KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 – The badminton fraternity in the world is mourning the death of former international umpire, Sudhakar Vemuri who passed away in a hospital in Hyderabad, India today after being infected by the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19).
The 72-year-old was Badminton Asia Technical Officials Committee deputy chairman and was a member of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Umpire Assessment Panel.
He was a popular figure in badminton tournaments across the world – grooming future badminton umpires.
Badminton Asia can be proud of this soft-spoken Sudhakar who always brought his ‘acar’ (pickles) from India as he was a vegetarian, for his meal.
He also had extra two or three small bottles of the menu with him to be given to his friends.
Some of the tournament officials also had the luxury of tasting his home-cooked Hyderabad biryani when a tournament was held in the Indian city.
Described as Umpire Par Excellence, the ever-smiling, affable and helpful Sudhakar had excellent knowledge of the shuttle sport and put to ease many of the aspiring umpires who were assessed by Sudhakar in badminton tournaments around the world for their upgrading.
As their mentor, he had simple messages for those under “test” – one who never put any of them under pressure with his fatherly approach.
With his vast knowledge of the game and his good command of the English language, Sudhakar was an excellent ”teacher” for aspiring umpires who aimed to see the world through umpiring.
To him, the umpires need to have moral conduct and behavioral aspects as the key to a good umpiring decisions when they were assessed for upgrading. He had a hawk’s eye for mistakes which he jotted down in his notebook.
It is not a surprise that he was the first Asian to be awarded the BWF Distinguished Service Award (the highest award for badminton technical officials) in 2015 in recognition of his long and distinguished exemplary service to badminton at the international level.
He was also a three-time Olympian, having officiated at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Atlanta (1996), and Sydney in 2000 – a rare achievement and something Badminton Asia can be proud of.
”We lost a great mentor, a great teacher and a great human being. No one can substitute him. An irreparable loss to the world’s badminton fraternity. We lost a gem,” said Gaurav Khanna, chief coach of India’s Para-Badminton.
Sudhakar leaves behind a wife Subalakshimi, daughters Sowmya and Sindhura.
May his soul Rest in Peace.