A massive heart attack took away the ever young Badminton Association of India (BAI) President Akhilesh Das Gupta today at noon. He was just 56 and had a lot of things in pipeline for BAI. He was the guide, mentor, politician, former Mayor of Lucknow and the man behind rise of Indian Badminton internationally.
A badminton player himself, he was the son of freedom fighter Late Babu Banarasi Das and was a Rajya Sabha MP for 18 years. For those who belong to the region, Babu Banarasi Das’s name is one of the prominent names from Uttar Pradesh. As it is with most of the sports bodies in India, there were controversies around the late soul; Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) was questioning his role in nepotism in team selection for the Youth Sports Exchange Program in 2014, which was held at Tokyo. During the investigations, it was found that seven out of the 23 members team were wards and close relatives of office bearers including that of the BAI Chief himself.
But this is not the thing he will be recalled for; there are so many pleasant memories visavis the meteoric rise of Badminton in India. It was during his tenure that Saina Nehwal earned bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and PV Sindhu raised the profile further by winning silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Beside these, there were many shuttlers who rose to fame during his time. Now that his legacy and dream are left behind it is likely that Gopichand might take the big role.
Now with the big post vacant and rising scenario of badminton in India, BAI would kick-off again searching for the supremacy in some prominent players only. If we think deep, only Gopichand’s name is flashing in mind because he is the only one seems to be in control of Badminton in India and a flag bearer for the development of badminton in India.