Olympics: Indonesian Shuttlers Close In on Quarterfinals
Indonesia’s quest for badminton Olympic gold got off to a winning start in London over the weekend, but shuttlers are keen to avoid complacency after pulling off group stage victories that were widely expected.
One of the country’s best hopes, the mixed-doubles team of Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad, secured their second win in the group stage after beating South Korean pair Lee Yong-dae and Ha Jung-eun 21-19, 21-12 at Wembley Arena on Sunday. One more victory will earn the tandem a spot in the quarterfinal round.
Liliyana said the pair was trying to enjoy every game, and had now set its focus on achieving a quarterfinal spot.
“We played very well so far and Tontowi enjoyed the game. We still have one game to go and we want to take the top spot in our group,” Liliyana said. “We will set our focus to the next match against the Danish pair.”
With two wins, the Indonesian pair leads group C and will play Denmark pair Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Ruyter Juhl today.
It will be a rematch of this year’s All England mixed doubles finals, which was won by the Indonesian pair, 21-17, 21-19.
Indonesian coach Richard Mainaky said the pair would need different a approach for today’s match because the Danish pair plays a different style to Indonesia’s previous opponents.
“Liliyana and Tontowi relied on offensive power when they played the Korean pair. It will take strategy and mind games against the Denmark pair,” Richard told state news agency Antara.
In men’s singles, Simon Santoso received his first win of the 2012 Olympics when he beat Raul Must of Estonia in a 21-12, 21-8 rout.
The 2012 Indonesia Open winner will play Michael Lahnsteiner of Austria on Tuesday on his way to the group of 16 where, he’s likely to meet top-seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
Former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat convincingly won his first round men’s singles match to remain on a collision course with Chinese arch-rival Lin Dan. Taufik barely broke a sweat as he toppled Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic 21-8, 21-8.
The 2004 Athens Games winner will face Spain’s Pablo Abian in a group match on Tuesday. A match against Lin would come in the next round.
Taufik, 30, has failed to reclaim his mid-2000s glory days, when he won several world titles, but Lin was concerned enough to be playing close attention to his Indonesian rival during his Sunday match.
“I’ll try to do my best in my last Olympics, but Lin Dan is the best in the world,” Taufik said. “When I was young, [I could beat anyone]. Now I am old.”
In weightlifting, Jadi Setiadi recorded a 277-kilogram total lift to finish second in Group B of the men’s 56kg class.
Meanwhile, swimmer I Gede Siman Sudartawa failed to reach his target of advancing to semifinals after falling short in the heat stage of the 100-meter backstroke event. Siman finished seventh.
JG, Antara, Reuters