On December 18, 2022 we lost Dr. Chandra Madhosingh after a short hospitalization. He was 85. Chandra, as he was known to all, is survived by partner Donna-Faye, and will be remembered by legions of table tennis players and officials from around the globe. Here in BC, Chandra was a founding member of the BCTTA and worked diligently to place table tennis firmly on the list of federally and provincially funded sports. Perhaps Chandra’s greatest local achievement was to establish in 1974 the British Columbia Secondary School Table Tennis Championships, the BCSSTTC, now celebrating its 50th year of introducing children and teens to the world of competitive table tennis.
Who was Chandra?
This article from the Trindad and Tobago News provides an essential introduction into BC’s “Father of Table Tennis”.
Share your remembrances of Chandra
Friends, associates and students of Chandra, please use this form to share your public message of condolence, your memories and your stories, and why Dr. Madhosingh may have been influential in your life. Thank you very much for sharing your remembrances! Your story will be posted below.
Your Memories of Chandra Madhosingh
Updated: March 8, 2023. The BCTTA really appreciates you sharing your heartfelt stories of Chandra. Please encourage anyone you know who may have benefitted from Chandra’s knowledge, kindness and support to use the form above to share their stories with us.
Mr Table-Tennis:- Chandra Madosingh
When one thinks of Table-Tennis (Re: Ping-Pong) in Bc and at BC high schools, one needs to automatically think of and thank one person – Dr Chandra Madosingh aka – Mr Table-Tennis! I personally had a three-fold relationship with Chandra Madosingh… First: Chandra was the man who represented Table-tennis being introduced to BC and specifically in Vancouver high schools, as I played for my old school Sir Charles Tupper, and in the Vancouver High School League back in the mid 1970s! Chandra got the PE Dept. to try it out and actually accept Table-Tennis as a legitimate athletic activity… and later as a sport. Later in life I became a teacher at Burnaby North Secondary where a senior PE teacher – the late Ms Heather Mitton was close to retirement in the early 2000sand asked for someone to take over the Burnaby North Table-Tennis Team – a successful team since the late 1990s. Talking to Heather, I found out that North only had a Table-Tennis due to Chandra Madosingh who had approached Ms Mitton and convinced her to bring the game to North. When I took over the program Chandra was a constant source of information, advice and support! Chandra became both a friend and mentor to me… and Burnaby North has a long history of participation (hosting the BCHSTTC Provicials a multiple of times) and achieving a long series of Provincial success due to Chandra. Dr Chandra Madosingh, a teacher, a professor, a Canadian representative to NASA and the Olympics and the father of Table-Tennis in BC! It is only appropriate that in recognition and appreciation to Chandra’s long service and commitment to the game of Table-Tennis that the Provincial Boys top award is named the Madosingh Trophy! Your truly, Larry Seehagen.
Best memory of our dear Dr Chandra
I didn’t know Dr Chandra in person. But I recognised & remembered his face very well. An old, kind man. Always be there for our Team BC & tournaments. He even made to our 2021 National Games in Montreal at the age of 95! He set the best example to our young athletes & players. A lifetime ethusiasteer of table tennis.
Thank you (from a stranger)
Dear Dr. Chandra, Hi! I’m new to the sport and sponsor the club from Grandview Heights Secondary in Surrey. We started the Table Tennis Club last year for students to connect, have fun, and improve their skills. We do not yet have a league, but interest is growing and we are working on developing one in our district. Thank you for providing the opportunity for our student athletes to participate in a provincial tournament against their peers. This is our club’s one and only event per season. Last year’s tournament sparked a keen interest amongst several of our players. These players have developed their skills and are now mentors to the younger players. Your legacy is noble. As a newcomer, I want to thank you for blazing trail. You have made the sport accessible for all those who have a desire to play. Thank you!
When we think of someone influential, someone who took initiative, and someone who cared about the sport of table tennis in our province, Canada, and globally, a few names notably come to mind. One of them is Dr. Chandra Madhosingh, who has tremendously helped both of us in our table tennis journeys thus far.
We first met Chandra while competing at the BC Elementary School Table Tennis Championships in 2009, and this was also a time where we were in the midst of understanding what this sport meant to us. He had good conversations with us along with our parents and helped us to acclimate well to the table tennis community in BC. It was evident that he cared for us and wanted us to succeed, which meant a lot to our family. At every competition that he saw us at, whether it be local tournaments, the National Championships, or international competitions, Chandra always took the time to have conversations with us, ask how we were doing, and illustrate upcoming initiatives that he wanted to introduce to our table tennis community. He was always a huge supporter of continuing to get more people involved, whether that be in individual tournaments, camps or through the school system, and this was evident through his history with Britannia Secondary and the development of numerous programs across the province and country for both athletes and officials.
