State units wanted discussion on Azhar issue: Verma

Chennai: After being re-elected as the Badminton Association of India President for fourth successive term, VK Verma on Sunday conceded that majority of the state units wanted a discussion on former cricketer Mohd Azharuddin’s last-minute withdrawal from the poll.

“Although there was a request from the 22 affiliated units for a discussion on the Azharuddin affair, I appealed to the AGM to close the issue and it was agreed to,” Verma said.

The cricketer-turned-politician failed to present his nomination papers and was reportedly not even in the town, paving the way for Verma’s re-election.

The AGM also nominated national coach Pullela Gopichand and former shuttler Ami Ghia as players’ representatives to its Executive Committee with voting rights.

“The former All England champion (Gopichand) was retained as the chief national coach for another term of four years and has been co-opted to the BAI Executive Committee with full voting rights along with the former women’s national champion (Ghia),” Verma said.

In order to provide effective functioning of the BAI, two more General Secretary posts have been created as the workload is increasing in the Federation, Verma said.

Besides, the AGM also put its stamp of approval on Hemant Biswas Sharma as the vice-president named three Secretaries – Dr Filha, Omar Rashid and Punnaiah Choudhary.

Six of the eight vice-presidents retained their office, while the two new vice-presidents are Arvind Singhal and O D Sharma, who replaced Dilip Ghosh and Manek Saha respectively, Verma said.

R Kalsi of Punjab was retained as the BAI treasurer.