Badminton Life

Knock-Out Punch for Malaysian BWF Stalwart Gunalan

Punch Gunalan, the Malaysia badminton stalwart who has practically run the world game over the past 20 years, has been sent tumbling out of the world governing body.

Gunalan, the deputy president of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), was given a vote of no-confidence during the body's annual general meeting on the sidelines of the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Jakarta.

In a meeting that lasted more than eight hours, a total of 142 members voted in favour of the resolution of no confidence proposed by the Mongolian Badminton Association. About 38 voted against the resolution.

Adding to the drama of a tense meeting was the fact that Gunalan, 65, failed to show up. It was reported by the Malaysian media that he had flown home to Kuala Lumpur after resigning from the BWF as chief operating officer.

Two other key executive members were also missing - Australia's vice president Robyn Bryant and the administration committee chairman Eraj Wijesinghe, from Sri Lanka.

Earlier in the week, Karen Koh resigned as chief operating officer of the Badminton Asia Confederation, which is also based in Kuala Lumpur.

BWF's president Dr Kang Young-joong, who survived an attempted coup by Gunalan earlier this year, said he was sad to lose "a friend" from the executive.

"This decision presents what the members want. I have nothing to say about it. But I do not feel good because I lose a friend," Kang was quoted as saying.

The Mongolian BA, when tabling the resolution, said they were forced to propose a no-confidence vote because Gunalan was "not at all interested in the welfare of the BWF but only interested in usurping the powers of the president ... that the deputy president has and is using the council to show his personal dislike of the president. And this was narrated in an e-mail to the members on the president's character."

BWF general secretary Stuart Borrie said Gunalan would remain in his position until the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) hears the matter.

Said Borrie: "Mongolia's proposal on a vote of no confidence was turned down by the BWF at first. They however brought the case to the CAS.

"And CAS has asked us to look into this proposal during the AGM. We did and we now have the members' decision. We will forward it to the CAS and they will make a decision. Other than that, the meeting went on smoothly."

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