Former Greats Unite to Bring Changes to Indonesian Badminton
In an unprecedented move, a group of the country’s badminton legends have united to voice their concern over the swift fall of one of Indonesia’s most popular sports.
After surprise exits in the quarterfinals of the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup, 26 local badminton greats joined forces and have petitioned the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) to stop the rot. The stars offered advice on how to halt the country’s downward spiral and demanded that PBSI officials listen to them.
The assembled greats include former shuttlers who are now PBSI officials, such as national training camp chief Christian Hadinata and doubles coach Richard Mainaky, as well as current star Taufik Hidayat.
“I’m still on the PBSI advisory board. I’ve been giving advice, but they’ve haven’t taken any of it,” said Rudy Hartono, a four-time Thomas Cup and eight-time All England winner. “I hope now they will listen. If they cannot do their jobs well, they should just step down from the PBSI.”
Last week, Indonesia’s men and women both lost 3-2 to Japan in the quarterfinals of the world team championships in Wuhan, China. Former world champion Joko Suprianto called it “the darkest day in Indonesian badminton.”
Only mixed doubles duo Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir have won major tournaments this year, jeopardizing Indonesia’s run of earning at least one badminton gold medal since it became a full Olympic sport in 1992.
China, meanwhile, affirmed its dominance of world badminton by winning the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup. The Chinese men equaled Indonesia’s record of taking five successive Thomas Cup titles.
The petition, which will be sent to the PBSI today, included seven points. The former shuttlers demand an evaluation of the national training program and coaching staff, as well as urging the PBSI’s provincial offices to take an active role in the sport’s development.
They also questioned the appointment of Chinese coach Li Mao to lead the national team and Wong Tat Meng of Malaysia as his assistant.
“We are not against foreign coaches,” said Ivana Lie, the 1985 mixed doubles world champion. “We’d have no problem if they were great coaches. However, they’ve been here for two years and we haven’t seen any progress. We believe the PBSI should reconsider their jobs.”