The much-anticipated face off between Mohammad Azharuddin and V K Verma ended in a damp squib on Sunday after the former cricketer backed out of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) elections, clearing the decks for a fourth term for the incumbent president.
Verma, who has been at the helm for 12 years, was re-elected at the BAI's Annual General Meeting in Chennai after Azharuddin failed to present nomination papers as is required in the association's constitution.
The AGM, meanwhile, is still on to elect other BAI members.
Azharuddin, a cricketer-turned-politician who is representing Moradabad in Lok Sabha, has not even turned up in the city, sources said.
"He needed to present his papers in the meeting and he didn't do this. Outsiders are allowed to contest but there has to be a proposer for that person's name. BAI didn't get that," a source said.
The former captain, who was reportedly backed by the Sports Ministry, had earlier approached the sessions court in Andhra Pradesh's Rangareddy district seeking a stay on the election but his plea was rejected.
Azharuddin had kicked up quite a storm by announcing his candidature for the elections with Verma initially claiming that the ex-captain was 'ineligible' to contest as he is serving a life ban for alleged match-fixing.
The Sports Ministry too had its say on the matter and accused BAI of not informing it about the elections as is required by the norms.
It later appointed an observer, Deepika Kacchal, for the elections despite vehement opposition from BAI.