By kembanggg at photobucket.com
NAME: Rudy Hartono Kurniawan (Nio Hap Liang)
DATE OF BIRTH: Aug 14, 1949
FAMILY: Jane Anwar (wife), Christopher (son) and Christine (daughter)
SUCCESS AS AN OFFICIAL: Team manager of the 1984 Thomas Cup team that took back the Cup from China; coached Indonesia's team that won two gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games; team manager of the Indonesian team that won a gold medal at the Athens Olympic Games.
CURRENT POSTS: International Badminton Federation (IBF) vice-president, All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) development chairman, owner of shoe factory in Jakarta.
1968: bt Tan Aik Huang (Mas)
1969: bt Darmadi (Ina)
1970: bt Svend Pri (Den)
1971: bt Muljadi (Ina)
1972: bt Svend Pri (Den)
1973: bt Christian (Ina)
1974: bt Punch Gunalan (Mas)
1975: lost to Svend Pri (Den)
1976: bt Liem Swie King (Ina)
1978: lost to Liem Swie King (Ina)
THOMAS CUP (FINAL)
1966-1967: lost to Malaysia 3-6
1969-1970: bt Malaysia 7-2
1972-1973: bt Denmark 8-1
1975-1976: bt Malaysia 9-0
1978-1979: bt Denmark 9-0
1981-1982: lost to China 4-5.
(Facts from TheSTARonline)
Believe it or not, there was a time when mention of Indonesia conjured up images of something other than pollution or terrorism. That time was coterminous with the career of badminton star Rudy Hartono—a dazzling eight-year spell from 1968 to 1976, during which Indonesia would be freely associated with agility and brio, not brown haze and bombs. Granted, badminton does not have the massive followings of soccer or cricket. But to its devoted fans there is no sound sweeter than the swish of a goosefeather shuttlecock. Just ask the Indonesians, who arguably are the most fanatical followers of all.
Before the Chinese-Indonesian Hartono, born Nio Hap Liang in 1949, took the badminton world by storm, only one other Indonesian, Tan Joe Hok, had won the coveted All England title—the game's equivalent to Wimbledon. The search was quickly on for another homegrown champion and in Surabaya, the industrial capital of East Java, the young Hartono was being groomed for glory. He trained on concrete at a nearby railway station during the day, and under kerosene lamps at night, under the watchful eye of his father—a player of average ability who channeled frustrated ambitions through his son. "Back then, athletes became successful because of their parents," explains Hartono, now 57 and living in Jakarta, where he works for an oil company. "There was no organization or club, much less sponsorship."
While competing in municipal tournaments, the teenage Hartono caught the eye of national scouts. From that moment on, his rise was the stuff of legend. In 1967, he was part of the Indonesian squad that won the Thomas Cup. The following year, aged 19, he struck out on his own. With the whole country watching back home, Hartono defeated Malaysia's Tan Aik Huang to bring the All England title back to Indonesia. It galvanized the nation. "I remember listening to the match on the radio when I was growing up in Central Java," recalls Clara Joewono, a director at Jakarta's Centre for Strategic and International Studies. "After he won, all the kids in Pekalongan exploded on to the streets with their rackets."
Hartono's playing style, characterized by its ferocious power, earned him eight All England titles, seven of them consecutively. More than that, to a country now riven by religious strife, separatism and economic woes, he was, for eight glorious years, a symbol of unity and pride—badminton's boy king, through whom Indonesia ruled the world.
('Rudy Hartono, His spellbinding victories showed a nation that anything was possible' By Jason Tedjasukmana at TIMEasia)
During his prime years Hartono won men's singles in most of the international tournaments that he entered. He also played on six consecutive Indonesian Thomas Cup (men's international) teams between 1967 and 1982, the first of these when he was only seventeen, helping Indonesia to win four consecutive triennial world team championships (1970, 1973, 1976, 1979). His game was characterized by great power, accuracy, agility, mobility, aggressiveness, and coolness under pressure. In 1997 he was among the first group of players inducted into the World Badminton Hall of Fame.
Hartono competed in badminton at the 1972 Summer Olympics, where badminton was one of two demonstration sports. It was the first time that the sport was part of the Olympic program, and it would become an official Olympic sport 20 years later at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
He won the men's singles event, after beating Jamie Paulson of Canada in the first round, Sture Johnsson of Sweden in the semifinals, and Svend Pri of Denmark in the final 15–6, 15–1.
