In 1930, a new badminton star for Denmark was born. Like most badminton players, Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen began his career with a singles title at the Danish U17 National Championship. A few years later at the age of 22 years old, he made his debut at the prestigious 1953 All England. He ended his first All England with a quarterfinal finish in Men’s Singles after losing to Donald Smythe from Canada. The next year, he advanced a round further but lost again to Smythe in the semifinals. At the 1955 All England, Hansen lost again in the quarterfinal of Men’s Singles and finals of the Mixed Doubles with Anni Jørgensen, his future wife, but it was in Men’s Doubles that he sent shockwaves around the badminton world. Hansen and his partner, Finn Kobberø, defeated opponent after opponent to secure a place in the finals of the Men’s Doubles to contest Eddy and David Choong of Malaya for the title. The Choong brothers were the blatant favourites to win the match as they were the three-consecutive year defending champions. To everyone’s shock, the black sheep pair of Hansen and Kobberø defeated the Choong brothers with the scores of 15-9, 15-17, 15-11 to become the new All England Men’s Doubles champions.
Their 1955 All England title seemed to open the floodgate of results for Hansen and Kobberø. They won another two titles at the Danish Open and the Norwegian International. Hansen paired up with Amy Choong at the Malaysia Open and won a mixed doubles title with her. At next year’s All England, Hansen lost in the semi-final stage in Men’s Singles and successfully defended his Men’s Doubles title with Kobberø. Hansen and Jørgensen reached the final again but failed to secure a Mixed Doubles title. The pair continued on to win two titles at the 1956 German and Swedish Open and one more title at the 1958 Swedish Open. Hansen would reach the All England Mixed Doubles final one more time with Kirsten Thorndahl in 1959 and lose to compatriots Poul-Erik Nielsen and Inge Birgit Hansen. He never managed to secure a Mixed Doubles title on British soil.
After the 1956 All England, Hansen added another four titles in Men’s Doubles to his collection. He won one of the four titles with Jørn Skaarup at the German Open and the rest with Kobberø at theNorwegian International, US Open and World Invitation Tournament. From then on, apart from his title with Jørgensen at the 1958 Swedish Open, Hansen won all of his titles from 1957 to 1964 with Kobberø in Men’s Doubles.
From 1957 onwards, Hansen and Kobberø amassed another four titles at the All England (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964), two titles at the US Open (1957, 1958), three titles at the World Invitation Tournament (1957, 1958, 1962), three titles at the Swedish Open (1957, 1962, 1964), one title at the Canadian Open (1961) and a final title at the German Open (1962).
Hansen and Kobberø won a total of six All England titles and four consecutive titles from 1961 to 1964. They hold the record of the most consecutive All England titles along with Frank Devlin and Curly Mack (1922-1931) and Tjun Tjun and Johan Wahjudi (1974-1980).
On the national scene, Hansen and Kobberø won no less than seven titles in Men’s Doubles (1955, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966).
In the team competitions, Hansen campaigned five straight times for Denmark at Thomas Cup tournament from 1952 to 1964. He had an overwhelming winning record and helped Denmark reached the final round twice in 1955 and 1964.
Hansen retired from competitive badminton in 1966. By the end of his career, Hansen has competed for Denmark 45 times in international competition. Hansen went into the sporting good business after his retirement and ran the Kawasaki brand in Denmark for many years.
Hansen is best remembered for his explosive power especially in his smash and backhand. Judy Hashman once wrote: “The swansong of Finn Kobberø and Hammergaard Hansen also brought massive control, as they almost never lifted the shuttle, but played a neutral game which thwarted their young and agile opponents, who invariably got fed up, lifted the shuttle and lost the point.”
Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen was inducted into the IBF Hall of Fame in 1998.
He passed away on August 22, 2013.
1998 – IBF Hall of Fame
BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES
All England 2010 Official Programme
Danmarks Badminton Forbund gennem 75 år (DBF)
Dr Oon Chong Teik: Shuttlecock and Stethoscope
Guinness Book of Badminton (Pat Davis)
International Badminton – the first 75 years
International Badminton Federation 1955-1956 Handbook
-- By Yves Lacroix