Singapore Badminton Association



Established in 1929, the Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) is the official body for local matters pertaining to badminton.1 During the prewar and immediate postwar periods, the SBA was instrumental in bringing about the rise of local badminton legends such as Wong Peng Soon and Ong Poh Lim, who were part of the team that won the Malaya Thomas Cup in 1949. Individually, they also won other international championships in the 1950s, such as the All England singles and All England doubles.2 Today, the SBA continues to take charge in the recruiting and training of badminton talents.3

Early years
Badminton was introduced to Malaya and Singapore by the British and the Amateur Sporting Association (ASA) in the 1920s.4 Initially, it was played among the British upper class residing in Singapore. By the mid-1930s, however, the popularity of the game had spread to the local population, which included English-educated elites, civil servants, white-collar workers and students from Chinese schools.5


Local badminton enthusiasts often came together to form parties to play the game. These included the Mayflower Badminton Party, Marigold Badminton Party, Useful Badminton Party and Diehard Badminton Party.6 Badminton was popular because of its relatively simple and convenient gameplay. First, it required only a few players; second, any piece of ground, as long as it was flat, could be turned into a badminton court.7

Formation
Amid the increasing popularity of badminton, the SBA was established in 1929 with Tan Boo Teck as its first president.8 It aimed to promote the sport and to organise competitions. Badminton parties could affiliate themselves with the association and join its annual open championships that were based on players’ qualifications and skills.9


Held over the course of a few months, the open championship matches provided the opportunity for players to test their endurance and skills in competitive matches. Each player ultimately strived to be the best so that he or she could be chosen to represent Singapore in the prestigious Malayan Badminton Championships.10

Singapore’s badminton scene took a turn after the Japanese Occupation (1942–45). Besides losing some of its best players to the war, the lack of facilities and rising maintenance cost for an amateur badminton club resulted in diminished interest in the sport. Despite the difficulties, the SBA was still able to produce key players through its competitions. Among the most notable were Ong Poh Lim and Wong Peng Soon.11 They were part of the first Malaya Thomas Cup team in 1949, as well as the subsequent ones in the 1950s.12 Ismail Marjan was another key player who was part of the 1952 Thomas Cup team. Individually, these players also won other international championships in the 1950s, including the All England singles and All England doubles.13

Leadership and activities
Since its establishment in 1929, the SBA committee members and patrons typically comprised prominent members of the community, civil servants and business leaders who were passionate about the game.14 These included prominent personalities such as Song Ong Siang, Aw Boon Haw and Tan Chin Tuan, who helped promote badminton to the masses.15 Notable past presidents included Lim Chuan Geok, captain-manager of the victorious 1949 Thomas Cup team and who oversaw the building of the Singapore Badminton Hall;16 Lee Kin Tat, who reached the semi-finals of the All-England championship in 1964 and 1966;17 former president of Singapore Wee Kim Wee, who played badminton in his youth and even competed against the legendary Wong Peng Soon;18 former president of Singapore Ong Teng Cheong, who was instrumental in overseeing the construction of the SBA Club House;19 and Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say.20

In 2000, the SBA announced its goal for Singapore to win the Thomas Cup by 2012. This was in response to a challenge set by former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in 1999.21 The plan included strengthening the talent pipeline by improving local school training and recruitment programmes, and opening all SBA matches to foreign players.22 More significantly, the association began importing foreign players and coaches such as Ronald Susilo, Taufik Hidayat and the latter’s coach, Mulyo Handoyo.23

This strategy has since being replaced by one that focuses more on developing and grooming local talents. The last time Singapore granted citizenship to foreign-born shuttlers was in 2014. Although the SBA considered it more challenging to nurture local players, it is deemed a more sustainable solution for the long term as the government is compelled to focus on youth development.24

Facilities
SBA meetings during the pre- and postwar periods were held mainly at the Clerical Union Hall until the Singapore Badminton Hall was built in 1952.25 By the 1980s, however, the Badminton Hall premises proved to be insufficient and plans were made to build an adjoining club house with badminton courts, a gymnasium and other amenities, as well as space that could be rented out to help the SBA generate income to support its training activities.26 


With help from a building committee, the building fund eventually reached S$6 million. Significant donations included S$1 million from Tan Chin Tuan, then patron of the SBA, S$2 million from Ho Whye Chung and S$1 million from the Shaw Foundation.27 On 7 May 1986, the S$5.5 million SBA Club House was officially opened by former President Wee.28

