Before reigning on the world badminton scene from 1955 to 1966, Finn Kobberø was a precocious Danish champion. He started winning Danish junior titles as early as 1951. He took the U-16 crown in 1951 and the U-18 crowns in 1953 and 1954. He went on to win more than 22 senior national titles, 4 of which in men's singles, 9 in men's doubles and as rest in mixed doubles with 5 different partners.
The Danish giant’s talent quickly spilled over to the international scene when the All England was by far the most prestigious international title in the sport. At that tournament, he won 15 titles with 4 different partners. In men's doubles, he won 6 titles with hard-hitting Jørgen Hammergaard Hansen and 1 with Poul-Erik Nielsen. In mixed doubles, he shared 4 of his titles with Kirsten Thorndahl and as many with Ulla Rasmussen (who later changed her name to Strand). To this date, with his 15 titles in both doubles events, he is the fifth most successful player in All England history and the most successful Danish player in the history of the tournament.
Despite his expertise in doubles, Finn Kobberø also reached the All England final in men's singles 3 times but never succeeded to add the title to his collection. Many blamed his disdain of training for his failure to win the coveted trophy. He nevertheless managed to win singles titles at the Danish and US Opens.
He represented Denmark 42 times in international competitions. His outstanding record in Thomas Cup events translates into 55 wins in 64 matches. He namely played a major role at the 1955 Thomas Cup, in which he helped Denmark reach the final against then Malaya. Denmark went on to lose 1-8 but he and Hansen were the only ones to snatch a victory against the Asians in the one-sided 9-game match.
One of the finest stroke players to have graced the badminton court according to his contemporaries, he was a master of deception and feints. With only the use of his racket skills, Finn Kobberø had the uncanny ability to win rallies in 1 or 2 shots.
Handsome and a character both on and off the court, the bearded giant won the heart of the crowds at Wembley Arena and everywhere else he appeared. His friendship with the great Eddy Choong, who dreaded to play against the Dane, was honored when the Malaysian legend named his first son, Finn Choong, after him.
After his distinguished playing career, he remained a part of the sporting world. He became a journalist, and worked mostly as a television and radio commentator for Danmarks Radio.
Finn Kobberø received the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Distinguished Service Award in 1986 and became one of first players to become a member of the BWF Hall of Fame in 1977. To underline his fruitful career, he was also awarded the Badminton Denmark Meritorious Award by the Danish federation.
Finn Kobberø passed away on January 21st, 2009. He was survived by his wife Lise-Lotte.
1986 – IBF Distinguished Service Award
1997 – IBF Hall of Fame
Badminton Danmarks fortjensttegn (Badminton Denmark Meritorious Award)
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)
L’univers du badminton avec Yves Paré (François Béliveau)
-- By Yves Lacroix