Indonesia’s badminton hall of shame
Paper Edition | Page: 2
Coming to London with high hopes of retaining its gold medal tradition, Indonesia’s badminton squad was forced to swallow a bitter pill, not only because it ended up heading home empty-handed, but also due to two players being disqualified from the quadrennial event for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari were two of eight players issued a black card by the referee during their July 31 match for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match”. The other six shuttlers were the South Korean pairs of Ha Jung-eun/Kim Min-jung and Jung Kyung-eun/Kim Ha-na as well as Chinese pair Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) disqualified the eight players the next day, a slap in the face for badminton ever since the sport was officially included in the Olympics in 1992.
“We are trained by our seniors who have world-class experience. We are ready to lose, but not to be accused of cheating,” Meiliana said at the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) official website, pb-pbsi.org.
Greysia said she felt saddened by her disqualification. “But at least we tried and finished the game.”
Many demanded the BWF to immediately review the newly introduced round-robin system of competition in the Olympics. The BWF said it would evaluate the round-robin stage but made no promise of any changes.
“We are giving [the BWF] one request. This system needs to be changed. The BWF needs to apply the knockout stage like it used to, so there won’t be any strategies [that undermine sportsmanship],” Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng said.
In relation with the scandal, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) also ordered the national Olympic committees of Indonesia, South Korea and China to investigate their badminton coaches.
Andi said no decision had been taken as he had yet to receive a complete report of the incident from PBSI executives and the chef de mission Erick Thohir.
When asked whether the PBSI would meet the IOC’s order on coach investigations, Indonesia’s Olympic badminton team manager Sabar Yudo Saroso said the PBSI was mulling “internal disciplinary acts” but said he was unaware of the details.
The 1992 Barcelona Olympic gold medalist Susy Susanti said the PBSI, the government and other stakeholders must settle the true reasons behind Indonesia’s failure in London.
She said Indonesia should learn from China, which did not win gold in 1992 but later dominated the field after it learned from its mistakes.
China began dominating the sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, winning four out of five gold medals on offer, leaving the men’s doubles gold to Indonesians Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan.
“We’ve had our glory days, they’ve already passed. Now, we have to realize that we need to work really hard to fix things,” Susy said. “To do that, we need to know why we lost and why we didn’t win a medal.”
University of Indonesia sports psychologist Enoch Markum said it was obvious that psychological factors had affected mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir, the only Indonesian shuttlers reaching the semifinals.
Tontowi said he had to deal with too much pressure as he and Liliyana, who took the silver medal in 2008 with then partner Nova Widianto, were the only hopes left.
“I take this as a lesson that playing at the Olympics is very different from playing at other tournaments. The pressure is very high,” he said.