1965-67: Elected to Council
1970-74: Asian Confederation Representative
1974: Returned to Council
1975-76: Vice President
1992-1999: Honorary Life Vice President
Asian Badminton Confederation
1965-1975: Secretary General and subsequently Chairman and Senior Vice President
Badminton Association of India
1951-62: Committee Member
1962-76 and 1981-91: Honorary Secretary
1991-1995: Adviser to BA of India
The name Ram Chadha was writ large in Indian badminton for more than 50 years in a career stretching from a top player to an even better administrator at national, continental and world level.
His links with the game date back to 1936 and his playing days, but he became, in turn, a coach, team captain, manager, technical official and administrator.
As a player he was singles and doubles champion in his home state of Madhya Pradesh, dominating for more than five years.
He captained the Indian Thomas Cup team in 1960 – he was also coach and team manager - and led the Asian team which faced Europe in Edinburgh in 1974.He was also in charge of Indian teams at World Championships and Thomas, Uber and Sudirman Cups.
Sriram Chadha, known to his friends as Ram, also had spells as national coach and also found time to qualify as a technical official, climbing high enough up the ladder to referee the 1980 World Championships in Jakarta.
He was also deputy chairman of the International Umpires’ Association.
He cut his teeth as an administrator with 11 years serving on the Badminton Association of India Committee from 1951 before becoming secretary from 1962-76.
He was also secretary to the Asian BC for 10 years before being elected IBF Vice President in 1975.
His service with the IBF gained further recognition when in 1992 he was made an Honorary Life Vice President, reward not just for his life’s work in the game but for his loyalty to IBF when faced with adversity.
When he received his certificate from then President Arthur Jones, the assembly rose as one to salute him.
In his acceptance speech Chadha said: “I am just a badminton man.
Not a great player but badminton is my main interest in life and will remain so. I had the good fortune to be given the opportunity to associate and rub shoulders with the ablest administrators in the field.
“I consider myself very lucky. I have enjoyed every minute of being part of the IBF Council. I thank you all for giving me the opportunity. I leave Council today but not badminton.”
The biggest impact came during his time as Secretary General of the Asian Badminton Confederation. From 1965-75 he helped turn the Confederation into a dynamic continental body and became their IBF Representative in 1970.
That same year he also became an IBF Council Member and in 1975 he was elected Vice President and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1979.
That he managed to commit himself so much to badminton was all the more impressive when you consider he ran a hotel, Jackson’s in Jabalpur, and was senior partner in a multi-purpose business there.
Chadha played a huge part in the development of badminton in Jabalpur.
The city had hosted the Central India Badminton Championships for 33 consecutive years up to 1996 and Chadha’s son Arun recalls: “All the top national and international players took part.
“I think my father attended most of the international tournaments in some capacity or the other, including the All England Championships, up to March 1994.
“He also gifted seven badminton rackets from seven All England champions to the Nerbudda Club in Jabalpur. These were rackets of Prakash Padukone, Erland Kops and Rudy Hartono and they are still on display around the courts of the club.”
“Even in his later years he remained an adviser to the Indian BA but in the end he had to resign the post because ill health prevented him from travelling.”
Ram Chadha wasn’t just a good badminton player. He also won club titles at billiards and snooker although his golf was said to be “rather indifferent.”
He was an expert on the rules of badminton and produced and edited the only handbooks at the time to be produced by the BA of India and the ABC.
Former player and leading Indian coach Vimal Kumar, now a director of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, said: “Mr.Ram Chadha was the best honorary secretary the Badminton Association of India ever had and managed the sport in India efficiently for decades.”
Another tribute came from former Asian champion and Indian great, Dinesh Khanna, who recalled: “The first time I came in close contact with Chadha Sahib was during our Thomas Cup ties in New Zealand in 1963 where I made my debut and he was the manager. From then on it was a long and pleasant association.
“He was the backbone of Indian badminton for several years as an administrator.
During those times there were only a handful of international tournaments and fewer still in which Indians could participate due to foreign exchange and financial constraints.
However, Chadha Sahib, with the goodwill that he commanded, made sure that the Indian team played as many matches as possible en route to and fro major events like the Thomas Cup.
“He was always a good host and the Central India Tournament in Jabalpur was a big hit.
After the sweat and toil on the court, players could look forward to a gala, a fun- filled evening after the finals. And his promptness in responding to communications remains unmatched.”
Former BA of India President Fazil Ahmed summed him up: “It is difficult to enumerate all that Sriram Chadha has done for badminton. His contribution has been vast, his dedication complete and in it one can envisage his total love for the game, be it in India or Asia or any part of the world.”
A to Z of Badminton by Pat Davis
Arun Chadha (son)
-- By William Kings