Ramit Tandon - A tale of skill, grit, and global success
Embark on an inspiring journey with Ramit Tandon, the eminent squash player, as he ascends through the ranks from a junior champion in Kolkata to the 36th position globally.
A 30-year-old squash professional, Ramit Tandon, has etched his name among the global elite, holding the second rank in India, fourth in Asia, and an impressive 36th in the world.
Born and raised in Kolkata, Ramit's tryst with squash began as a childhood passion. Despite delving into a finance career, his love for the sport persisted. The breakthrough struck during his finance tenure when the yearning for competition became undeniable. The decision to transition from a stable corporate job to the world of professional squash was a courageous leap with passion and desire for something beyond the corporate desk.
Ramit Tandon's squash journey commenced with notable success as a junior. He clinched six Junior National Titles, and numerous international championship titles and concluded his junior career as India's number one, Asia's second, and the world's fifth-ranked junior player. Notably, he captained the Indian Junior Team to a historic Gold Medal triumph over Pakistan, leaving an indelible mark on India's squash legacy.
After obtaining his BA in statistics, Tandon briefly transitioned to the finance industry before fully immersing himself in the professional squash circuit. Turning professional in 2018, he swiftly made a mark by securing four PSA tour titles.
Tandon's international presence reached new heights as he bagged a bronze medal at the Asian Games, showcasing his prowess on the global stage. He also represented India at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.
Leaving an illustrious junior career behind, Tandon ventured to the United States, joining Columbia University in the City of New York. As captain of the squash team, he achieved a remarkable rank of two in College Squash. His sportsmanship and conduct on and off the court earned him the prestigious Skillman Award. Tandon's four-time MVP recognition and the Maniatty Award for the best student-athlete showcased his multifaceted excellence at the university.
“Squash being an individual sport, gets a little lonely at times. But in college sports, I was a part of a massive team. We had 223 people on our team, so I ended up making a lot of friends out of it. I got the team environment and the team spirit, which normally we don't get in our sport. So overall, it was a lot of fun,” said Ramit.
Balancing education with squash, he acknowledges his mother's pivotal role in emphasizing the importance of academics. Reflecting on his time at Columbia, he cherishes the camaraderie of team sports, lifelong friendships, and the personal growth gained from the unique experience of being part of a collegiate squash team.
Ramit sheds light on the multifaceted challenges of professional squash, the rigorous travel schedules, lifestyle adjustments, and dietary changes. Adapting from a sedentary corporate lifestyle to the dynamic demands of a professional athlete posed initial challenges. Mental toughness, he emphasizes, is crucial in a society that often places a heavy emphasis on results, which can lead to performance anxiety.
Armed with a background in finance, Ramit underscores the transformative impact of corporate support on Indian squash, particularly through programs like HCL. He commends both governmental and corporate backing, emphasizing their roles in elevating Indian squash on the global stage. The HCL Squash Podium Program, in particular, has contributed significantly to the growth of the sport in India by supporting professional events and nurturing talent at the grassroots level.
“I feel that in the last 57 years, there's been a massive push for sport and then the Corporates have been amazing in squash in particular. I think HCL has been a big sponsor for us. They have supported a lot of professional events in the country, which have definitely helped the lower-ranked players and also helped develop squash culture in India.” added Ramit.
Ramit's eyes gleam with pride as he recounts wearing the Indian jersey during major events like the Commonwealth and Asian Games. The emotional significance of hoisting the national flag becomes a defining moment in his journey. He attributes much of his success to the unwavering support of his dedicated team, including his mother.
“I feel that is something very unique and very special, you know, to be rubbing shoulders with the best athletes in the country as well as in the world. When you're a part of these major games, it is kind of special because you grew up watching these guys on television and then here you're sitting in the same village with them, representing the country,” added Ramit.
Positioned as a role model, Ramit draws inspiration from the belief that his achievements inspire the next generation. Looking ahead, he sets ambitious goals – winning medals at major events, climbing the world rankings, and leaving an indelible mark on the sport. He stresses the importance of creating lasting memories and cherishing the present moments, recognizing the fleeting nature of a sporting career.
“The goal is to win a lot of medals for the country at major sporting events. But more importantly, to have a good time, make memories, and live the experience. So I kind of want to live through these moments as I do it,” said Ramit
Acknowledging prevalent anxiety in Indian sports culture, Ramit shares his approach to managing stress. Advocating for a positive mindset, relaxation, and personalized strategies, he recognizes the uniqueness of each athlete's experience. In a society driven by pressure and expectations, he encourages athletes to discover individual methods for navigating stress and maintaining mental well-being.
His experiences, both in finance and sports, have sculpted him into a well-rounded individual and an inspiring figure for aspiring athletes. As he continues to chase his dreams on the squash court, Ramit remains a symbol of one of India's rising stars in squash.