Tennis player cum coach Nitten Kirrtane, who will be conferred the Dhyan Chand award, is keen to create future champions.
“I am currently employed with Central Railway here and am actively involved in tennis circuit. I still practice with the youngsters. In due time, I will take more assignments as it is important to give back to the game. We want to produce more champions for the state (Maharashtra) and city (Pune).
That is very important and we would love to do that,” 45-year-old Kirrtane told PTI.
“I’ll be happy to be part of AITA’s (All India Tennis Association) and MSLTA’s (Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association) plans in whatever they are doing and would love to produce new champions (in the future),” he added.
He said the Indian Railways team under him won a gold in the World Railway Games held in Bulgaria.
Kirrtane has been a 1998 Asian Games bronze medalist and also was a winner of the first national championship held in Kolkata in 1996.
Last year he won a silver medal at ITF Senior World Championship in Miami.
Speaking about the award, Kirtanne said the Centre has finally recognised his services and contribution to the game over “four decades”.
“It is a proud moment for me to get the Dhyan Chand award this year. I have been consistently playing on the Indian and international circuit for many years, and I am happy my hard work has been recognised,” Kirrtane said.
He recalled he turned professional in 1989 after actively playing age-group tournaments organised by MSLTA.
Apart from Kirrtane, the other Dhyan Chand awardees include Manuel Fedricks (Hockey), Manoj Kumar (Wrestling), Arup Basak (Table Tennis) and C Lalremsanga (Archery).
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