Eminent alumnus Pradeep Vijayakar no more

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As the world celebrated the new year we lost an eminent alumni and journalist Mr. Pradeep Vijayakar. Pradeep was from Class of 1966 and an active member of SSESA. He was Assistant Editor at the Times of India.

ACADEMIC : He was a graduate in Economics from St Xavier's College 1966-70 and studied upto MA in Politics 1970-72 under teachers like Dr Usha Mehta, Aloo Dastur and Swaminathan. He represented the Bombay University's post graduate department of politics at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Course at Nagpur in 1972. He was a Times of India gold medalist from the Rajendra Prasad Institute of Mass Communications, 1970-71. He also won the Alpha Silver medal.

DISTINCTION : He was a rare journalist who has covered a wide range of sports from cricket (5 World Cups) to kabaddi, from bridge to rugby and table tennis, archery, motor sports and cue sports.

He played in the same St Xavier's cricket team as was classmate Sunil Gavaskar whose TV serial SUNIL GAVASKAR PRESENTS in 1986 he wrote the script for later and with whom he co-edited the Times World Cup book 1999.

He has been secretary and was current vice-president of the Sports Journalists Federation of India and was the present President of Mumbai Press Club.

He won the Mumbai Sahitya Sangh's award for sports writing in 2006. He has been an active cricketer, table tennis player and swimmer. He was a founder of Indian Squash Professionals, a organization for the development of the markers of squash. He has presented Sport center programmed on ESPN.

He has done cricket, squash, cue sports, table tennis commentary for Doordarshan and was among the top five radio commentators in India.

JOURNALISM : He first worked as assistant editor of a youth paper, HI YOUNG PEOPLE'S NEWSPAPER. Then he was apprentice with Free Press Journal and served Sports week weekly from 1972-74 when he founded World of Cricket monthly and Sports week Annual. He was English Films critic for Inquilab Urdu newspaper

He joined Times in 1974 as Trainee Journalist and has been with the sports desk since 1974. He has been a versatile sports journalist covering practically every sport from kabaddi to cricket, karate to squash and billiards, snooker, pool, archery, motor sports, karate, rugby and bridge.

SPORTS ORGANIZATION : In the matter of sports organization, Pradeep has been secretary and then vice-president of the Sports Journalists Association of Maharashtra, joint secretary and current vice-president of the Sports Journalists Federation of India, chairman of the Mumbai Press Club and current President. He represented India at the World Sports Journalists Congress in Istanbul, Turkey in 1985.  He was secretary of the English Channel Swimmers Felicitation Committee. He was invited by the Pakistan President Zia to cover the first Asian Squash Championship in Karachi in 1981, invited by ASEA Ltd. to accompany the Indian squash team to Singapore and Malaysia in 1985 and in 1998 toured Seychelles along with the East Bengal football team as technical delegate.

SCORER : He has even done the job of cricket scorer for the All India Radio commentary team on India -England Test series in 1979.

SPORTS COVERAGE : He has covered five World Cups in cricket (1979,1987,, 1996, 1999, 2003), two Asians in snooker in Singapore and Sri Lanka, three Asians in squash one in Pakistan and one World Team Squash in 2007, three World billiards and one Asian championships, one World u-21 snooker (2007). He covered World Cup Kabaddi in 2006 and Asian Rugby Series 2007 in Philippines

PLAYING : He has played cricket for Khar Gymkhana, St Xavier's College, Shivaji Park Youngsters, Garware Clubhouse, Aarey Cricket Club, The Times of India Sports Club (captain). He toured East Africa with the P.J. Hindu Gymkhana team in 1983.
He has captained the Sports Journalists cricket team to two titles in the J.K.Bose all-India sports journalists cricket tournament which he has played for over 20 years.

BOOKS : He did research for Sunil Gavaskar's SUNNY DAYS and again in 1999 for his Times Book of World Cup Cricket, of which he was the consulting editor. In association with Marine Sports Pradeep has edited three tour books on the India-South Africa series, and one on World Cup 1992. Presently he was the chairman of the Cricket Commission of the Sports and President of Mumbai Press Club. He has written India's first cricket play, Shaporjee/Sokaji, which was published in 2008.

BROADCASTER : As broadcaster, Pradeep rose to the top three position as radio commentator for cricket for Akashwani. He was the only one in India who was a TV cricket commentator first and then went over to radio. He did TV commentary for Doordarshan in 1985-87 for the India-England and India-West Indies series. He switched to radio in the Reliance World Cup in 1987 when commentators had to choose one medium.

Pradeep has been most sought after by TV for the difficult sports. Thus when Pakistan world champion squash player Jehangir Khan came to India it was Pradeep who was called to do live TV commentary. He also did commentary in boxing, for radio at the World Cup in Mumbai and TV commentary for a More benefit tournament at Shivaji Park. And also covered a Mumbai-Pune cycle race and did commentary for Dirt Track motor racing in Pune.

He has done sports magazine programmes in Marathi and English for AIR and DD. In one week he did commentary in three different languages. He did a Duleep trophy cricket final. Then he did TV commentary in Hindi when Leander Paes won his first major title, the Satellite Masters and then at Cooperage later in the week, he made history when being part of the radio commentary team for the first-ever live Marathi football commentary, on the Rovers Cup final between East Bengal and Mahindras. This must be a record of sorts.

TEACHING : He has taught news media management at the UPG Institute of Communications and sports journalism at KC's Bombay College of Journalism. He was owner of two courses of the Times School of Journalism--Writing and Communication.
 
COACHING : He was a Level I cricket coach from the World Cricket Academy whose adjudicators were Hanumant Singh and Vasu Paranjpe. Also a Level Introductory coach in squash from the Asian Squash Federation under a programme conducted by SRFI's Maj Maniam.


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