Renowned badminton umpire and BWF official Vemuri Sudhakar succumbs to COVID, PV Sindhu leads way in tributes

Renowned badminton umpire and BWF official Vemuri Sudhakar succumbs to COVID, PV Sindhu leads way in tributes
Renowned badminton umpire and BWF official Vemuri Sudhakar succumbs to COVID, PV Sindhu leads way in tributes

Vemuri Sudhakar, former international badminton match referee and umpire, who has been one of the top officials in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) succumbed to Covid-19 on Tuesday morning. He was 72. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. Sudhakar was the only Indian to have officiated in three successive Olympics, apart from officiating in numerous international and World Championship tournaments. PV Sindhu, India’s ace badminton star, led the way to pay respect to Sudhakar.

For the last 22 years, Vemuri Sudhakar has been attached to badminton. “It was too late to play as a player and so I concentrated in the game as an umpire,” he said earlier.

A popular face of players and officials, Vemuri Sudhakar was regularly invited by the BWF to conduct seminars and clinics on the rules of the game.

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“Only other day I came to know he was in the hospital and I tried the best medication possible. Even on Monday, he sent me a note thanking me and today he is no more. I grew up watching him officiate in matches. He used to explain the rules very patiently,’’ said Jwala Gutta, former doubles player said.

Gutta shared a special bond with Sudhakar like many other shuttlers including PV Sindhu. Jwala told Sportstar that Sudhakar what message Sudhakar wrote for her 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 (PV Sindhu). Specially thank your parents for the wonderful memories. I am so very happy to be amidst all of you (sic),” Vemuri Sudhakar wrote.

Former All England champion Pullela Gopichand said Sudhakar left an indelible mark as an umpire and as a referee. “He was a highly respected figure in the BWF. He was a very efficient umpire,’’ he said.

Former Test off-spinner N Shivlal Yadav added that Sudhakar was passionate about his game. “He was our sports officer. He was a gentleman.’’