INDIA GPG 2010 – Alamsyah, Saina win with election backdrop

Chennai: Indonesian youngster Alamsyah Yunus and Indian favourite Saina Nehwal won the India Open GP Gold at Chennai, but the focus was on a different issue. Long-time BAI President VK […]

Tracey.HALLAM-29-ENG-DT-CommonwealthGames2006

Chennai: Indonesian youngster Alamsyah Yunus and Indian favourite Saina Nehwal won the India Open GP Gold at Chennai, but the focus was on a different issue. Long-time BAI President VK Verma was challenged for his post by former cricket captain Mohd Azharuddin at its AGM, and everybody’s mind was on the BAI elections. The issue assumed tremendous importance in the context of all that had happened in Indian sport over the last few months.

Dev S Sukumar, Badzine Correspondant. Photos (archives): Badmintonphoto

The root of the controversial elections lay in the Indian sports ministry’s decision to take on long-serving office bearers of various sports associations in the country. That decision followed a case in the Delhi High Court, where a lawyer named Rahul Mehra challenged the tenures and the functioning of Indian sports associations. The sports ministry revived an old regulation that limited tenure of office bearers to 12 years (or three terms). This was hotly opposed by the federations, which argued that they were ‘autonomous’ bodies and the sports ministry had no business to ‘interfere’. The ministry, on its part, argued that since it was footing the bill for many of the associations’ programmes, they could not claim autonomy. Under the regulation, therefore, many sports officials, including VK Verma, were deemed to be ineligible to continue in power.

Alamsyah.YUNUS-06-INA-YL-IndonesiaOpen2009The BAI was the first association to schedule an election after the standoff began. VK Verma had already stated his desire to stand for another term (which was unconstitutional, according to the ministry). Suddenly, out of the blue, came an unlikely challenger – Mohammed Azharuddin, a former cricket captain who was embroiled in a match fixing scam 10 years ago and banned for life. ‘Azhar’, the most stylish batsman of his time, had disappeared from cricket circles and resurfaced to become an elected Member of Parliament.

The mistake Azhar made was to delay announcing his candidature. That gave him little time to campaign and judge the mood of the other office bearers. Eventually, a day before the election, it was obvious that he stood no chance and backed out of the contest.

What next for the BAI? It seems the sports ministry is waiting for the Commonwealth Games to end before it tightens the screws on the federations.

Meanwhile, to return to the on-court action: Saina Nehwal breezed through to the title, beating Wong Mew Choo in three games in the final. Alamsyah beat all the top Indian contenders – Anup Sridhar, Arvind Bhat, Chetan Anand and Guru Sai Dutt – to take his first major. Can the Indonesian step into the vacuum that will be created after the exit of his illustrious seniors? Time will tell.

Final Results

Men’s singles: Alamsyah Yunus (INA) beat R M V Gurusaidutt (IND) 21-13, 21-18.
Women’s singles: Saina Nehwal (IND) beat Wong Mew Choo (MAS) 20-22, 21-14, 21-12.
Women’s doubles: Yao Lei / Shinta Mulla Sari (Singapore) beat Ashwini Ponnappa/ Jwala Gutta (IND) 21-11, 9-21, 21-15.
Men’s doubles: Fairuzizuan Tazari / Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif (MAS) beat K Rupesh Kumar/ Sanave Thomas (IND) 21-12, 22-20.
Mixed doubles: Jwala Gutta / Diju V (IND) bt Yao Lei / Chayut Triyachart (SIN) 23-21, 20-22, 21-7.

Related Images:

Tags:

About Dev Sukumar