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LETTER | The name Punch Gunalan is synonymous with badminton.

Gunalan, real name Panchacharam Gunalan, was a notable single as well as a double badminton player during the late 1960s and 70s.

The nickname 'Punch' Gunalan was aptly so, as his smashes had the killer punch effect.

Those days, it was not uncommon for players such as the great Rudy Hartono, Tan Aik Huang, and Liem Siew King to name a few, to be involved in both singles and doubles play.

Gunalan and Ng Boon Bee forged a formidable doubles combination and went on to capture countless titles across the globe.

Gunalan excelled in singles tournaments too, and in the All-England badminton final in 1974, he narrowly lost in a hard-fought thrilling match to Rudy of Indonesia by the scoreline of 8-15, 15-9 and 15-10.

After retiring from representing the nation, Gunalan was actively involved in the development of the game. He held various important posts in the world badminton stage.

Besides all these services and sacrifices made for the betterment of world badminton, one thing strikes out rather prominently.

He helped revolutionise the present scoring system, whereby every serve gives rise to a point to the server or the receiver, unlike prior to it, where only the server is eligible to get a point. It made the game much more interesting and livelier.

Gunalan passed away in 2012.

Recently, he was feted by the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association at a function in honour of his contributions and services to badminton on the home and world front.

His record as a player, and later as an administrator speaks for itself. He is a true icon of badminton. Only fond memories linger on.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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