In a game considered much faster and more concentrated than tennis, where the “shuttlecock” can reach speeds of 100 miles an hour, and play includes "smashes," "drops," and "clears," a champion badminton player requires both great speed and endurance. Wayne Macdonnell maintained that high level of fitness over an eighteen-year career as a top ranked Canadian athlete, equally at home on the singles or doubles badminton court.

Born in Vancouver on June 28,1940, Macdonnell soon established himself as a major contender for national badminton competition. Early on in his career, one reporter predicted Macdonnell was destined to become one of Canada’s all-time great players. It proved sound judgement. Macdonnell won five BC singles championships in 1961-62, 1964, 1966, and 1970 and three BC doubles championships in 1962, 1966, and 1975.

At the age of 21, Macdonnell became Canada’s badminton singles champion, reclaiming the title a record of six times between 1962-67. In 1963, he also held the Canadian doubles title with partner, Bert Fergus. In fact, Macdonnell played for over six years from 1962-67, averaging ten to twelve tournaments per year, without losing a single match to another Canadian.

The winning, though, was not limited to the national level. Internationally, Macdonnell brought home fourteen Washington State singles championships between 1958 and 1975, won the US Open mixed championship in 1966, and the Irish Open singles title in 1970.

At the pinnacle of international competition, the coveted Thomas Cup is played for every three years and is considered to be the “Davis Cup of badminton.” In his first year qualifying for the national team, Macdonnell won six straight matches, surprising everyone, and was the only player to go undefeated. To prove a point, he set a Canadian record as a representative on the six-man Thomas Cup team a total of six times out of a possible six opportunities over a fifteen-year period from 1961-76.

Continuing into badminton administration, Macdonnell managed BC’s 1975 silver medal-winning team in the Canada Winter Games and the 1986 Thomas Cup team for Canada. Macdonnell later served as president of Badminton Canada and a corporate member of Sears Canada in Ontario.