Local shuttlers expect tough challenge from world peers
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World class badminton players are set to participate in the Djarum Superliga Badminton 2013 scheduled for Feb. 3-9 at the DBL Arena, Surabaya, East Java.
The competition will feature 10 men’s and eight women’s teams vying for a total of Rp 1.6 billion (US$165,460) in prizes.
“This year Superliga will be more intense as this will be the first time foreign clubs will participate in the competition. There will be five foreign clubs,” Superliga director Yoppy Rosimin told a press conference here on Tuesday.
The foreign clubs include Korean Ginseng Company (KGC), Malaysian Tigers and Japan-based Unisys, Renesas and Tonami. Unisys will play in the men’s and women’s divisions while Renesas and Tonami will only play in the women’s and men’s divisions respectively.
KGC is involved only in the women’s and Malaysian Tigers in both the men’s and women’s events. The format of the competition will see three singles and two doubles events.
Local clubs may field foreign players, but they are restricted to only two of the five events.
Among the international players in the competition are world’s number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, South Korean Lee Hyun-il and China’s Chen Chou Tien.
They will represent the Musica Champion Kudus club.
Meanwhile, Tangkas Specs have recruited Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam, while Jaya Raya Jakarta will line out Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana and Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk.
The Superliga defending champion, SGS PLN Bandung, will still field its ace, 2004 Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat with its foreign contingent consisting of China’s Wang Zhengming and Kenichi Tago of Japan.
In the women’s competitions Juliane Schenk of Germany and Tai Tzu Ying of China will play for Djarum Kudus.
Minatsu Mitani of Japan and Busanan Ongbumrungpan of Thailand will play for Jaya Raya.
“This is an opportunity for Indonesian badminton players to meet and play against world-class players. We hope they can learn a thing or two from them,” said Yoppy.
Kusdarto Pramono of the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) hoped the presence of foreign players would improve the competitiveness. Yan Haryadi from PT. Djarum expected the Superliga competition would improve the quality of national badminton as well as providing entertainment for badminton fans in the country.
— JP/Irawaty Wardany