Badminton Association of India chief Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma was on Thursday unanimously elected as the vice president of the Asian governing body. Sarma replaces former BAI President Akhilesh Das Gupta, who died last year. Badminton Asia has seven vice presidents serving under President Anton Aditya Subowo of Indonesia.

Sarma’s election to the post was confirmed during Badminton Asia’s annual general meeting in Bangkok ahead of the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals starting Sunday. Sarma is also the chairman of the Badminton Asia Confederation’s para committee.

Badminton Asia is the governing body of the sport in Asia under the flagship of the Badminton World Federation. It currently has 43 member associations, including India.

Sarma tweeted that he was “humbled and honoured” to be elected Badminton Asia vice president. “In this new role and as president of BAI, I shall contribute my best to strengthen badminton in the region and bring in better coordination among Asian countries,” he added.

Sarma will not be attending the annual general meeting of the Badminton World Federation scheduled for Friday. BAI Vice President Devender Singh and Secretary (Events) Omar Rashid will represent India at the meeting, where the BWF’s 189 member associations will try and reach a consensus on the following:

  • A new and enhanced scoring system – best of five games of 11 points instead of the current three games of 21 points.
  • A reduction in on-court coaching – introducing time-outs for players.
  • A service-law change with a fixed height for serves to improve the quality and consistency of service judging. 

“This will be a very significant meeting with important matters to be decided,” said BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer. “The overall aim of these proposals is to make badminton more exciting by creating more peaks in matches.”

He added, “We want to increase the entertainment value for fans, while also shortening the length of matches. Time-outs will be a new feature and will mean players will have to rely on their own instincts and ideas more, rather than getting as much coaching as they do now.”