Can U.S. be a world power in badminton? That's Tony Gunawan's goal (pic) - Latest Badminton News Articles , Badminton Rules, Badminton Strategies for Singles and Doubles, Badminton History,Badminton Photos!

Chris and Gabby Adcock pursue the world number one spot

If the world No. 5 England's Chris and Gabby Adcock could win the European badminton title this week, they would move one step clo Read more...

Kidambi Srikanth benefits by learning from the master - Lin Dan

The seventh seed player in the $200,000 Badminton Asia Championships being held in Gimcheon, Korea, Kidambi Srikanth of India knew Read more...

Lim Khim Wah needs to go back to the basics to fix his serve problem

KUALA LUMPUR: If you ever see Goh V Shem and Lim Khim Wah play, it's always dire and scary to see Lim Khim Wah serves. They almost Read more...

It would take a miracle for Daren Liew to play in badminton world championships

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's third men's singles shuttler Daren Liew was hampered by another bad news for his already disastrous start Read more...

The second Indian Badminton League (IBL) may be postponed

New Delhi: Due to the busy international schedule, the Badminton Association of India is considering postponing the Indian Badmint Read more...

K. Srikanth and P.V. Sindhu will spearhead the Indian team at Asian Badminton Championship

NEW DELHI: With the absence of Saina Nehwal, P. V. Sindhu and K. Srikanth will lead the Indian charge at the $200,000 Asian Badmin Read more...

Exclusive coverage from BadmintonPlanet.com: Oh baby, Lin Dan does it again!

Changzhou: Came off of a 8 months long "vacation", Lin Dan still showed good footwork, displayed poise in his drop shots and smash Read more...

Exclusive coverage from BadmintonPlanet.com: China shows its dominance in China Masters GP Gold

Changzhou: China made it a clean sweep at China Masters GP Gold finals tomorrow following a spectacular all Chinese finals in Read more...

New Zealand Badminton Open finals takeaways: Upsets, joys and disappointments

Auckland: The New Zealand Badminton Open tournament had several upsets and thrilling games that made for a nail-biting last day of Read more...

BadmintonPlant.com to provide exclusive coverage for China Masters GP Gold

5-time World Champion and 2 time Olympic gold medalist, Lin Dan faced some resistance in China Masters Badminton Open quarter-fina Read more...
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Badminton still belongs to Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan

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All indications point to Olympic 2016 fo…

07-04-2014 Hits:358 Badminton News

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12-04-2014 Hits:366 Badminton News

The Resurgence of Simon Santoso

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Lin Dan through to 2nd round of China Ma…

16-04-2014 Hits:362 Badminton News

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Lin Dan is set to play in the Asian Badm…

15-04-2014 Hits:314 Badminton News

Lin Dan is set to play in the Asian Badminton Championships

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New Zealand Badminton Open finals takeaw…

19-04-2014 Hits:179 Badminton News

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Lee Hyun Il flexes his muscles at New Ze…

16-04-2014 Hits:129 Badminton News

Lee Hyun Il flexes his muscles at New Zealand Open

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Singapore Open: Thien How-Wee Kiong to j…

10-04-2014 Hits:407 Badminton News

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Chong Wei, Peng Soon-Liu Ying are in the…

09-04-2014 Hits:432 Badminton News

Chong Wei, Peng Soon-Liu Ying are in the second round of Singapore Open

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Indian Open: Lee Chong Wei through, Khim…

03-04-2014 Hits:549 Badminton News

Indian Open: Lee Chong Wei through, Khim Wah-V Shem out

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Britain's first national badminton leagu…

07-04-2014 Hits:235 Badminton News

Britain's first national badminton league starts in October

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'Hawk-Eye' is being used in India Open S…

04-04-2014 Hits:386 Badminton News

'Hawk-Eye' is being used in India Open Super Series

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Exclusive coverage from BadmintonPlanet…

19-04-2014 Hits:281 Badminton News

Exclusive coverage from BadmintonPlanet.com: China shows its dominance in China Masters GP Gold

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Wang Yihan captures Singapore Open title

13-04-2014 Hits:176 Badminton News

Wang Yihan captures Singapore Open title

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Singapore Open: P.V Sindhu and Kidambi S…

10-04-2014 Hits:216 Badminton News

Singapore Open: P.V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth cruise to quarterfinals

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Lee Chong Wei won third India Open title

06-04-2014 Hits:539 Badminton News

Lee Chong Wei won third India Open title

NEW DELHI: Defending India Open champion Lee Chong Wei produced one of his finest performances to win the men's singles title for the second consecutive year with a straight-game victory over f...

