The Jakarta Post
It is about time the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) put its trust in young players ' despite their lack of experience ' to compete in prestigious events like the world team badminton championship, the Sudirman Cup.
'Don't underestimate young players. Competing in prestigious tournaments will give them experience and good opportunities to become better athletes in the future,' badminton legend Taufik Hidayat told a sport discussion held by online media detiksport.com on Tuesday.
Indonesia is ready to take part in the Sudirman Cup, the world team badminton championship, in Dongguan, China, from May 10 to 17. The next big tournament will be the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore from June 5 to 16.
The PBSI has been left with a less experienced cohort of shuttlers in the wake of the resignations of senior players Tommy Sugiarto and Simon Santoso, whose decisions to quit the national team have drawn criticisms about them lacking commitment and being bad role models for their juniors.
Indonesia won the championship, named after national badminton figure Dick Sudirman, for the first and only occasion when it hosted the inaugural competition in 1989.
Indonesia will be in group C with Denmark and England. Host and defending champion China is in Group A with Thailand and Germany. Group B consists of Japan, Chinese Taipei and Russia, while Group D features 2013 runner-up South Korea, India and Malaysia.
Taufik, a gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, suggested young players could become tournament spoilers as he recollected his early participation in the Asian Games.
He said that he was 17 when he was asked to represent Indonesia at the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand, where he won a gold for the men's team, which also included Hendrawan, Ricky Subagja, Rexy Mainaky, Tony Gunawan, Tri Kusharjanto, Budi Santoso and Candra Wijaya.
Ricky and Rexy doubled the take for the badminton team with their gold in the men's doubles event. In total, Indonesia collected six gold, 10 silver and 11 bronze medals to finish in 11th position at the quadrennial Asian multi-sport event.
'They [the PBSI] shall ask them [young players] whether they have the guts to prove themselves if they are given such a responsibility. Young players usually have nothing to lose, which can spark their best performance whoever they play against,' added Taufik.
He said that even though they do not win a match, at least they will have something to learn from the tournament.
The national training camp currently grooms 66 shuttlers.
'We will send 10 women and 10 men athletes to the Sudirman Cup. They are competing at the [ongoing] Malaysia Open with the Singapore Open being the next tournament,' said training head Ricky Subagja.
Men's doubles pair Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan and mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir will again be Indonesia's backbone at the Sudirman Cup.
While both pairs are expected to contribute points, the other three events ' men's singles, women's singles and women's doubles ' still leave the team weak, with Ricky conceding that regeneration in those three categories is lagging.
The founder of the Tangkas Club, Justian Hadinata, urged the PBSI to strengthen the athletes' mentality for the event.
Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi said he was hopeful that Indonesian players could spring surprises at the tournament.
Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)close x