A genuine all-rounder, kho-kho player and coach Ramesh Waralikar passes away at 83

Updated: May 09, 2020, 08:10 IST | Subodh Mayure | Mumbai

Former and current players hail ex-national level kho-kho player, coach and stats guru Ramesh Waralikar, 83, who passed away on Thursday in the city.

Former national kho-kho player and coach Ramesh Waralikar
Former national kho-kho player and coach Ramesh Waralikar

Former national-level kho-kho player and coach Ramesh Waralikar, 83, who served the game in different capacities over five decades, passed away at a city hospital on Thursday.

Prolonged illness

Waralikar, who had been unwell for the last couple of years, went on to become one of the finest kho-kho statisticians, given his vast knowledge of all the players and records associated with it.

Shrirang Inamdar, 65, the youngest kho-kho player to be honoured with the Arjuna Award at the age of 18, recalled his association with Waralikar during Maharashtra's victorious campaign in the national championship at Patiala in 1974. "I was leading Maharashtra for the first time and Waralikar sir was our team manager. His expertise and guidance helped us win that title. He was a genuine all-rounder. He served the game as a player, coach, selector, umpire, administrator, commentator and statistician. He was like Google. You could ask him anything and he would give you accurate details. Back then, without the internet, he manually kept every record of the game," Inamdar told mid-day from Pune.

A game of kho-kho being played at Dantewada village in Chhattisgarh. PIC FOR REPRESENTATION PURPOSE ONLY
A game of kho-kho being played at Dantewada village in Chhattisgarh. Pic for representational purpose only

India's women's kho-kho team captain Sarika Kale, who led the country to a gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, said Waralikar would readily share his kho-kho knowledge with everyone.

'Most helpful person'

"Though Waralikar sir was not associated with our team as a coach or manager or in any official capacity, whenever we would meet him, he would readily share tips with us. He had a unique style of explaining the nuances of the game. He analysed opposition teams well and always advised us on strategies," said Kale.

Fellow statistician Arun Deshpande doffed his hat to Waralikar. "He is the originator of kho-kho statistics in India. It's a challenge to maintain statistics of a sport that is not well documented but seeing his passion, we were inspired to continue collecting and preserving data associated with the game," said Deshpande, who has been working on kho-kho statistics with Waralikar since 1970.

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