main organisers for the event from the Bangalore club were Charu Sharma (IC Member), Vikram Bihani (Chairman Sports, Bangalore Club), Dharamraj Amin (IC Member and Bangalore Club Sports Sub-Committee Member), Mrs. Annabelle Manwaring (President Bangalore Club), Mr. Kenneth Pinto (Vice President Bangalore Club), Mr. Ujwal Ponappa (Bangalore Club Sports Sub-Committee Member), Dr. BR Sandeep (Bangalore Club Sports Sub-Committee Member).