The newly-elected president of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Himanta Biswa Sarma, wants to give further boost to the sport in the country, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Vision Olympics’.
“We want to see Indian shuttlers win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and to realise the dream, BAI will do its best to support the players,” Sarma said on Sunday.
Sarma, the Assam Badminton Association president, was elected unopposed as BAI chief at its executive committee on Sunday.
“Badminton is becoming popular in India, and it is all because of the success of our shuttlers at the international level. During the Rio Olympics final, the entire nation was behind PV Sindhu… it was a fascinating support for the game,” he said, adding, “Nothing less than a gold at 2020 Olympics is acceptable.”
Sarma, a BJP leader from Northeast who is also the Assam health minister, said development of the game at the grassroots was a must. “BAI would encourage new venues and academies across the country supported by good coaches.”
He announced that the $325,000 India Open Super Series will be named after the former BAI chief Akhilesh Das Gupta who died early this month.
Devendra Singh Haryana and Viraj Sagar Das of the UP Badminton Association were inducted as vice-presidents in BAI. Amidst a tight security cover, 36 members, including chief coach Pullela Gopichand and BAI secretary-general Anup Narang, attended the executive committee.
The AGM, expected to take place in Guwahati, will be convened within the next 21 days. The present set of office-bearers will continue till March 2018.