The all-conquering Indonesian badminton player fired my childhood passion with his pulse-quickening speedRudy Hartono was the oldest of three all-conquering Indonesians who dominated world badminton between the late 1960s and early 1980s, and he fired my childhood passion for what was then the national sport of both Malaysia and Indonesia. Along with Liem Swie King and Icuk Sugiarto, Hartono led a golden generation of Indonesian shuttlers at a time when badminton was inextricably linked with politics, ethnicity and regional rivalry – the latter principally with the old enemy, Malaysia.He was nearing the end of his career by the time I began to play seriously, but his achievements cast a shadow over the landscape of badminton, a quietly boastful “Match‑me-if-you-can” dare to the young pretenders to his throne. There was something about his style that mesmerised me. He did not have Liem’s extravagant leaping smashes nor Icuk’s raw power, but he had an innate intelligence and pulse-quickening speed. In 1978, I watched him try – and fail – to win a record ninth All-England championship against Liem, seven years his junior. My father said: “Rudy will always be the master.”In rare moments of harmony, my entire extended family would gather to …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books