CHENNAI: It has been a bit more than 15 months since Ravi Dixit seemingly ‘auctioned’ off his kidney on Facebook in order to continue funding a career in squash. A player touted for big things until that point, the Dhampur (Uttar Pradesh) lad instantly denied any such action.
But the damage was done, with the biggest blow coming in the form of his association with the Indian Squash Academy, based in Chennai, coming to an end. “Soon after that, the ISA gave me two options. Either stay back as a coach or leave the academy. There was no option to continue as a player, and I understood it was best for all parties if I took my leave and continued my journey elsewhere,” Ravi told SS.
Anyone who has any connection with squash in the country will know that if you want to make it big in the sport, being associated with the ISA is the route to take. But Ravi was able to get things back on track, thanks to an unlikely source.
“After putting up that post, many parties contacted me and said they would help me financially. But none kept their promise. In April, Bollywood actor Amar Talwar got in touch with me. He said he was interested in helping me, and actually came through for me, and I owe him a lot for that,” he revealed.
“Soon, Indiabulls (home loan company) roped me in, which helped get my squash career back on track. I was able to again start playing in national events. But I still feel that for playing more international events, you need corporate backing, and for that we need more corporates coming in and supporting players and the sport.”
Currently, the 25-year-old is a squash consultant at ReNew Power, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. The company also sponsored the recent Asian Squash Championships. “ReNew Power came to me last March, and that’s when I shifted base to Gurgaon.
I teach underprivileged kids. We signed up two-time world champion David Palmer, who will conduct two camps per year. In fact, we just had a 10-day camp last month, and the second one is slated for September.
I always wanted to teach kids the sport, and now I spend 60 per cent of my time playing and the rest coaching. I’m happy with how things are going,” noted the former Asian junior champion.
His biggest claim to fame may be an innocuous post on social media, and the ramifications to that. But Ravi has taken that in his stride and seems to have found his calling.