In January 2008, with the expiry of its lease at Guillemard Road, the SBA was relocated to the Singapore Sports School.29 Today, the association is located at the Singapore Sports Hub.30



Author
Bonny Tan




References
1. Mr Tan Boo Teck: President of local association. (1934, April 1). The Straits Times, p. 18. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Badminton Association. (n.d). About SBA. Retrieved 2016, June 29 from Singapore Badminton Association website at: http://www.singaporebadminton.org.sg/
2. Tan, H. D. (1986). A look back. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 27. Available via PublicationSG.
3. Singapore Badminton Association. (n.d). About SBA. Retrieved 2016, June 29 from Singapore Badminton Association website at: http://www.singaporebadminton.org.sg/
4. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 7. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN); The A.S.A. (1932, January 3). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
5. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 7. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN)
6. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 12. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN); Nathan, S. R., & Auger, T. (2011). An unexpected journey: Path to the presidency. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, pp. 36–37. (Call no.: RSING 959.5705092 NAT)
7. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 7. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN-[HIS])
8. Mr Tan Boo Teck: President of local association. (1934, April 1). The Straits Times, p. 18; Tan Boo Teck. (1933, December 3). The Straits Times, p. 14; Untitled. (1932, September 10). Malayan Saturday Post, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Tan, T. C., et. al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN)
10. Tan, T. C., et. al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 17. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN)
11. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, pp. 57–58. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN)
12. Tan, H. D. (1986). A look back. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 27. Available via PublicationSG.
13. Tan, H. D. (1986). A look back. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 27. Available via PublicationSG.
14. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN)
15. Untitled. (1932, September 10). Malayan Saturday Post, p. 13. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Badminton Association Club House. (1986). The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 10. Available via PublicationSG.
16. 32 years of loyal service. (1952, May 30). The Singapore Free Press, p. 3; See for yourself, invites Mr Lim. (1952, May 7). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Tan, T. C., et al. (2002). Upholding the legacy Singapore badminton. Singapore: Asiapac, pp. 73–75. (Call no.: RSING 796.345095957 TAN)
18. Rajendran, J. (1985, August 28). Badminton champ in his youth. The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
19. Ong, T. C. (1986). Address by Ong Teng Cheong. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 3. Available via PublicationSG.
20. Tay, C. K. (2004, August 19). Susilo’s medal dream dashedThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Government of Singapore. (2017, February 27). Member’s profileMr Lim Swee Say. Retrieved 2016, December 30 from Parliament of Singapore website: https://www.parliament.gov.sg/mp/lim-swee-say
21. Chan, T. C. (2000, January 19). Shuttlers aim for Thomas Cup 2012. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
22. Wong, G. (2000, December 1). Local tourney to go regional. The Straits Times, p. 3; Tay, C. K. (2000, January 22). $19m budget for Thomas Cup quest. The Straits Times, p. 86; Chan, T. C. (2000, January 19). Shuttlers aim for Thomas Cup 2012. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
23. Robert, G. (2002, January 22). SBA, convince Taufik to 90 for citizenship. The Straits Times, p. 2; Wong, G. (2000, December 1). Local tourney to go regional. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
24. Chen, M. (2016, May 26). Badminton: SBA going local to attain goals. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/
25. Tan, H. D. (1986). A look back. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 27. Available via PublicationSG.
26. Ong, T. C. (1986). Address by Ong Teng Cheong. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 3. Available via PublicationSG.
27. Ong, T. C. (1986). Address by Ong Teng Cheong. In Singapore Badminton Association Club House. The official opening of the Singapore Badminton Association Club House 7th May 1986. Singapore: The Club, p. 3. Available via PublicationSG.
28. Tay, C. K. (1986, May 8). President drops a shuttle hint. The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
29. Wang, J. (2007, September 25). SBA to get new home at Sports SchoolThe Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
30. Singapore Sports Hub. (n.d.). OCBC Arena. Retrieved 2016, June 29 from Singapore Sports Hub website: http://www.sportshub.com.sg/venues/Pages/ocbc-arena.aspx



Further resources
Lim, M. (2004, August 19). Never mind, my boyThe Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.


Robert, G. (1990, May 27). Thanks, but no thanks, for the Thomas Cup memories. The Straits Times, p. 31. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2010 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.
 

Subject
Recreation>>Sports
Singapore Badminton Association
Badminton (Game)--Singapore
Organisations
Sports and games
Organisations>>Associations
Sports, recreation and travel>>Ball games>>Racket games>>Badminton