Singapore's Badminton History

Discussion in 'Singapore' started by Loh, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    I thought I better reproduce this interesting bit of badminton history from the SBA website for Singapore fans to get better acquainted with their beloved sport. Some of the famous names we know, like Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim, but not many others, especailly the lady players.

    Little did we know then that it was so difficult to get a good court, as is sometimes the case now, but circumstances were different. To build a badminton hall then was a costly affair and it finally broke the finances of SBA which had to surrender its building to the Singapore Sports Council as collateral for settling the final building cost.

    The happpy side of the story was that Singapore within Malaya as a combined team won the Thomas Cup on a few occasions. Only Indonesia was able to stop our run in 1958.

    And the great Wong Peng Soon was so dominant in men's singles in the unofficial world championships then, the All-England, that he kept the trophy for winning three consecutive times in 1950, 51 and 52. And at the ripe old 'badminton age' of 38, he even returned to his former glory days by taking the men's crown again in 1955.

    Now, is there any men's singles player that beat his record? ;)

    Enjoy:

    SBA History

    Singapore Badminton Association was founded in 1929. It has since grown from strength to strength. Today it has a home of its own and a following of several thousand badminton enthusiasts Before the last war, our badminton players like E J Vass, Koh Keng Siang, Leow Kim Fatt, Tan Chong Tee and S A Durai played well in inter-national tournaments of nearby countries like India.

    Of the ladies, Mrs Alice Pennefather was outstanding. She was Singapore and Malayan champion for many years. Others like Y Yasuda, Chionh Hoik Chor & Helen Heng were also brilliant. But it was after the war when we struck gold.

    In 1948, preparations were made were made for Malaya (including Singapore) to compete for the first time in the Thomas Cup to be held in 1949. At that time, all matches organised by the SBA were played at the Clerical Union Hall (one court), where conditions were far from being ideal, the ceilings being too low and the lighting insufficient. Players had to be content with practices mostly in open-air courts.

    In November 1948, when the Thomas Cup team made their final preparations by playing at the HAPPY WORLD covered stadium, the Malaya Tribune voiced the strong opinion that Singapore should have its own badminton hall.

    In 1949, the then Malayan Thomas Cup team, which included Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim, was led by Mr Lim Chuan Geok. They went to England as the underdogs and against all expectations, beat Denmark in the finals by a spectacular 8-1.

    The cry to get our own hall became stronger and stronger after the Thomas Cup victory. A fund for building the hall was finally launched by Mr John Laycock after a ceremony welcoming the victorious Thomas Cup team at the Victoria Memorial Hall on 30th May 1949. Mr John Laycock donated the first $1,000 and spoke very strongly for the need of building a hall with a capacity of 5,000 to 6,000. The objective of building the hall was for it to be venue of the Thomas Cup finals in 1952.

    In February 1951, Guillemard Road was the site chosen for the new "old" hall. The estimated cost then was $200,000/- to $250,000/- but the eventual cost rose to $800,000. Donations then totalled $32,000, a collection far below the required amount. Mr Aw Boon Haw, then Patron of the SBA, came to the rescue with a loan of $250,000/-. Owing to disagreements in the Management Committee, a new Badminton Hall Committee was formed headed by Mr Tan Ark Sye. Despite this funds were still short by over $400,000. Nevertheless, Mr Lim Chuan Geok pressed ahead with the construction and the main contractor, C H Tong, generously assisted by commencing work.

    The hall became a reality in 1952, but not after overcoming many problems and leaving the Association very much in the "red". The Association could not pay. The ultimate outcome was the surrender of the hall to the Singapore Sports Council which took over the debts.


    Malaya's defence of the Thomas Cup did take place in that hall in 1952. With Wong Peng Soon, Ong Poh Lim and Ismail Marjan in the team, they defeated America 7-2.

    The Thomas Cup finals in 1955 and 1958 were again held in the old hall.

    The 1955 team was led by Wong Peng Soon and included Ong Poh Lim as well. Mr Leow Kim Fatt was the coach. The team beat Denmark 8-1.

    1958 saw the end of our Thomas Cup glory, when we went down 3-6 to Indonesia.

    Individually, Wong Peng Soon, Ong Poh Lim and Ismail Marjan, have won numerous championships. Wong Peng Soon was the All England Champion in 1950, 1951, 1952 and won the trophy outright, and then again in 1955 at the ripe age of 38. Ong Poh Lim and Ismail Marjan won the All England doubles title a number of times. During their prime, they too excelled exceptionally by capturing almost all doubles titles in the world.
     
  2. chris-ccc

    chris-ccc Regular Member

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    Great players around 1958

    Greetings to you, Loh,

    Great Badminton history !!! :):):)

    Unfortunately by 1958, Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim were no longer playing. And Eddie Choong was getting older.

    And in 1958, we found the arrival of 2 of Indonesia's greatest players, Ferry Sonneville and Tan Joe Hock.

    BTW, in 1958, we also found the arrival of Erland Kops, one of Denmark's greatest players.

    Cheers... chris@ccc
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Hi Chris, Greetings from Singapore,

    Yes I had the rare opportunity of watching the three great players you mentioned in action at our SBA Hall.

    Erland Kops was a regular visitor to Singapore and was very popular with our fans then. Though his relatively heavy but short build for an European might not seem particularly suited for the rigorous game of badminton, he was blessed with excellent footwork and covered the court rather well to spoil his opponent's exploits.

    Erland Kops was perhaps the second best 'unofficial' world champion after Rudy Hartono, for he had won the AE men's singles title 7 times from 1958 to 1965 when he beat Tan Aik Huang of Malaysia. Rudy won a record 8 times. And Kops even combined well with compatriots Henning Borch and Poul Erik Nielsen to win the men's doubles 4 times! Those were the golden years for Denmark and even with the presence of both Indonesia and Malaysia, Denmark was dominant in the men's events.

    Doubles specialists, Finn Kobbero and Jorgen Hansen found no peers when they won the AE doubles crown on 7 occasions from 1955 to 1964, only intermittently beaten by combinations of Malaysians or Malayans as they were then known, such as Johnnie Heah who won in 1957 partnering J C Alston of USA, Lim Say Hup/Teh Kew San (1959), Ng Boon Bee/Tan Yee Khan (1965 and 1966) both of whom are now perhaps single handicap golfers.

    And surprisingly, even our "controversial" Punch Gunalan partnered Ng Boon Bee to win the AE in 1971. :)

    So Denmark has had a glorious badminton history with players like Erland Kops, Finn Kobbero and later, Svend Pri, Flemming Delfs, Morten Frost, Ib Frederiksen, Poul Erik Hoyer and presently, Peter Gade, creating waves in the badminton world. That's one reason why Denmark is such a strong force to reckon with even to China, Indonesia and Malaysia. But not many of us have the privilege of watching the old school of Danish players.

    We should expect Denmark to produce future badminton stars as what their predecessors had achieved!
     
  4. DivingBirdie

    DivingBirdie Regular Member

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    i know almost nothing about these pieces of history. very interesting and i enjoyed reading em
     

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