Former World No. 1 Pair Ends Long Wait for Badminton Title
Ami Afriatni& Sandy Pramuji
Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan ended a 16-month title drought by winning the Australian Open Grand Prix Gold men’s doubles crown in Sydney on Sunday.
The world’s 12th-ranked men’s doubles pair beat Lee Sheng-mu and Fang Chieh-min of Taiwan 21-16, 21-15 in the final at Sydney Convention and Exhibition Center for their first title since earning the Asian Games gold medal in Guangzhou, China, in November 2010.
It was also their first title at a Grand Prix Gold, badminton’s second tier, since the Malaysia Open in July 2010.
“After struggling for so long, we’re very relieved to finally earn a title again,” Markis said after the 30-minute final against the 10th-ranked Taiwanese duo.
“We never thought it would be that easy, but we really enjoyed our games today.”
The win should boost the duo’s chances of qualifying for the London Olympics, where it could try to defend the gold medal it won in Beijing four years ago.
Only the top eight doubles pairs in the Badminton World Federation’s ranking as of May 3 will automatically qualify for the 2012 Games.
Two qualifying tournaments remain before then — the Asia Championships in Qingdao, China, from April 17-22 and the India Open Super Series in New Delhi from April 24-29.
However, Markis said the pair had given up on London.
“We won’t play in those two tournaments. We’ve already stopped dreaming of another Olympic gold,” he said.