In a time way before Dato Lee Chong Wei, and even before the Sidek brothers, there was badminton star Punch Gunalan.
He was one of the finest doubles and singles players Malaysia has ever had. In his career, he has represented Malaysia in the Thomas Cup, won singles at the Asian Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in the 70s, as well as the prestigious All England title. His curriculum vitae also include bagging the US Open, Canadian, and Danish titles.
In 2004, he was inducted into the Olympic Council of Malaysia Hall of Fame. A year later, he was inducted as the Deputy President of the International Badminton Federation. Both are notable recognitions for the success he achieved in his career as a badminton player.
So it pains us to say that our country has lost a badminton star early this morning. After suffering from a long, critical illness, our Datuk Punch Gunalan passed away peacefully. He was 68.
May our aspiring badminton sportspeople continue to look up to and seek inspiration from the legend that he has left behind. Rest in peace, Datuk.