2 April 1944|
Sepang, Selangor, British Malaya (now Malaysia)
|Died||15 August 2012
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
|Men's singles & Men's doubles|
Datuk Punch Gunalan (2 April 1944 – 15 August 2012) was a Malaysian badminton star who is considered to have been one of the finest combination doubles and singles players that the country has ever produced. He was born in Sepang, Selangor.
Gunalan was a talented right-hander who spent what might have been some of the best years of his playing career competing only sporadically as a student in England. Gunalan did not represent Malaysia in Thomas Cup (the men's world team championship) until the 1970 series in Kuala Lumpur at the comparatively late "rookie" age of 26. Here Malaysia relinquished its title to Indonesia in the final, 2--7, with Gunalan and Ng Boon Bee in doubles gaining one of the two points. In 1971 Gunalan and Boon Bee were the leading men's doubles team in the world, winning the prestigious All England title, as well as the Danish, Canadian and US Open titles.
Though perhaps less consistent in singles than he was in doubles, Gunalan was capable of playing it at the highest level. He reached the All-England singles final in 1974, losing in three close games to the iconic Rudy Hartono. He won singles at the quadrennial Asian Games in 1970 and at the quadrennial Commonwealth Games in 1974.
After retiring as a player in 1974 Gunalan served in various stints as coach of the Malaysian team, an official in the Malaysian Badminton Association and as an official in the International Badminton Federation (now Badminton World Federation).
Gunalan died on 15 August 2012 after suffering from a critical illness. He was 68.
- "Punch Gunalan passes away". Retrieved 15 August 2012.
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