Michael Scandolera

Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

Category: Sports Hall of Fame

Sport: Badminton Player

Gippsland’s loss was certainly Shepparton’s gain when a young badminton player from Gippsland named Michael Scandolera came to live in Congupna when his parents purchased a dairy farm. Michael had been playing Badminton since the age of 5. By 8 he had won his first Victorian title, an under 15 boy’s doubles. By 12 he was Victorian under 17 champion.

On his arrival in Shepparton at 15 years of age, Michael turned up at the badminton centre in Shepparton in 1976 and asked Shepparton Badminton Champion Ron Howell for a game. Ron soon found out that the young lad from Gippsland could really play the game as Michael beat Howell 15 – 6 and Ron Howell knew that a future champion had arrived. By the age of 17 he was Victoria’s first triple senior champion whilst still a junior.

Life was busy for the young Badminton enthusiast as he helped milk the cows on the family’s dairy farm, received his education and travelled extensively to play in progressively higher standards of Badminton tournaments. Michael became the only Victorian to win state selection at both senior and junior National Championships. He soon had an Australian title under his belt when he won the 1976 Australian Men’s Doubles title with John Clancy of Melbourne.

It was obvious that this young Victorian was destined for the top and at 18 he became the youngest ever Badminton representative when he was selected in Australia’s badminton team for the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton Canada. Michael became a key player for his country and lifted Australian International stature in Badminton when at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games he led Australia to its first medal in any Commonwealth Games since Badminton became a games sport in Kingston Jamaica in 1966. The boy from Shepparton had become a true champion, but more was to come.

In 1983 he won the Australian open Men’s Singles Championship. In 1985 with Maxine Evans of Yea Michael reached the Quarter finals of the All England Mixed Doubles at Wembley. In Edinburgh Scotland in 1986 Michael partnered Audrey Tuckey of Perth to win Australia’s first Commonwealth Games Badminton Gold Medal in the mixed doubles and he again captained the Australian team to a bronze medal in the team’s event. Naturally Michael excelled at State level and has won the Victorian Men’s Singles twice and a total of 9 Men’s Doubles and 8 Mixed Doubles titles.

Since retiring from competitive badminton in 1989 his life still revolved around his sports retail business. He still involves himself in badminton playing in the local competition and running the occasional coaching clinic. Michael Scandolera set the scene for many badminton players who took up the sport due to his wonderful success in representing his country.