Mumbai: Indian tennis legend Leander Paes’ racquet with which he and Martina Hingis paired up to win the French Open mixed doubles title fetched INR 1,50,000 at an auction that was held to provide assistance to two die-hard fans of Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan at a Kolkata hotel on Monday. The event was organised by sports portal XtraTime.
Not only Paes, India’s limited overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s wicketkeeping gloves were also up for grabs and that went at a slightly less for INR 1,00,000.
Interestingly, Paes’ racket was picked up by Bengal captain and former India middle-order batsman Manoj Tiwary, who called Paes “an inspiration to all sportsman” in the country. “At 42, Leander is still winning Grand Slam titles. His dedication and hard work is an inspiration for all sports persons. I love playing tennis during breaks and it would be nice to play with these racquet…He is also an inspiration to me,” the current India A skipper told the media in Kolkata.
It is learnt that Peas, who was taken aback by the news of the cricketer picking up his racquet, called up Tiwary to thank him and assured a meeting between the two later in the year when the tennis superstar is expected to be in Kolkata.
The event was organised to support cancer patient Bapi Majhi (a Mohun Bagan fan) and the family of deceased Alip Chakraborty (East Bengal fan). The proceeds from the auction will be used for Majhi’s further treatment and Chakraborty’s family in despair.
In a first, the city witnessed such an event where the entire sports fraternity reciprocated to the initiative taken by the portal to help out the two cancer patients’ families. For the record, a total of 31 items were auctioned in two hours of intense bidding which raised a whopping Rs 13, 66,000. There were many other valubale items from iconic sportspersons which were sold through the auction.