After being outplayed and outclassed in Europe, men’s beach volleyball pair Andy Ardiansyah and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro must now regain their competitive ahead of the Asian Games.
Eager to get some competitive action before the Asian Games kick off in Guangzhou, China, in November, Andy and Koko flew to Europe last month to participate in three legs of the Swatch FIVB World Tour.
The two took part in tournaments in Norway, Finland and the Netherlands, but failed to get far in any of the events, falling each time in the second round of the qualifying phase.
“We’re such a long way from where we want to be at this point,” Koko said on Monday. “Most of the opponents we faced have been playing since the World Series started [in Brazil in April], and we only started recently.”
Andy and Koko began their European adventure at the Otera Open in Norway, which took place Aug. 11-15. They were given an opening-round bye and then promptly lost 21-16, 21-17 to Alexey Sidorenko and Alexandr Dyachenko of Kazakhstan in the second round.
Andy and Koko fared little better in the next event, the Paf Open in Finland, from Aug. 18-22. The Indonesians beat Swedish pair Andreas Ragfeldt and Simon Ekback Nordstrom 21-14, 21-16 in their first match, but again stumbled in the second round, losing 15-21, 21-16, 15-12 to Norway’s Iver Andreas Horrem and Oivind Hordvik.
At the Milner Open in the Netherlands on Aug. 25-29, Andy and Koko started positively with a 21-13, 17-21, 19-17 win against France’s Pierre Basset and Nicolas Lemaitre in the first round, before exiting at the hands of Italy’s Fosco Cicola and Gianluca Casadei 21-19, 21-14, again in the second round.
Another Indonesian pair that took part in all three tournaments — Suratna and Dian Putra Santosa — came away with similarly disappointing results.
At the Otera Open, Suratna and Dian were defeated 21-18, 15-21, 15-11 by Dag Stromsuag and Anders Stromsvag of Norway in the first round.
They started the Paf Open with an 18-21, 21-18, 15-12 win over Estonia’s Maksim Petrov and Aleksei Povjakel, but failed to keep up the momentum and lost 21-15, 21-19 to Gao Peng and Li Jian of China.
At the Milner Open, Suratna and Dian were again sent packing in the first round, falling 21-14, 21-14 to England’s Jody Gooding and Tom Lord.
Though the results were not encouraging, Andy said he felt all four players had “gained good experience and learned more about their potential opponents at the Asian Games.”
“I know the results were disappointing, but the World Series benefited us in terms of scouting the opposing squads,” he said. “We’ve seen how much they’ve improved and we know now basically what to expect from them in the Asian Games.
“For our part, to get better, we need to play in more international tournaments. That will serve us in good stead once we start competing in the Asian Games.”
Both Indonesian pairs will be heading to India for the Challenger Beach Volleyball Championship, which will be held from Sept. 27 to Oct. 2 at Marina and Elliot’s Beach, Chennai.
After the Indian competition, they will return home for the Belitung Open at Tanjung Pendam Beach, Belitung, Sumatra, (Oct. 8-10) and the Bangka Open at Parai Beach Resort, Bangka (Oct. 13-16), also in Sumatra.
Andy and Koko finished fourth at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, while Suratna and Dian will be making make their Asiad debut in Guangzhou.