As we continued to grow older and started to help organize these programs, initiatives and tournaments in the local schools and communities, while also competing at a high level, Chandra was a constant source of strength and understanding. He continually provided advice to us as we restarted the Britannia Secondary School table tennis program and helped us to realize our goal of being a competitive team. He was our Team BC manager at the 2015 Canada Winter Games and supported us as we battled through the highs and the lows of our first major multi-sport competition. When we started to run competitions and our own initiatives related to table tennis, he constantly provided guidance and was available whenever we needed him. He even provided references and helped us in our academic careers as well! He was one of the people that we knew that we could rely on, especially when it came to table tennis and everything around it.
It is hard to admit to ourselves that he’s not here anymore. One of the last times we saw him was at the 2023 BC Secondary School Championships, where he was still umpiring and helping our organizing committee out with running the tournament. The memory reminds us of how Chandra always wanted to help and speak into people’s lives so that they could go out and be the heroes of their own story. And that is powerful. It is clear that Chandra made a huge impact on this sport in our province and country, as without him, we wouldn’t have a lot of the current structures in place where table tennis could be played and enjoyed by everyone. His impact can be found on trophies and medals, and also in the people, programs and communities formed that we all take part in today. This is an eternal impact that is irreplaceable. We will immensely miss Chandra’s presence in our lives.
Chandra Saved My Life
I was a 13 year old with no real direction, full of anxiety and dread, and I was trying to find respite from a less-than-stellar home life. I did have a smouldering interest in table tennis and having just started high school at Van Tech, I tried out for the table tennis team scheduled to compete at the first BCSSTTC (BC Secondary School Table Tennis Championships) to be held in the gym at new Strathcona Community Centre. For whatever reason, perhaps pity, I was selected and took the last remaining spot on the school’s B team. I did not know how to hold the racquet correctly, and had no definable forehand or backhand strokes. I was essentially a basement player about to compete in a world of real players.
The day of the BCSSTTC arrived. It’s mostly a blur in my memory now. I do recall trying very hard with my limited skills, flailing badly and losing all my matches. I was, however, inspired by the action and the level of play and I must have appeared enthusiastic. That’s when the tournament director approached to invite me to participate in the newly formed Junior Development Training Squad about to meet each Saturday at Strathcona CC. The director was none other than Dr. Chandra Madhosingh who I later learned knew how to spot that spark of interest in children like me. I was beyond gobsmacked. I didn’t know what to say except “Yes, and thank you!”
That moment changed my life. Over the next year or two, I became a skilled player making the BC Junior Team joining awesome players like Peter Joe, Eddie Lo, and cousins Roger and Jeff Woo. I travelled, I made friends for life, the BC Junior Team won the national here in Vancouver in 1977, and I left my teenage years in a way that could be described as the opposite of how I entered: with a new direction in life and a solid belief in myself.
I left table tennis for nearly 45 years, taking up the sport again during COVID, playing on outdoor tables in the wind. Miraculously, and nearly simultaneously, many of my old table tennis friends blew the dust off of their old Yasaka Mark 5 rubber and resumed the sport, and through the organizing efforts of Peter Joe, we all got together to dine at Sun Sui Wa with everyone’s old coach and mentor, Chandra. I sat next to him at the dinner and expressed my gratitude for that one moment where my life changed all those years ago. Chandra’s voice was soft as he smiled and grasped my arm. I saw Chandra again this past November, once again dining with the same table tennis friends, now my regular playing partners. As we left the restaurant and walked slowly down the street, Chandra and I spoke about meeting late in December to discuss rebuilding the BCTTA’s website, an idea he fully supported. That meeting was not to be. The gods of table tennis had other plans for my dear old coach.
The Father of BC Table Tennis
I view Chandra as the “ Father of BC Table Tennis” He raised, developed, and grew the whole BC table tennis family and community for over five decades doing everything a person can do to promote and develop the sport. He achieved this through collaboration, working with everyone from players to organizations to clubs and government and schools and community centers.
It was a lifetime dedication that no one will match and ever surpass and it is amazing no matter for what sport or activity. Most remarkably, he did it in a selfless and generous manner volunteering thousands and thousands of hours devoted to table tennis in BC, Canada and internationally. This is truly remarkable as an example of a lifetime of service to others.
Here’s a prime example of what Chandra did for table tennis.
Before high speed computer, internet and email and social media, Chandra was promoting table tennis and the players the old fashion way. With every local tournament he was involved in during the 70’s, he would painstakingly by hand compile the results and prepare his “press release”. On many occasions, local newspapers like the Province and Vancouver Sun and Highland Echo would publish the results and write features on some of the noteworthy table tennis players made easy because of the quality and detail Chandra’s press releases. There was really no need for him to do this as running a tournament was taking enough time and work. But he loved the sport and its players, and he would do anything to help the sport and the people he felt should be recognized for their success. He was singlehandedly raised the awareness of table tennis to the public.
