Sudeshna Chakravorty

For The Love Of Table Tennis

Sudeshna Biswas, a national level table-tennis player who almost lost her knee, made a comeback and represented India at the Commonwealth Games. She has successfully established her business Kiddie Gym, USA for tennis.

Born in a sports family, it was pre-determined that she would be a sports woman when she grows up. By the age of 15, she bagged several medals at the State and National Level Table Tennis Tournaments. In a state like Bengal, thickly populated with Indian table tennis players, it was a marriage of two – talented, and the support of the who’s who to get a job there. Thus, like many other prominent players who left the state for employment opportunities, she got a job offer from the Indian Acct. General Office, Tamil Nadu as an auditor. More importantly, before she finished her graduation. 

Yet, for a middle-class Indian family having a well-educated family background (grandfather who was a professor in Sanskrit and has translated the Amar Khayam into Sanskrit), it was for sure that education, at least till graduation, if not more, had to be achieved. Thus, along with the task of maintaining the sporting achievements she had to continue her studies and complete her graduation from her native place. The journey to a new environment in a state with a different language, people and practices, was not easy, especially as she was born and brought up in a small town in West Bengal and her education was in her mother tongue - Bengali. However, determination and family support played a huge role here.

In the year 1999, she represented West Bengal in the National Games. In the pre-quarter final match, while hitting a topspin, she twisted her knee. It was the worst moment of her life, as she could not feel anything below her left knee. Doctors and physiotherapists told her that it was the end of her table tennis career. However, she was determined not to give up. After six months of bed rest, she started her exercise to come back. The YMCA physiotherapists in Chennai helped her this time. With daily physiotherapy and the support of the doctors and paramedics coupled with the grace of God, it took nearly another six months for her to start playing table tennis again. However, as advised by doctors, there were restrictions as another twist could have paralysed her for life. 

Keeping in mind the weakness, she took a step a day and came back to the competitive arena. Achievement came after a year and after rigorous training. It was an offer to play for India in the 2001 Commonwealth Games, New Delhi. Meanwhile, she had won a number of laurels for her office at the national level and inter-institutional level; this made her department feel proud for having recruited her - as a sportswoman.

A couple of years after her marriage she had to move to the USA in 2005 due to her husband’s short-term project. She had to take leave without pay from the Government of India office. However, their stay in the US was extended due to her husband’s occupational responsibilities. As time went by, she was pregnant with her first child, in the year 2006. When she was due with her second child in 2007, then came the bad news. Her office informed her that, if she cannot come back and resume work immediately, she would lose her job. As she was in her early stages of a complicated pregnancy, the doctor did not give her permission to travel to India. By the time she, her husband and kids came back to India, she lost her job. 

Broken from the inside and clueless, she thought, "What’s next?" Her husband and she planned to return to the US as it was no point staying back home. While the initial days were tough supporting the two small children, God again showered his blessing on her, and she thought, “Why not teach table tennis to her kids?” She started a table tennis training centre with three kids - focusing on training her kids. It was tough to start a centre, especially being an Indian woman. But, she was determined to succeed.

She established her company known as Kiddie Gym, USA - a Table Tennis training Centre for different age groups. After 2 years of toiling Kiddie Gym, USA is now a big name in New Jersey. With the grace of God, she has opened eight such centres under her organization. In the year 2016, she and her students participated in the US Open Table Tennis Championship. 
Simultaneously, serving the society also was in her mind. In her own small way, she introduced ping pong or yoga for mentally challenged children (with Autism). The motto - "When they smile, God smiles." Thus, she has a Table Tennis Centre that uplifts the morale and fitness of the children in the USA but also makes differently abled children smile. She believes in the ultimate motto - service to society, service to God.


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