Sports Minister Vijay Goel joined top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta in expressing deep sorrow at the death of Badminton Association of India President Akhilesh Das Gupta on Wednesday. Das Gupta passed away due to a heart attack in Lucknow. "Shocked by the sudden demise of @BAI_Media President Akhilesh Das,was a great administrator.Prayers & condolences for his friends and family," Goel tweeted. Saina and Jwala also offered condolences. "Really shocking news ??it's just unbelievable..our beloved president sir @BAI_Media is no more .. may his soul Rest in peace," tweeted London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina.
"My heartfelt condolences to the family of our badminton president who passed away... #akhileshdasgupta #RIP," Jwala said.
Das Gupta (56) had suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to the Lari hospital where he died in the wee hours. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.
He had become BAI president after the arrest of former chief V K Verma over corruption charges in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
He was unanimously re-elected for a four-year term in 2014. Last year, he was also elected the vice-president of the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) for a four-year term.
His efforts and able leadership shaped the game of badminton and will be etched in our hearts forever. May his departed soul rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/uB9AzcpJDC— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) April 12, 2017
Under his tenure, India bagged the rights to host marquee BWF events like the 2014 Thomas/Uber Cup and the Super Series, while Syed Modi international was upgraded to a Grand Prix gold status.
He was also instrumental in launching and organising the the cash-rich Indian Badminton League in August 2013, which was later rechristened to Premier Badminton League in 2015. Das Gupta was also a Rajya Sabha member and was Minister for Steels in Congress government.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden demise of our honorable President Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta. May his soul rest in peace," BAI tweeted from its officials handle.