Chandra was a coach, manager, teacher, manager, administrator, director, leader, scientist, mentor and just an all round great person to be around and be respected. He kept any group lively and fun with his interesting conversation. He made everyone feel welcomed and happy.
But he never sought the limelight or recognition. He was humble, kind and caring and a role model for all of us on the importance of volunteering for your community. To this day, many people do not realize everything that Chandra did for BC table tennis.
From my decade of competitive table tennis in the 1970’s, I cannot thank Chandra enough. From the heart, he was the main reason that I enjoyed my competitive table tennis career and all the experience and friends and travel that resulted from Chandra’s support.
Thank You, Chandra!
I write this as a competitive table tennis player and high school teacher in my youth, who gave up teaching and quit table tennis for about 40 years until I returned to the game in 2017. Thus, what I write is from memory, so forgive me if I get some of the facts wrong.
I first met Chandra when I was in, it will guess grade 6, which would be in 1964 at a table tennis tournament. I didn’t know it was Chandra at the time and I didn’t know it was the Chinatown Table Tennis Tournament, both of which I would determine after I got older. The tournament was held at Gibbs Boys Club in the Strathcona area and consisted of 4 tables for the competition in the gym and one practice table outside of the gym where participants would warm up.
It was in the practice area where I met Chandra, with 3 others. I sat on a shuffleboard table and watched 4 guys play doubles in what I thought was at a professional caliber. They were having a great time, laughing and yapping and they even introduced themselves to me. Chandra was African Champion; another was European Champion and another was US Champion.
So, when I first met Chandra, he was a player, and it was obvious that loved being one. It was this enthusiasm, his sense of humor and his propensity to reach out to kids that made it impossible for me to forget him. When I first started playing table tennis in leagues and in tournaments, I would run into Chandra and think, ah, the African Champion! Chandra was intense and competitive as a player, although perhaps a little too easy to get distracted. I learned that if I was to sit and watch him play, I had better sit still. It would not be unusual for Chandra to miss a ball and then wave his hand and glare at someone nearby who moved, spoke or somehow got noticed.
Chandra was always generous with his time to promote table tennis. I remember Chandra driving me to various table tennis functions or tournaments including this one time to a tournament in Seattle. It was Chandra, Donna-Faye and myself when I was about 13 years of age, in Donna Faye’s beetle. We get to the border and the young border agent looks at Chandra and Donna-Faye and then me in the back seat and he looks at Chandra and starts to ask, is he yours? It wasn’t that far fetched that yellow could come from a combination of brown and white. For the remainder of our trip to Seattle, Donna-Faye, Chandra and I pondered and questioned, how many mixed marriages were there in the world if this is how the Chinese came about?
As I got deeper into table tennis, Chandra got deeper into the administrative side of the sport. First from a local level, then nationally and then internationally. I don’t know too much about such endeavours, however through my experience with Chandra I can only believe that he did so with tenacity, generosity and grace. I do know that with Chandra’s work and influence, I somehow received a sports athletic scholarship when I enrolled into UBC. For table tennis in 1971! How did Chandra achieve this?
Chandra and Donna-Faye were teachers. If Chandra was a promotor for table tennis, he was even more so for education, especially science. He was even a Treckkie. He championed hard work and detested the wasting of time. He took time off from teaching to return to graduate school for I believe, astrophysics. I believe Donna-Faye did the same for graduate degrees in Music Education. What a couple! I also pursued a teaching career and I wonder if I would have, if it wasn’t for Chandra.
I did my student teaching at Britannia High School where Chandra taught under Mr. Parmar, Chandra’s friend and colleague. Chandra at work was not too different from the Chandra at the table tennis club although he was perhaps a bit more serious. He didn’t goof around as much although I did see the Chandra I knew when he was surrounded by his students. I myself was never Chandra’s student in the classroom., however my wife was. She reports that his classes were always interesting, and that Chandra was one of her favorite teachers. She also remembers the way he dressed. Chandra often wore colourful suits and flamboyant ties which reflected his personality. Chandra had both charisma and style
I quit teaching because the Vancouver school district had a glut of math and science teachers after I graduated. I substitute taught for 3 years and then I decided to enroll in business school. Business school was an intense two-year program and near the end of it, Chandra gave me a call to tell me that there may be an opening for a physics teacher. It was a tough decision for me, but the ship had sailed, and I declined. However, I knew that Chandra had my back and was always looking out for me.
I will never forget him.
Teacher on Culture of India
Mr. Madhosingh has always been friendly and cordial to see and talk together at many international table tennis tournaments. I learned a lot on the history and culture of India from him.