The Jakarta Post
Two Indonesian sport associations have decided to boost their athletes fighting spirit through exhibition tournaments despite the country’s increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
The Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) and Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) have tailored the tournaments to be part of their preparations for future local and international events, including the Tokyo Olympics, which has been postponed to July to August next year due to the outbreak.
Pelti recently concluded a three-week tournament for its women’s squad, with all of its players competing in singles and doubles’ matches with a round-robin format.
The competing players were 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalists Aldila Sutjiadi, Beatrice Gumulya and Jessy Rompies, as well as juniors Priska Madelyn Nugroho, Janice Tjen and Rifanty Dwi Kahfiany.
Aldila, who ranks 378th in the Women Tennis Association (WTA), won the singles category, defeating Jessy in a July 1 final. After the tournament, Aldila acknowledged that she was still unsure about competing in the near future because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that one tournament was scheduled to take place in Thailand in August, but she was hesitant about attending.
Australian Open junior girls doubles champion Priska was grateful for the tournament, saying that the three-week event had allowed her to practice her skills with the racket.
“It feels great to be back playing matches and feeling that exciting atmosphere again,” Priska wrote on her Instagram account after completing the three-week simulation tournament.
Veteran player Christopher Rungkat claimed victory of the men’s singles category after defeating Rifqi Fitriadi 7-5, 6-4. The men’s doubles victory was secured by the Rifqi Triadi and M Gunawan pair.
All the men’s and women’s simulation tournaments were held at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sports complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta. Though it was open to the public, the tournament did not attract many spectators to the arena.
Unlike Pelti, which decided to hold the tournament at the GBK’s tennis stadium, the PBSI organized a simulation tournament at its training camp in Cipayung, East Jakarta, which closed its doors to the public at the beginning of the pandemic in March.
The month-long tournament, sponsored by homegrown streaming services Mola TV, started in late June with the men’s doubles being the first category to be contested. As of the second week of July, the Mola TV PBSI Home tournament has featured games from three categories, namely men’s doubles, mixed doubles and men’s singles. The women’s doubles and women’s singles games will be held next week.
In the men’s doubles category, players were not paired up with their usual partners on the court but with new players, with veterans and juniors paired together for the first time. Fajar Alfian — who is usually paired with Muhammad Rian Ardianto — and his junior partner Yeremia Erich Yoche cane out as winners.
Meanwhile, 2020 All England champions Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti were still too strong for their compatriots as they won the final against Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Winny Oktavina Kandauw.
Meanwhile, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting defeated Shesar Hiren Rustavito in the men’s singles final.
PBSI secretary general Achmad Budiharto said the exhibition tournament was a chance for coaches to study their player’s current condition in terms of physical and technical readiness.
“This could be an evaluation for them, so they can be ready for a real tournament,” he said as quoted by badmintonindonesia.org.
“The players felt the benefits of this tournament. Many of them previously thought that a home tournament would be like a regular match amid their daily training, but they were quite surprised as we designed the competition to have the atmosphere of a real tournament.”
International badminton competitions are scheduled to start in early September with the Taiwan Open as the first major tournament to take place after the pandemic-induced hiatus.