Badminton Coach Kowi Chandra Breaks Records

Under his training, ten players at Bay Badminton in Milpitas have qualified to compete in the Pan American Junior Championships later this year in Kingston, Jamaica.

Coach Kowi Chandra has a lot to be proud of these days. When the USA Badminton Junior International Trials took place last month in San Francisco, 10 of 25 of his students qualified to compete internationally later this year. Competitor Bintang Badminton Academy had 11 players qualify while Bay Badminton Center's ten players qualified for more events. 

The Indonesian coach and competitive player who came to the U.S. on a visa to instruct youth at the  (BBC) in Milpitas has helped raise the level of badminton in the Bay Area to new heights. 

"My goal as a badminton coach is to promote badminton in the U.S. to a higher level of sports, because there is potential to take a fledgling sport like badminton and turn it into a medal-winning performance, and I'm excited to help the kids reach that level," he said. 

Dawn Kwok, a Cupertino parent, said her son has played under Chandra for six months and has seen a lot of improvements in his badminton skills—and his attitude toward learning.

"Matthias is the youngest among the players," Kwok said. "It's a big challenge for him to play against those 10-year-olds. Chandra definitely helps him to overcome this age barrier by providing him quality and focused training that are commensurate with his level and capability."

Matthias Lai, 8, qualified in the USA Junior Trials in both single and mixed doubles in the under-11 age category. 

"Chandra encourages and builds his confidence in believing in himself," Kwok said.

Eric Chang, 9, has played badminton for almost two years and said the training he has gotten from Chandra is effective, because he's learned how to increase his stamina and improve his shot accuracy. 

"Coach Chandra tells me not to be nervous, and he tells me to not think about winning or losing, but giving a good fight," Chang said. 

Kerry Xu, 11, is in the advanced badminton class at the BBC. Xu practices four days a week and enjoys going to the center, because of the coaches. 

"Coach Chandra has been training my physical, and he has been teaching me skills and how to run," Xu said.

Chandra was born in Indonesia and started playing badminton when he was 7. He started playing with his neighbor, but then joined a badminton club. When he was 9, he got into competitive badminton. 

"During that time, I trained, like, three to four times a week," Chandra said. "It was intensive." 

Chandra played in school competitions then moved onto to city tournaments. When he was 13, he competed nationally and internationally. 

Badminton became a full-time career when he was selected to be in Indonesia's prestigious badminton club, the Djarum Club.

In 2004, Chandra was No. 1 in Indonesia for doubles in the under-19 age category. Chandra then joined the national badminton team in 2005. 

Chandra came to the United States in 2006 as a player competing in the USA Open. He started his coaching career the same year in Menlo Park. In 2009, he started coaching at the BBC. He has more than 40 students, ranging in age from 8-17.

"I like coaching, because I experienced playing as a player for almost 17 years until now; even though right now I still compete, I try to focus more on coaching, because I think there is a need, especially in the Bay Area," Chandra said. "The kids here are really serious. They enjoy badminton and they want to become serious players, and a lot of them want to compete nationally and internationally. They want to represent the U.S."

Chandra said the best part about coaching is getting to know each kid's character.

"I think I have a patience for the kids and also I want to see the results," Chandra said. "I want to inspire the kids to be champions, and show them how to face challenges. I just want to help the kids and promote badminton."

Chandra's program consist of body conditioning, technical work and mental preparation. 

"I try to make sure they have the foundation, like strength, speed and power," Chandra said. "Then I focus on shot accuracy and strategy. Before tournaments, I give them motivation, but, of course, if they want to achieve something, they have to push themselves to the limit, because if they don't give it 100 percent, the result will not be 100 percent."

Badminton is a unique sport, because there are different techniques that players can use, Chandra said. 

"You have to play smart, especially if you get into serious competitions," he said. "There's a lot of speed, power and strategy. It's like chess; you have to think about how you can get the next point."

Chandra's efforts to not only build his students' badminton skills but also their whole being is greatly appreciated by parents of his students. 

"He helps them stay motivated, keeps them on target, builds their team spirit, keeps them in challenge and gives them confidence," Kwok said. "Those are the skills that benefit the kids, not only on the court, but their whole lives."

