Positive change is need of the hour, says Vimal

Former National coach to contest for BAI presidents post

The government has set a maximum of 12 years or attaining the age of 70 for the president’s post of National Sports Federations but BAI president V K Verma was re-elected for a fourth term in June, inviting the ire of the Sports Ministry.

The ministry had sent a letter to BAI on November 11 giving it 90 days to amend its constitution in accordance with the government guidelines and hold fresh elections to avoid getting de-recognised.

“What I heard is Verma has agreed to step down from the president’s post. If the elections are held, and in all certainty which is a possibility, I will be contesting for the president’s post of BAI,” Vimal said at a press meet at the Karnataka Badminton Association.

Vimal, who donned India colours from 1979 to 1993 and was the National champion in 1988 and 1989, has sent a letter to Verma on Wednesday intimating his decision to contest for the president's post and seeking the federation’s support. “I have decided to contest for the post of president of BAI, once the elections are called for, as per the government guidelines. I will stand only for one term (four years) and will not seek for a second term whatever the circumstances might be,” Vimal said.

“I am extremely confident that I can work together with the present executive members of BAI, except where there is clash with the Sports Ministry’s guidelines on tenure and age limit. I am waiting for Verma’s reply,” explained the 48-year-old, who is presently working as an administrator and coach at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy here.

Vimal, who is also KBA’s badminton development committee chairman, said he had the full support of the State association.  Vimal said that it was the sorry state of the sport’s administration after the Commonwealth Games convinced him to take the plunge.

“BAI is yet to bring out the 2011 calender, which is also a year for Olympic qualifiers. The situation is becoming extremely worse as players don’t know which tournament they have to take part next year.”

“After the CWG, shuttlers were forced to go for tournaments with the help of sponsors as government is yet to release the funds because of the federation’s stand. You need a huge amount of money for running the game and If government stops funding, only a selected few players, who have financial backing, will get the exposure and gradually the sport would decline,” Vimal said.

BAI will decide on its future course of action at its special general meeting, tentatively fixed for January 10 in Rohtak, during the Senior Nationals.

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