Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

BWF World Championships: Celebrating Badminton’s Golden Years

It’s time for a grand reunion as badminton’s golden oldies gather in Basel, Switzerland, for the 25th edition of the World Championships. This event is not just a competition; it’s a chance for players who became household names in the sport to reminisce and set a standard for the next generation.

In the 1970s and 80s, badminton enthusiasts were familiar with names like Gilks, Perry, Tredgett, Talbot, and Stevens. These players created a close-knit community where reporters and players were on a first-name basis. Today, things have changed, and getting to know a player is not as easy.

The England contingent, including Mike Tredgett, Gillian Gilks, and Ray Stevens, will be at the World Championships, where they will discuss old times and compare the sport of today with the good old days. These exceptional players have made history, with 14 of them earning over 100 caps for England. Gill Clark, a BWF commentator, tops the list with an impressive 145 caps. Nora Perry, who took a break from the sport to raise a family, would have also joined this elite group if not for the timeouts.

The achievements of these players are noteworthy. Talbot and Gilks won the mixed doubles in the first appearance of badminton as a demonstration sport at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Five years later, England had a strong showing at the inaugural World Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Gilks won silver in women’s singles and mixed doubles with Talbot. Perry also claimed bronze in the mixed doubles with Tredgett and in the women’s doubles with Margaret Lockwood. The men’s doubles team of Tredgett and Stevens also secured a bronze medal. Additionally, Scotland’s Billy Gilliland and Joanna Flockhart won bronze in the mixed doubles.

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At the time, the World Championships were crucial for players from England and Scotland. These talented individuals would have made a formidable team if badminton had been a full Olympic sport in that era. Reflecting on those days, Derek Talbot, who now resides in Malta, acknowledges the differences between past and present badminton. The game has become faster, and racket design improvements have changed tactics. Defensive play has improved, and net play and deception are less common. Talbot also notes the financial realities of the sport during his playing days, with fewer opportunities for professional success.

Despite the changes, Talbot and his fellow players are eager to reunite in Basel. They cherish the opportunity to catch up with their badminton family and share treasured memories. Talbot looks forward to his annual reunion with other players, which is filled with laughter and serves as a reminder of the good old days.

Unfortunately, there will be one missing member from the gang in Basel. Tredgett will be absent due to a scheduling conflict. Nevertheless, he continues to enjoy playing cricket and connecting with some of the world’s greatest cricketers through the Lord’s Taverners organization.

These players have had remarkable careers, with achievements that have left a lasting impact on the sport of badminton. Their legacy will be celebrated at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019, where a reception will honor the medallists of the first World Championships. This special event will bring together legendary players like Flemming Delfs, Lene Koppen, Gillian Gilks, Nora Perry, and many more.

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Join us in celebrating the golden years of badminton and witness the sport’s evolution at the BWF World Championships in Basel.

Find out more on our website and be part of the badminton community that cherishes its past while embracing the future.