Badminton Life

Gunalan Puts Positive Spin on BWF Ousting

Punch Gunalan, the Malaysian stalwart discarded by the Badminton World Association (BWF) after 20 years in a senior role, is looking on the bright side of his recent ousting, according to media reports.

Gunalan was the BWF deputy president until two weeks ago. His long association with the body ended when a vote of no confidence against him was passed during the body's annual general meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia earlier this month.

The 65-year-old Gunalan was accused of using BWF for his own agenda by the Mongolian Badminton Association and was blamed for trying to topple President Kang Young-joong earlier this year.

However, Gunalan said he bore no ill-will against those who plotted his overthrow. He also felt that the publicity surrounding his departure meant badminton stayed in the headlines, which was good for the sport.

"I wish the sport well. I am happy that people are talking about badminton. And that has always been what I've worked for all my life, to make the sport popular," he was quoted as saying.

"It may be for the wrong reasons but at least it has created a lot of interest and that can only be good for the sport. I thank everyone for making that happen."

Gunalan was not at the meeting in Jakarta, held on the sidelines of the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Finals, probably knowing that his fate was being decided.

The Mongolians had proposed the vote of no confidence, which resulted in 142 members voting in favour and 38 against.

Upon tabling the resolution, the Mongolian body stated that Gunalan was "not at all interested in the welfare of the BWF but only interested in usurping the powers of the president."

Although his ousting was agreed by the members, it will only take effect after the matter is taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which has been liaising with BWF in the lead-up to the meeting.

CAS will decide in the next few weeks whether or not the introduction of the vote into the meeting agenda in breach of the BWF constitution.

Gunalan has been a high-ranking official with the world body since the 1908s, having previously played at international level for Malaysia, reaching the 1974 All England men's singles final.

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