Badminton fit for the Queen

Written by Geoff Hinder

Badminton fit for the Queen

 England, after hosting the inaugural Thomas Cup Final contest at Preston in 1949 again had the honour in 1982. This would be the first Thomas Cup Finals to be concluded at a non-Asian venue since the inaugural contest 33 years earlier.
The Inter-Zone matches were played in four different venues around England – Huddersfield, Gloucester, Preston and Birmingham.
The Royal Albert Hall, London.

 Photos: – Peter Richardson and Louis Ross

Click on photos to enlarge

 

The first inter-zone tie between Denmark and Japan at Huddersfield launched two weeks of the most intensive international badminton activity England had witness for many years.

 

Denmark v Japan

Denmark would face Japan but without Morton Frost and Jens Peter Nierhoff – side-lined by racket contract dispute and examinations respectively.

Outstanding players in the match were Kinji Zeniya for Japan and Steen Fladberg for Denmark, Denmark would win 5-4 and go on to meet China in the semi-final at Preston.

 

Steen Fladberg – Denmark.
Kinji Zeniya – Japan

England v Malaysia

At Gloucester England, enhanced by two superb performances by Stephen Baddeley particularly a notable win against Malaysian number one Misbun Sidik, England swept past four times Thomas Cup holders, Malaysia to secure a semi-final place for the first time against the holders Indonesia at Birmingham. This would be one of England’s best and most memorable victories in any competition.

Martin Dew and Duncan Bridge winning the all-important final match against Misbun Sidek and Ong Beng Teong to give England a place in the semi-finals.

Photos: – Peter Richardson and Louis Ross

Click on photos to enlarge

Stephen Baddeley,  Two superb performances

China v Denmark

The two semi-finals were one-sided. The Danes at Preston’s beautiful Guildhall offered little resistance to China who were making their first appearance in the Thomas Cup. The Danes lost 8-1 and were left to wonder what might have been if Frost and Nierhoff had been available.

  Indonesia v England

At Birmingham in the other semi-final, Rudy Hartono the legendary Indonesian came out of retirement. There was less “round the head” play from Hartono than a few years before, but he still produced enough power and speed to win his one match. England would lose 8-1 with their only victory coming from Mike Tredgett and Martin Dew in the doubles.

Rudy Hartono (Indonesia) who came out of retirement to help his country.
Mike Tredgett, left and Martin Dew.

The Final –  Indonesia v China.

The final would be played over two nights at the magnificent one court venue of the Royal Albert Hall. The crowning glory for the finals would be the presence for the first time in England of her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip watching a badminton match.

The Queen accepting flowers from Catriona Reedie, ten-year daughter of the I.B.F. President.
The Queen and Prince Philip at the beginning of the second day.
President of the International Badminton Federation Craig Reedie introducing Rudy Hartono to the Queen.

 

China were 1 – 3 down at the end of the first day and Indonesia the slight favourites before the start had made themselves odds-on to win the Cup again.

 

Far end, Luan Jin and Lin Jiagli (China) v Kartono and Heryanto (Indonesia)

On the second day Indonesia had asked a lot of Rudy Hartono, possibly the greatest badminton player of all time, Rudy (a new IBF council member that morning) despite flashes of the old brilliance, found that Luan Jin was just too fast and hard-hitting. This was Rudy’s last match and the crowd saluted an incredible champion, athlete and sportsman.

3 – 2 to Indonesia, the top singles match to follow. Those of us who watched it, will never forget it, Han Jian for China and Liem Swie King -Indonesia produced the most exciting and memorable badminton I have ever had the good fortune to watch. Han Jian won 15- 12, 11-15, 17-14. is recorded. What is not recorded is the quality of the defending from the popular Chinese player and the unbelievable net play from both men, a great match in every way.

Chen Changjie then beat Lius Pongoh in two games. But only 18-17 in the first, and China had won three singles matches to take the lead for the first time. Sun Zhian and Yao Ximing predictably, won the first but loss the second game before producing irresistible badminton to take the Cup to China. In the last match, Christian and Liem Swie King (Indonesia) made the score 5 – 4.

The Final would be one of the great badminton matches of all time.
The winning Chinese team with the Thomas Cup.
China’s Han Jian receiving his winner’s medal from I.B.F. President, Craig Reedie.

 

 

 

Photos: – Peter Richardson and Louis Ross

Click on photos to enlarge

China’s team manager, Wang Wenjiao, proudly holds the newly-won Cup aloft.

It was the first time in 15 years that Indonesia had failed to win the Thomas Cup. And it was the first time that their conquerors, China, had taken part.

Indonesia (in white) and the Chinese celebrate together at the end of the match. Nobody could remember a team winning the first four matches on the second night to win the Thomas Cup and few people could remember a better night’s badminton.

 Photos: – Peter Richardson and Louis Ross                             Click on photos to enlarge

From the Photo Album

You May Also Like…

This function has been disabled for National Badminton Museum.