The following junior players from Bay Badminton Center have qualified to the represent the U.S. at the Pan Am Junior Championships.

Eric Chang under 11 boys singles boys doubles Matthias Lai under 11 boys singles mixed doubles Helen Ye under 11 girls doubles mixed doubles Julie Yang under 11 girls doubles Maggie Li under 11 girls singles Annie Xu under 13 girls singles mixed doubles Kerry Xu under 13 girls doubles mixed doubles Jessica Chang under 13 mixed doubles Jenny Lu under 17 girls singles Sharon Ng under 19 girls singles Pan Am Junior and World Junior Championships
John Lai March 09, 2011 at 12:20 AM
Go Chandra!
Jerry Yao March 09, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Amazing achievement, Chandra.
Sophia Xue March 09, 2011 at 01:08 AM
Big congratulations!
zhiye March 09, 2011 at 01:25 AM
justin March 09, 2011 at 01:39 AM
that's coooool! come on!
My Nguyen March 09, 2011 at 05:28 AM
Thank you Justin, Zhlye, Sophia, Jerry and John for your comments. It's great to see that the community is rooting for such an passionate people such as Coach Chandra and his students. I
kowi chandra March 09, 2011 at 08:36 AM
Thank you My Nguyen for writing an article about my coaching history, hopefully the student can get better result for the Pan Am and future tournament!! Thank you for all the comment, i appreciate it! God bless!
Annie Ha March 09, 2011 at 11:11 PM
Is it really 12 students who qualified? The list above only shows 11 names -- who is the 12th person? And all the people who qualified aren't even in the picture, even though the picture shows exactly 12 kids. That seems to be a little misleading. And of the 11 names listed above, one of them -- Xiu Liu -- actually trains at UBC under his dad (Coach Xiaomu Liu) and probably sometimes at ZBTC under his mom (Coach Lei Zhou). So that means only 10 of Chandra's kids qualified. In that case, Bintang Badminton probably has the most players qualify. The results from the tournament can be found here: http://usjrbadminton.com/2011-junior-international-trial-results. It would be good to cross check the data before posting an article about it.
Adelaide Chen March 09, 2011 at 11:21 PM
Annie, it looks like there may have been ten kids who qualified. Sorry we didn't get it right! And we are STILL sorting this out. I don't know why.
My Nguyen March 10, 2011 at 07:11 PM
After examining the information we provided earlier, we have concluded at Patch that both Bay Badminton and Bintang each had 10 junior players qualify at the trials. Bay Badminton players, however, qualified for the most events. We apologize for the confusion.
a curious reader July 29, 2011 at 04:34 AM
This article is interesting. It comments on Chandra's coaching which is great; however, introduces biases regarding competing business. Nguyen says, "Even though Bintang Badminton Academy had 11 players qualify, Bay Badminton Center's ten players qualified for more events." Why does she mention Bintang in an article praising Chandra? I feel that the author has expressed huge biases toward BBC. She says that "[T]hough Bintang Badminton Academy had 11 players qualify, Bay Badminton Center's ten players qualified for MORE events." as if she was trying emphasize that Bay Badminton's students had greater success versus Bintang. Journalism should allow readers to make their own conclusions rather than introduce foreign biases. America is built upon capitalistic values where business can compete freely. To create an article addressed to the public aimed solely to influence others beliefs is unjust.
Adelaide Chen July 29, 2011 at 03:54 PM
I think the point you've made is valid, and thank you for keeping us in line. I made a slight adjustment to the sentence..."Competitor Bintang Badminton Academy had 11 players qualify while Bay Badminton Center's ten players qualified for more events." There's already enough competition between the two badminton groups (Bintang will eventually open on S. Milpitas Blvd and join Bay Badminton in the city.) so better to be fair as possible.
Richard Goh August 11, 2011 at 11:52 PM
If you want to do the comparison, I would suggest you to put the exact number. "More" is an ambiguous word. "Competitor Bintang Badminton Academy had 11 players qualify x events while Bay Badminton Center's ten players qualified for 16 events."


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