Vemuri Sudhakar, a veteran international badminton match referee, and umpire died on Tuesday morning after succumbing to COVID-19. He was 72 years old and lived with his wife and two daughters. Sudhakar, regarded as one of the finest officials of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), was the first Indian to officiate in three consecutive Olympic Games (1992, 1996, and 2000), in addition to other international and World Cup competitions. He had a solid reputation, so much so that after retiring in December 2016, he was invited to officiate at the Asian Junior Championship in Jakarta.
Sudhakar resigned from Syndicate Bank as a Deputy Manager. Sudhakar became interested in badminton when he was 22 years old. “I became interested in the sport when I was 22, but it was too late for me to begin as a player. Instead, I turned my attention to game officiating” he had informed Deccan Chronicle about it.
He had a deep voice and was well-liked by both players and referees. He excelled as a referee after serving as an umpire. BWF would ask him to provide lectures and clinics on the game’s regulations. Sudhakar, who received the BWF Distinguished Service Award for his work as a mentor for BWF umpires and served on the BWF Umpire Assessment Panel, thought that his umpiring judgments reflected his personality. He also taught umpires and gave technical seminars all around Asia.
Sudhakar attended Methodist School and Nizam College, and his first Olympics coincided with the inclusion of badminton as a medal sport. PV Sindhu used Twitter to extend her condolences to his family.
I am shocked to hear that Shri Sudhakar Vemuri sir, International badminton umpire has passed away. I extend my deepest condolences to his family.
— Pvsindhu (@Pvsindhu1) May 18, 2021