Christian Hadinata was born in Central Java in 1949. As a child he was a soccer fan, but his interest turned to badminton at age 11. That career change would prove to be one of the most fruitful in Indonesian badminton history as the Chinese Indonesian athlete dominated men’s and mixed doubles for over a decade, from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s.
A complete all-arounder, Christian first met with international success at the 1971 Asian Badminton Championships in mixed doubles with partner Retno Kustijah. The 1972 All England Championships would be the 22-year-old Indonesian’s coming out, with a very respectable quarter-final in singles and a first major international title in men’s doubles with Ade Chandra.
Years later, the soft-spoken Christian recalled that last feat with pride: “It was in 1972 when I won the All England title with Ade Chandra. It was my first time in Europe and my first All England and we were unseeded.”
That same year, twenty years before badminton became an official Olympic sport at the Barcelona Games, Christian and Chandra made Olympic history at the 1972 Munich Games. Badminton was played as a demonstration sport for the first time at those Games, and the two Indonesians clinched the first place in the men’s doubles event, defeating Malaysians Ng Boon Bee and Punch Gunalan in a tight three-setter. It is only fitting that Christian was chosen to be the flag-bearer for Indonesia at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Christian’s versatility was once again displayed at the 1973 All England Championships when he reached the finals in singles, losing to an in-form Rudy Hartono, and won a second consecutive doubles title with partner Chandra. Despite his respectable results in singles at the All England Championships, his career in singles slowly gave way to an even more promising career in doubles.
Christian played an instrumental part of putting an end to Europe’s domination in the mixed doubles event when he and Imelda Wiguna won the 1979 All England title, beating the well-established pair of Nora Perry and Mike Tredgett of England. It was the first time an Asian pair had won the All England mixed doubles title. Christian not only shattered the European domination of the event; he was also one of the first male players to defy the traditional approach to mixed doubles, deserting the back court when necessary and not hesitating to venture to the net.
Despite losing out to the English pair in the mixed doubles finals of the 1980 All England, the Indonesian duo of Christian and Imelda repeated the 1979 victory scenario when it mattered the most: at the 1980 World Championships. At these same World Championships, Christian doubled his success by earning the men’s doubles title with long-time partner, Ade Chandra.
His record at the Thomas Cup is even more impressive: Christian participated in six consecutive campaigns from 1973 to 1986, during which he lost only one match. His near-perfect record contributed to Indonesia’s conquest of four titles in 1973, 1976, 1979, and 1984.
He retired from competition in 1986 and joined the Indonesian National Badminton Association (PBSI) as a coach in 1991. He is now PBSI’s National Training Director.
For all his accomplishments on and off the court, Christian was awarded three of the most prestigious honours given by the International Badminton Federation (IBF): the Distinguished Service Award in 1985, the Meritorious Service Award in 2000, and induction into the IBF Hall of Fame in 2001.
Christian and his wife Yoke Anwar have two children, Mario and Mariska.
1985 – IBF Distinguished Service Award
2000 – IBF Meritorious Service Award
2001 – IBF Hall of Fame
Perkumpulan Bulu Tangkis Djarum (PB Djarum) Hall of Fame
BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES
Apa & Siapa (Sabaruddin Sa.)
Die Spiele (The official report of the Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXth Olympiad)
Encyclopaedia of Badminton (Pat Davis)
Guinness Book of Badminton (Pat Davis)
-- By Yves Lacroix