The Jakarta Post
There's no such thing as aging-out for Matthew Fogarty. At 58, he became the oldest shuttler competing in the ongoing Total BWF World Championships at the Istora Senayan Indoor Stadium, Jakarta.
Pairing with Bjorn Seguin, 25, Fogarty was no match against Indonesia's Andrei Adistia and Hendra Aprida Gunawan as the American pair lost 21-18, 21-8 in the opening round on Monday.
What stood out was his unflinching spirit in his game.
Far from being in a downbeat mood, Fogarty said he felt like coming home to play in Indonesia where the people were so fond of badminton, a sport he had played since the tender age of 7.
'Everybody's been so welcoming here. It's almost like coming home for me because I love the sport so much and the people in Indonesia love the sport so much,' he told reporters.
Little-known Fogarty has been qualified for the badminton world championship seven times.
'I'm a doctor. I took time off [from badminton] to go to medical school. I come back to show the world that badminton is the healthiest sport and the best individual sport in the world,' he added.
He said he practiced six days a week after work to maintain his fitness. He expressed his keenness to make a change in US badminton.
'Some of the young players can't get ahead if they are not selected by the national associations. My part in coming out and playing with Bjorn is that I was hoping that if we continue we will demonstrate that it is the quality of badminton that determines the outcome. Ultimately badminton will become free,' Fogarty said.
Fogarty paired with Dean Schoppe to win the Brazilian International title in 1999. The next year, they won the US Nationals.
The Deccan Herald reported in its August 2009 online edition that the US badminton association did its best to stop the two veterans from playing, but their never-say-die attitude has kept them going. 'We were asked to quit because we were too old, but there is nothing in the rule book that stops us from playing just because we are old. One of the main reasons I am playing is to make a point to them,' Fogarty was quoted as saying.
He complained about corporate control of the association.
'Right now it is not free for badminton players to compete around the world. It is controlled by the national associations and corporations behind it. You may notice that in a lot of competitions when one country comes up against the same country, there's one easier match. The associations are trying to get certain players ahead by having two people from the same country play against each other and then one throws the match to the other.'
Fogarty said that he would always keep his eyes on the Badminton World Federations (BWF) and the national associations so that young players have a chance to get to the top.
'I believe that badminton is the best individual sport in the world. It is more like golf, where the best individual player comes forward. The way it is now throughout the world, a national governing body like the USA badminton association tried to control it so that the best players don't necessarily get to the top.'