The king with bleeding heart

AT 42, he is – by a country mile – Zimbabwe’s best table tennis player. But Vikram Singh’s heart is bleeding.

Singh has won everything the local game has to offer since breaking onto the scene in the 1990s and will be out to defend three titles at the second edition of the Chinese Ambassador’s Cup in Harare next week.

However, the veteran – who plans to defend the men’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles Ambassador’s Cup titles – feels hollow.

“In all the finals I have played over the last two years my opponent has been Brian Chamboko. He has great potential but I have always had the better of him.

“Winning is really not a big deal, as our standards are not so great. The most important thing for me is to develop into a better player. But you can only grow if you play against someone better than you and personally I feel I have been stagnant,” Singh explained.

Singh has come across some promising players over the years but feels the Zimbabwe Table Tennis Union has not done enough to harness and develop talent.

“The talent is there. Of late, I have come across a player from Mutare by the name of Mlungisi Moyo and he has great potential.

“Others like Tererai Simba, Takunda Mudzinganyama, Shabani Mulenga and Tatenda Mumvuma are from the younger lot and have lots of potential too.

“However, these youngsters need exposure and the Zimbabwe Table Tennis Union has to take a leading role in making sure that these youngsters are sharpened,” he said.

Singh, a lawyer, continued: “I was born in India but lived in Tanzania since I was two, for six years, and thereafter in Zimbabwe. When I was 18 I was ranked number one in Zimbabwe, this was in 1993. I continued to be number one until 1995 when I left for India to pursue further studies.

“I came back in 2004 and have played on and off since. There have been no national rankings but I can safely say I must have lost two tournaments since then.”

So what’s motivating the 42-year-old father of three?

“I have a demanding job coupled with a very busy family life now with three kids and had actually decided to retire some two years back but was pulled back by junior players who felt I still have a lot to impart to them. I love the game and am ready to do anything to develop it, hence I keep going.”

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