Vemuri Sudhakar succumbs to COVID-19

Gopi Chand and others condole the death of the well-known official

Vemuri Sudhakar, a respected badminton official across the world, succumbed to COVID-19 here on Tuesday. He was 70 and is survived by wife and two daughters.

Sudhakar officiated in three Olympics (1992-2000) besides many World championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and many national champions for close to four decades.

Dronacharya S.M. Arif, who shared a special bond with Sudhakar, called it a huge personal loss.

“I always shared my thoughts not just on the game but about many aspects of life, too, with him. He was such a wonderful personality,” he told The Hindu.

Chief national coach P. Gopi Chand and the Badminton Association of Telangana president K.T. Rama Rao also expressed their 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,” Gopi said.

“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,” he said.

Senior BAI official and former AP Badminton Association secretary K.Ch. Punnaiah Choudhary said Sudhakar was largely responsible in ensuring there is a pool of qualified technical officials by conducting various seminars and clinics.

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

“Right from my playing days, he has been a great friend and guide,” Manoj said.

Former World championship women’s doubles bronze medallist G. Jwala — who Sudhakar wrote to, calling her his “favourite child” from the hospital bed — said the badminton fraternity lost a gem. “It is the end of an era. We miss you uncle,” a visibly emotional Jwala said.

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