Life

Hendra Setiawan and Markis
Kido: Partners in Olympic
gold

Hendra had planned to use his lucky racket in the 2008 Beijing Olympics men's doubles badminton final.

Instead, he broke the racket, which he used to win the 2007 world champion title with long-time partner Markis Kido, during warm-ups.

However, they still won the men's doubles title at the quadrennial event on Saturday, dashing the hopes of host China to earn its first gold in the category.

The Indonesians defeated the Chinese pair of Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng 11-21, 21-12, 21-16 in a dramatic 49-minute final.

"I'm very proud of contributing Indonesia's first gold medal here. Tomorrow is our independence day celebration and I'm happy that we gave our country the best present. This medal is also our presents for our birthdays," said Kido, whose birthday is on Aug. 11 while Hendra's falls on Aug. 25, after winning the medal.

"We fulfilled the hope of Indonesians to continue the gold medal tradition at the Olympics. We are proud that we followed in the footsteps of Ricky (Subagdja) and Rexy (Mainaky) and Candra (Wijaya) and Tony (Gunawan)."

For these two men, badminton has run in their blood from an early age. As youth, they joined the same club, teamed up when they were teens and now share the joy of becoming the world's best.

They may not have the finesse play of 1996 Atlanta Olympics gold medalists Ricky and Rexy or the natural charisma of 2000 Sydney Olympics winners Candra and Tony, but they have their own style that fits the current badminton game of speed and power.

The two considered their personalities similar to Tony and Candra. Most of the time they hang out together, despite, they point out, different tastes in English Premier League soccer. Hendra is a Manchester United fan while Kido roots for the Gunners (Arsenal).

Kido even plans to pay a visit to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London next year after winning the All England.

What do they think about each other?

"Hendra is very diligent, patient and serious. I can't find any negative side to him," Kido said of his partner.

Hendra said, "Kido is very energetic."

However, he added that Kido could not talk to him for a week if he ever thought Hendra was the cause of one of their defeats. "That's the bad side."

Starting international-level play five years ago, Kido and Hendra began their quest for multiple titles with their victory at the 2005 Indonesian Open.

At that time, they were still under the shadow of seniors Alvent Yulianto and Luluk Hadiyanto. But now they are the country's best hopes to regain the country's one-time domination in men's doubles.

Hendra, who was born in Pemalang, Central Java, on Aug. 25, 1984, was raised the youngest of three sons. His two older sisters -- Sylvia Anggraini (who later married 2000 Sydney Olympics silver medalist and 2001 world champion Hendrawan) and Ivonne Anggraini -- both used to play the sport too.

"My father began taking me to play badminton when I was seven. He used to take me to practice at Sinar Mutiara club in Tegal (a nearby town, less than an hour away by) motorbike," he said.

His father Ferry Yoegianto and mother Kartika Christianingrum supported their only son's decision to become a shuttler.

"I wanted to become a shuttler ever since childhood," Hendra said.

Kido -- who was born in Bekasi, east of Jakarta, exactly two weeks before Hendra -- shared a similar story.

With his younger brother Bona Septano and younger sister Pia Zebadiah Bernadet he trained at the national badminton center in Cipayung, East Jakarta.

Their older sister, Ika Novitaria, is the only child in the family of father Djumharbey Anwar and mother Yul Asteria Zakaria not involved in the sport.

Prior to joining the center, he was a member of a small club in Bekasi named Dian Jaya before joining the Jaya Raya.

Kido, who plans to get engaged with long-time girlfriend Richasari Pawestri in December, said that even though he and Hendra had won the Olympics gold, they were still eying more titles such as additional Super Series championships, the All England and the Asian Games gold medal.

Despite seeing being crowned world and Olympics champs, coach Sigit Pamungkas believed his protegees would not be satisfied to rest with their achievements.

"They still have the potential to excel. I'm sure they are eager to reach that and will not be easily distracted by other things," he said.

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