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Simon, the giant slayer shocks Chong Wei…

13-04-2014 Hits:541 Badminton News

Simon, the giant slayer shocks Chong Wei in Singapore Open final

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The second Indian Badminton League (IBL)…

21-04-2014 Hits:142 Badminton News

The second Indian Badminton League (IBL) may be postponed

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Wang Shixian bounces back at India Open

05-04-2014 Hits:261 Badminton News

Wang Shixian bounces back at India Open

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Derek Wong is eligible to play in first …

07-04-2014 Hits:363 Badminton News

Derek Wong is eligible to play in first round of Singapore Badminton Open

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Badminton still belongs to Lee Chong Wei…

14-04-2014 Hits:552 Badminton News

Badminton still belongs to Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan

The rivalry between between world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan has been called the greatest rivalry in badminton history. But almost simultaneously another Chinese shuttler —...

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Arvind Bhat loses in New Zealand Badmint…

18-04-2014 Hits:143 Badminton News

Arvind Bhat loses in New Zealand Badminton Open Semifinals

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Lee Chong Wei vs Chen Long at India Open…

05-04-2014 Hits:1041 Badminton News

Lee Chong Wei vs Chen Long at India Open Finals

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Wang Shixian, Boe and Mogensen won India…

06-04-2014 Hits:434 Badminton News

Wang Shixian, Boe and Mogensen won India Open

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Kashyap is out of India Open

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Smells trouble for Malaysia men's double…

09-04-2014 Hits:253 Badminton News

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09-04-2014 Hits:135 Badminton News

Praneeth, Prannoy, Thulasi reach 2nd round of Singapore Open

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Four Singapore doubles pairs made it to …

08-04-2014 Hits:166 Badminton News

Four Singapore doubles pairs made it to the first round

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Singapore Open: Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan…

11-04-2014 Hits:191 Badminton News

Singapore Open: Li Xuerui and Wang Yihan are in the semi-final

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Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Yang Li Lian a…

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Mohd Arif Abdul Latif and Yang Li Lian are in the Singapore Open main draw

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Parupalli Kashyap moves up to world No 1…

10-04-2014 Hits:290 Badminton News

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20-04-2014 Hits:245 Badminton News

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21-04-2014 Hits:129 Badminton News

It would take a miracle for Daren Liew to play in badminton world championships

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Can U.S. be a world power in badminton? That's Tony Gunawan's goal (pic)

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Gunawan, a former world and Olympic champ, coaches at San Gabriel Valley Badminton Club. He plans to compete at 2012 London Games; then, a more ambitious challenge: Coaching U.S. to world prominence.

Sixth in—


The San Gabriel Valley Badminton Club was born eight months ago in a nondescript industrial park off the 57 Freeway in Pomona.

Tony Gunawan expects to retire as a player after the London Olympics next summer. He's already making the transition to coaching, and says he aims to impart love of the game as well as specific skills.



If you're looking for fancy bells and whistles — or, for that matter, heat — this isn't your place, with 19 simple badminton courts and a small, no-frills workout room packed into a chilly warehouse about the size of a hockey rink.



Yet Tony Gunawan, a former world and Olympic champion who has visited elaborate arenas all over the globe, can't think of anywhere else he'd rather be. Next summer's London Olympics mark what he promises will be the end of a long playing career, and the 36-year-old has a new muse — coaching the U.S. into a badminton power.



"This is what I want to do," says Gunawan, whose evening classes at the SGVBC draw players from all over Southern California. "The Olympics is one goal, of course; to represent the USA. But to . . . carry the players to a high level and competing internationally? It's a different goal."



On a recent weekday evening all but two of the club's rubber-floored courts are filled, most with college students and young professionals in their 20s and 30s. In his native Indonesia, where badminton is an obsession, Gunawan is recognized as one of the greatest doubles players of all time. But at the SGVBC, Gunawan can go about his work anonymously, fishing shuttlecocks out of a three-foot-high cardboard box and batting them over the net to a young student.



