Friday, 14 Jun 2024

Celebrating the Legacy of Gillian Gilks at the BWF World Championships

Badminton is a sport that showcases exceptional players with integrity, commitment, talent, and remarkable careers. One such illustrious character is Gillian Gilks (née Perrin) from England, whose playing career from 1969 to 1988 exemplified tenacity and determination. As we commemorate the 25th Edition of the BWF Badminton World Championships, let us celebrate the outstanding achievements of Gilks and her role as an inspiring role model for young female badminton players today.

A Journey of Resilience and Passion

Gilks, now Goodwin and born on June 20, 1950, in London, takes us on a stimulating journey through her career in an e-mail interview. She began her World Championships venture with two silver medals at the inaugural 1977 World Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Although she missed out on gold that year, she displayed remarkable resilience and determination in the face of disappointment.

Triumphs and Setbacks

Gilks’ career at the World Championships had its share of ups and downs. In 1980, under unfortunate circumstances, she was unable to compete in the tournament in Jakarta due to a denied request to acclimatize early. However, she returned in 1983 to win a bronze medal in women’s doubles with Gillian Clark and clinched another bronze in mixed doubles with Martin Dew in 1987.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  News | BWF World Tour

Gilks reminds us of her impressive stretch of results in other tournaments, holding the triple crown in four major events by the end of 1976. She was the champion in the Commonwealth Games, Nationals, Europeans, and All England, an achievement recognized by being awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). Additionally, she won the first ladies’ Superstars event in 1977, showcasing her versatility across different sports.

A Record Unbroken

In 1980, Gilks made the surprising decision to quit singles and focus on doubles. This marked the end of an era for the great all-rounder. In 1976, she became the first player since 1952 to claim the triple crown at the All England, a record that stands unbroken to this day. When asked about the possibility of another player achieving the same feat, Gilks mentioned Wu Dixi from China as a great all-rounder capable of such accomplishments.

More Than a Player

Gilks’s journey was not without its share of controversies. She faced a ban when she couldn’t commit to playing every event demanded by the National Association. This led to a court case dealing with restraint of trade. During this period, she focused on running her sports shop in north London. Additionally, Gilks underwent nasal cosmetic surgery to improve her breathing and received a new hairstyle, which, although regrettable in hindsight due to upsetting sponsors, did not impact her remarkable skills on the court.

Recognized Talent

Gilks was widely recognized for her glorious talent, with badminton expert Pat Davis hailing her as the most talented all-rounder of her time. Her journey began at the age of eight, playing at a junior badminton club at Cheam Sports Club, and her career flourished under the guidance of Angela Bairstow, Ian Palmer, and later, Mike Goodwin, her husband.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  News | BWF World Tour

Over the years, Gilks accumulated a remarkable record at the top level, with achievements that still shine today. Among her notable accomplishments are winning the English National U15 Junior Championships at the age of 12 and a total of 37 titles (26 senior and 11 junior) at the English nationals from 1969 to 1985. She also clinched 13 European Championships titles from 1972 to 1986 and retired with an impressive record of 11 All England titles (two singles, three women’s doubles, six mixed doubles).

A Tribute to a Legend

As we gather in Basel to honor the medallists from the 1977 World Championships, it is only fitting that we pay tribute to Gillian Gilks, a true legend of the sport. The BWF has organized a reception during the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019, where esteemed badminton figures like Flemming Delfs, Nora Perry, Steen Skovgaard, Derek Talbot, and others will join in celebrating the legacy of this remarkable player.


Q: What are Gillian Gilks’ most notable achievements?
A: Gillian Gilks’ most notable achievements include winning the triple crown at the All England in 1976, holding 37 titles at the English nationals, and achieving 13 European Championships titles.

Q: Who is Gillian Gilks’ contemporaneous all-rounder counterpart?
A: According to Gilks, Wu Dixi from China was a great all-rounder who could have potentially achieved the triple crown.

Q: Why has no player replicated Gillian Gilks’ feats?
A: According to Gilks, it is incredibly challenging for any player today to concentrate on three events in a major tournament.


Gillian Gilks’ journey in badminton is a testament to her resilience, passion, and unwavering talent. Her achievements have left an indelible mark in the sport, inspiring young players and setting a high bar for excellence. As we celebrate the 25th Edition of the BWF Badminton World Championships, let us remember and honor the legacy of this remarkable player whose contributions continue to shine brightly. To learn more about the world of badminton, visit Carnegiecentre.

Tham Khảo Thêm:  BWF News