BWF official Vemuri Sudhakar passes away due to COVID-19

He has the distinction of representing India in three Olympics besides many World championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games in different roles as an official.

BWF official Vemuri Sudhakar explaining the new service rule to Ashwini Ponnappa, N. Sikki Reddy and others during a training session in Hyderabad.   -  FILE PHOTO: V.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Vemuri Sudhakar, a respected BWF official from India, passed away here on Tuesday.

The 70-year-old Sudhakar, who has been battling COVID-19 in a private hospital for the last couple of weeks here, succumbed to the deadly virus. He is survived by wife and two daughters.

Sudhakar was known for his integrity and unbiased umpiring and had command over the rules and interpretations of badminton for close to four decades.

He has the distinction of representing India in three Olympics besides many World championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games in different roles as an official.

Veteran coach S.M. Arif, a Dronacharya awardee, was one of the first to express shock at the demise of his close friend. “I always shared my thoughts not just on badminton but about many aspects of life with Sudha. He was such a wonderful person, always speaking straight from the he art,” Arif told Sportstar.

“The badminton fraternity misses an official who knew the rules better than anyone else,” he said.

Senior BAI official and former AP Badminton Association secretary K.Ch. Punnaiah Choudhary also recalled the contribution of Sudhakar, who took voluntary retirement from Syndicate Bank long back to be fully focussed on his BWF assignments, to the sport.

“He was largely responsible in ensuring there is a pool of qualified technical officials by conducting various seminars and clinics,” Punnaiah said.

Former national doubles champion Manoj Kumar who broke the news to the media this morning said he missed a personal friend.

“Right from my playing days, he has been a great friend and guide to all of us in our playing days,” Manoj said.

Former World championship women’s doubles bronze medallist G. Jwala, who also has a special bonding with Sudhakar, tweeted “ We lost a gem, end of an era. We miss you uncle.”

A note written by Vemuri Sudhakar to Jwala from the hospital.


Jwala shared what happened to be one of the last jottings from Sudhakar he scribbled on a piece of white paper from the hospital bed.

"Thank you Jwala. You are my favourite child and I am very happy to get the update from Sou, Harsh and Sindhu (second daughter of Sudhakar). Specially thank your parents for the wonderful memories. I am so very happy to be amidst all of you (sic)," he wrote.

An emotional Jwala shared this communication with Sportstar and said she missed Sudhakar badly. "He had always been a wonderful person. We don't find such clean personalities nowadays," she signed off, struggling to control her emotions.

Chief national coach P. Gopichand and the Badminton Association of Telangana President K.T. Rama Rao also expressed condolences.

“A much loved, revered and respected figure in the Indian badminton fraternity left us this morning. A colossal figure in the badminton circuit in Hyderabad, he passed on his wisdom to several upcoming players and officials. Sudhakar leaves an unparalleled legacy of integrity, honesty and commitment to the sport of badminton, and he will remain irreplaceable in the hearts of those who knew and loved him,” Gopichand said.

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