And it's badminton's invisible profile in the U.S., as much as anything else, that led Gunawan to leave Indonesia for California a decade ago. Winning a gold medal was nice and all, but if Gunawan could transform a backyard hobby like badminton into a serious sport here, that would be an accomplishment.



"The goal is not just teaching," he says. "The goal is to improve the level here. Make noise at the professional level."



Playing for Indonesia, Gunawan captured the 2000 Olympic doubles title before winning a world championship 11 months later with a different partner.



"Those two are the highest medals that I can achieve in badminton," says Gunawan, who was 26 then. "So I was thinking 'OK, what next?' I didn't want to retire just like that."



So with the help of Don Chew, a self-made millionaire who founded the Orange County Badminton Club, Gunawan emigrated to the U.S. and became a coach.



"He said he was looking for a job. And I said, 'I'm glad you're looking for a job because I'm looking for a player like you to be a coach,' " Chew says. "So I hired him."



It was the international badminton equivalent of going into the witness protection program. Imagine Derek Jeter leaving the Yankees at the peak of his career to go teach baseball to Little Leaguers in Indonesia.



"I was teaching 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds. Beginners," Gunawan remembers. "And when I first came [I spoke] no English. They started crying."



But what Gunawan couldn't communicate he could demonstrate. So again with Chew's backing, he returned to the court as a player, teaming first with Bob Malaythong to win three U.S. Open titles, then with Howard Bach to bring the U.S. its first world championship.



That move did more to raise the level of the game here than anything Gunawan has done since.



"It's all theory until you put it into play," says Bach, a two-time Olympian. "For him to be able to show us point by point how it's done . . . it's like a muscle memory-type thing where you see it and you react."



Gunawan and Bach earned their latest title in October — a month after Gunawan was sworn in as a U.S. citizen — when they won gold at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, qualifying for the Olympics. But whether they go to London will be determined by what happens between now and the end of April.


In the latest world rankings Gunawan and Bach are listed 18th, leaving them with a Sisyphean challenge to reach the Olympic final. And if they're not going to be contenders, both men say, they'd rather not go at all.


"We need better results and then we'll see," Gunawan says. "For sure, we've qualified. But basically is the gold there or not?"


If not, Gunawan wants to make sure a medal is within reach of the U.S. before too long. Among the players he's coaching now is Eva Lee, a Pan Am Games champion and former Olympian, and her doubles partner, Paula Lynn Obanana.

Yet the long-term success of the sport in this country could rest with one of the two dozen kids Gunawan tutors, some of whom are in grade school. And each of them is growing along with their coach.

"I'm kind of learning to be a coach. I need improvement," says Gunawan. "I need to remember to start over again. If I do this step, which is easy for me, it's hard for them. So I have to really break it down from the start."

The most basic skill he wants to impart is a love of the game. That's a marked departure from youth programs in Asia, where the talent is deep and the competition cutthroat.

"The No. 1 rule is you have to enjoy it," Gunawan says of the American approach. "If you hate it there's no way you can be good at it. Some people see 'this kid's really talented, and this kid's not.' But for me, talented or not, it depends on how passionate you are.

"Anything that's good for the kids is what we care about."

The caring doesn't come cheap, with some families paying more than $400 a month for lessons. Yet few are complaining.

"He's a great coach," says Li Chen, who, with 12-year-old daughter Maya, makes the two-hour round trip from Irvine four times a week.

Chen says Gunawan is "a treasure for U.S. badminton."

"He cares about all the kids," he says. "So kids like him."

Sitting across from Chen at a picnic table along the side of the court, Joe Hsu watches Gunawan work with his daughters Krista and Jamie. Behind them a college basketball game plays unnoticed on a flat-screen TV mounted to the wall.

"My kids love him. That's the bottom line," Hsu says of Gunawan, who works with his children six days a week.

When the class breaks up the Chens and the Hsus pack away their rackets and gather up their homework and head off into the night as another student and her parents arrive to take their places.

Standing midcourt, Gunawan slaps shuttlecocks briskly over the net, sending a teenage girl darting from side to side. Her footwork is halting and her return shots loop far too high to be effective. Yet if this is the future of U.S. badminton, Gunawan will take it. Perhaps he's not tilting at windmills after all.

"Some of them are pretty good," he says with a smile. "There is potential."

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