Rueful Rexy, coach who longs to come home
You might have recognized the Indonesian man sitting behind Filipinos Philip Joper Escuerta and Magnaye Peter Gabriel as they played Rahmat Adianto and Angriawan Berry at the Djarum Indonesia Open on Tuesday.
The man stayed mostly silent throughout the qualifying match, his emotion only showing in applause whenever Escuerta or Gabriel scored.
Rexy Mainaky, formerly the men’s doubles world champion from Indonesia, took the world by storm when he partnered with Ricky Subagja in the 1990s.
Fifteen years ago, Rexy’s impressive performances at many international events were a source of pride for Indonesians throughout the archipelago.
Even now, local badminton fans would not hesitate to cite Rexy as one of the living legends of national badminton.
However, after five years of coaching in the UK and seven more years coaching in Malaysia, Rexy was recently installed as the head coach of the Philippines’ national badminton team.
“It’s not that I don’t want to go home,” Rexy said. “It’s just that I’ve been contracted by the Philippines for the next two years.”
Rexy said that training Indonesia’s national team was still one of his deepest desires.
“I am honestly saddened by the current condition of the national team. There are so many players with so much untapped potential, and yet they end up being so-so,” he said. “Nowadays, players are proud when they win a national tournament. Years ago, we were the champions of the world. We used to win many international events, one after another.”
Rexy’s road to international acclaim began in early 1990s, when then-national team coach Christian Hadinata chose him to replace his brother Richard Mainaky as the partner of Ricky Subagja.
The decision proved to be a great one, as the new pair became one of the most internationally successful men’s doubles teams of the next decade. Noted for their quickness and power, Rexy and Ricky won over thirty international titles together.
They snatched the Olympic gold in Atlanta in 1996, the 1995 IBF World Championship in Lausanne, Switzerland and the esteemed All-England Championships back to back in 1995 and 1996.
Rexy’s other titles with Ricky include the open championships in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Denmark. The pair snatched gold medals in the Indonesia Open in 1993, 1994, 1998,
After his retirement in the early 2000s, Rexy set his eyes on coaching. During his time in England, he shepherded the duo of Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms to gold medals at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
While in Malaysia, he trained the pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, who later won the silver at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
In the future, Rexy said that he would set a target for his new Filipino students to win medals at the next Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
“The long-term plan is to win the 2016 Olympics,” he added.
— JP/Iman Mahditama