Badminton legend now Canadian coach
21/03/2001 : Badminton Canada, Badminton Alberta and Calgary's Glencoe Club have combined forces in the hiring of former superstar Ardy Wiranata as head coach at the National Elite Training Centre in Calgary, the home base for several national team players.
Wiranata has spent the last three seasons as head coach of the American team in Colorado Springs after a brilliant playing career with Indonesia. He was an Olympic silver medallist in 1992 and won the World Cup title in 1991, the World Grand Prix Finals in 1994 and helped Indonesia to two world team championship titles.
Canada is the badminton power in the Pan American zone. However it was felt that to compete against the top countries from Europe and Asia, a concerted effort will be needed for Canadians to be more exposed to the international game.
"It's great to be here in Canada," said Wiranata. "It's a challenge for sure but this is a good team. There's something to build on because the players really want to do well. Right now they are making a lot of mistakes when they play but that's through lack of experience. They need to compete at more international tournaments and practice much more as well."
Ken Poole the manager at the training centre says he's already noticed an attitude change in the players. Some of the top Canadians in Calgary include Denyse Julien, Charmaine Reid, and the men's doubles pair of Brent Olynyk and Brian Moody.
"You can see there's a lot of respect for Ardy," said Poole. "They listen to what he says. A lot of the players are starting to come in here in the morning to get in some extra practice. So obviously they see some improvement already."
Wiranata was a player with strong defensive skills who excelled in long rallies. He says he won''t instill his style into the Canadian players.
"Everybody's different," he said. "The Canadian players are good athletes. We'll work at developing each player''s own style."
Ian Moss, Badminton Canada's Executive Director, says Wiranata's hiring signals a new approach in the partnership between the national federation, the provinces and the clubs.
"This is the start of our new high performance multi-year plan," said Moss. "This partnership approach is the keystone to it. Ardy's hiring is the first result."
This is the second major international hiring by Badminton Canada. In 1999, Gunther Huber, the former high performance director for German Badminton Federation, was named head coach of the Canadian national team.