Today marks 50 years of badminton’s journey as an Olympic sport.
While badminton made its debut as an Olympic medal sport in 1992, it was first staged at the Olympics 20 years earlier as a demonstration sport, at Munich 1972.
Held at the Volleyball Hall on two courts over three sessions on Monday 4 September 1972, the event attracted an impressive audience despite little press coverage, with 3970 tickets sold.
A total of 25 players from 11 countries were invited. The competition was in four events: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles. To overcome limitations of accommodation and expenses, there were several ‘scratch’ combinations in the two paired events.
Headlining the event were stars such as Rudy Hartono, Svend Pri, Gillian Gilks, Noriko Nakayama (nee Takagi), Christian Hadinata/Ade Chandra and Ng Boon Bee/Punch Gunalan. Herbert Scheele was the Honorary Referee.
As each event had eight players/pairs, the competition started with the quarterfinals in the first session starting 10am. The final session, which started at 8pm, saw Hartono beat Svend Pri and Nokiko Nakayama beat Utami Dewi in the singles. Hadinata/Chandra won the men’s doubles over Ng Boon Bee/Punch Gunalan, while the mixed doubles was won by Derek Talbot/Gillian Gilks over Svend Pri/Ulla Strand. Winners and runners-up received specially-made medals.
The competition day did progress smoothly, but it had taken considerable effort and expense by the IBF (now BWF). The estimated cost for the IBF was 500 GBP – a huge sum for the IBF those days. Among the innovative ways devised to raise money – the brainchild of Council member AA Verstoep — was the production of a tournament sticker to be offered to all members of the IBF for resale at 14 pence each (9 pence each for bulk orders of 250!). The IBF received orders for more than 7000 stickers, which turned out to be quite useful in staging the event.
MS: Rudy Hartono (INA) bt Svend Pri (DEN) 15-6 15-1
WS: Noriko Nakayama (JPN) bt Utami Dewi (INA) 11-5 11-3
MD: Christian Hadinata/Ade Chandra (INA) bt Ng Boon Bee/Punch Gunalan (MAS) 15-4 2-15 15-11
XD: Derek Talbot/Gillian Gilks (GBR) bt Svend Pri/Ulla Strand (DEN) 15-6 15-8
Men: Ade Chandra (Indonesia), Wolfgang Bochow (West Germany), Christian Hadinata (Indonesia), Suresh Goel (India), Punch Gunalan (Malaysia), Rudy Hartono (Indonesia), Bandid Jayen (Thailand), Sture Johnsson (Sweden), Ippei Kojima (Japan), Roland Maywald (West Germany), Willi Braun (West Germany), Ng Boon Bee (Malaysia), Jamie Paulson (Canada), Svend Pri (Denmark), Elliot Stuart (Great Britain), Derek Talbot (Great Britain), Tan Aik Mong (Malaysia)
Women; Birgitte Steden (West Germany), Gillian Gilks (Great Britain), Nokiko Nakayama (nee Takagi – Japan), Ulla Strand (Denmark), Eva Twedberg (Sweden), Utami Dewi (Indonesia), Joke van Beusekom (Netherlands), Hiroe Yuki (Japan)