Known for his devastating smash, powerful strokes and excellent footwork, Richard “Dick” Birch was one of Canada’s greatest badminton players. Canada’s undisputed mixed doubles king, he won nine Canadian mixed doubles championships with four different partners, his first win in 1934.
Originally from British Columbia where he had an impressive record of provincial and national titles, Birch moved to Toronto in the 1940s, joined the Carlton Club, and continued dominating the sport. A great singles player, Birch won three Canadian titles (1937, 1939, 1948), two Ontario men’s doubles titles (1950, 1952) and four successive mixed doubles titles (1950, 1951, 1952, 1953). Birch captained Canada’s entry into the first Thomas Cup contest in 1948-49 and then again in 1951-52. Often referred to as “the old man of badminton”, Birch was 40 years of age when he won his last provincial title.
After his competing days were over, Birch was president of Dunlop/Slazenger Sports, and honourary member of the Lambton Golf and Country Club and The Royal Canadian Yacht Club. He passed away in 2004 survived by his wife Annemarie.
Birch was inducted into the Ontario Badminton Hall of Fame and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1973.