For two decades, Rudy Hartono enjoyed success as the world's best badminiton player. But when age caught up, he had a tough time facing up to the fact that he was no longer a winner. RAJES PAUL has the exclusive interview:
BADMINTON great Rudy Hartono flashed a smile when he arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Behind the cheerful demeanour, though, is the story of a superstar whose life nearly fell apart.
After two decades of success and glory as the world’s best badminton player, age and the defeats that came with it were just too much for him to handle. Rudy, however, found there was something beyond success and fame to remain sane in the world, as he related during our 45-minute journey from KLIA to Eastin Hotel, where he later gave an hour’s talk on “More than Conquerors” during the second anniversary dinner of The Star’s Christian Fellowship.
Looking back at his life, Rudy, 55, confessed that it had been a painful experience coming to terms with the fact that he could no longer play competitive badminton after being in the limelight as a champion for two decades.
The third child of eight siblings, Rudy described himself as a “sports-crazy” lad. While the family was in the tailoring business and in dairy farming, he was into athletics, swimming, volleyball, football and badminton, which was his favourite. At nine years old, his talent was evident even as he played on the narrow, cobbled road near his house.
By 11, he was training with a small badminton club set up by his father Zulkarnain in a railway station warehouse. The young Rudy trained here almost the entire day. It all paid off. When he was just 15, Rudy left his hometown Surabaya for Jakarta to join the Thomas Cup centralised training centre.
Just before his 17th birthday, he was a member of the Indonesian team that lost to Malaysia in the Thomas Cup Finals in 1967. His rise to stardom began after he won the first of his eight All-England titles – beating Malaysian and defending champion Tan Aik-Huang. Rudy was only 18.
“As a sportsman, I have always targeted to become a champion –nothing less. As there were no World Championships then, the All-England was considered the pinnacle and my aim and focus were all on that,” reminisced Rudy.
“It was not one or two days of hard work. My first All-England title was a culmination of 10 years of taxing and rigid training. My philosophy was simple: train, train harder, and then train even harder until you win.”
Admitting to being a “man who feared losing”, Rudy said that even during training, he imagined everyone – friends and teammates alike – as his rivals.
“I gave my best in training and the same went for the tournaments.”
But age caught up with Rudy, and suddenly he had to live with losing matches. Unable to cope with the pressure, he wallowed in self-pity and considered himself a big loser in life.
“During my heyday, my main rival was Svend Pri of Denmark. He ended my winning streak in the All-England. The biggest disappointment was at the 1973 Thomas Cup on home ground. Indonesia defeated Denmark 8-1. Unfortunately, the only defeat was mine. I lost to Svend. It was heart-wrenching,” he recalled.
It was in the late 1970s that Rudy really struggled as a player. His last memorable win was over his successor Liem Swie King at the 1980 World Championships final in Jakarta.
“I was surprised to be in the final that year,” he said.
“Swie King was playing very well and I could hardly beat him, even in training. I prayed that I would not be humiliated by Swie King. Fortunately I won my first world title.”
The win was sweet for Rudy even though it was soured by rumours that Swie King had been instructed to lose the match to give Rudy a farewell victory.
A defeat to Luan Jin in the third singles of the 1982 Thomas Cup Finals against China marked the sad end of Rudy's badminton career. China defeated Indonesia 5-4 to end the latter's four consecutive Cup titles win. Rudy was then 33.
“I was hopelessly depressed. There was no peace in my heart. I wanted to be a superstar all the time and had set high expectations on myself. I wanted more and more. I had won eight All-England titles and I could not accept the fact that I was not winning any more,” he recounted.
“My life was miserable and I was making it even harder for my loved ones, too.”
“There was so much of pressure and I just could not cope,” added Rudy, who married his number one fan Jane Anwar.
Such was the pressure, he said, that he decided not to encourage his son Christopher (now 26) and daughter Christine (24) to take up badminton.
“There would be great expectations when you are a child of a big star. It would be agonising if the expectations were not met. I just did not want to lose direction in life.”
And where many have not been able to handle the descent from fame – actress Marilyn Monroe, Hong Kong singer Leslie Cheung, novelist Ernest Hemingway, and Svend Pri, to name a few – Rudy has conquered his self-doubts. He now knows where he’s headed, and he is even ready to lead others.
By wundig at photobucket.com
By odietoelle at photobucket.com
Rudy Hartono Kurniawan, 2007
By Eric Thor at mightyt.blogspot.com