If Indonesia reaches its third consecutive Sudirman Cup final, there will be little doubt that it earned it.
Indonesia was drawn alongside host China, Japan and England in Group 1B of the 2009 edition of the world team championship, which takes place May 10-17 in Guangzhou. Denmark, Malaysia, Korea and Hong Kong make up Group 1A.
However, that difficult draw has not changed the Indonesian Badminton Association’s target for the national team — an eighth appearance in the Sudirman Cup final.
“We want to repeat our achievement in Glasgow in 2007, where we finished as runner-up, so the final match is our target in Guangzhou,” national team head coach Christian Hadinata said on Sunday.
A lack of experience could hamper the pursuit of that goal — half of Indonesia’s 22-shuttler squad has never represented its country in team competition. Being drawn in the same group as China, which has won six of its seven consecutive finals appearances, may also pose problems.
Christian said he was optimistic about his team’s chances.
“Joining the national team will boost young players’ motivation to do their best in representing the country,” he said. “And its time for players’ regeneration in Indonesia badminton.
“The keys to win are all players must put their focus in every match, never underestimate their opponents and play without any burden.”
Indonesia begins its quest on May 10 against Japan, followed by England on May 11 and China on May 14. The top two teams in each subgroup advance.
China is far from Indonesia’s only concern in the group. England led Indonesia 2-0 in the 2007 semifinals before Taufik Hidayat sparked a run of three consecutive victories for Indonesia. Japan has made significant strides in recent years, especially in doubles. Men’s doubles pair Kenichi Hayakawa and Kenta Kazuno and two women’s doubles teams — Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna, and Mizuki Fukii and Reika Kakiiwa — are ranked in the world top 20.
Meanwhile, Indonesian shuttlers brought home two titles from the third-tier Vietnam International Challenge, which ended on Saturday.
Pia Zebadiah and Debby Susanto won the women’s doubles crown 21-17, 17-21, 21-15 against Japan’s Yui Miyauchi and Yuki Itagaki. In mixed doubles, Tantowi Ahmad and Richi Puspita Dili beat compatriots Fran Kurniawan and Pia 21-14, 21-8.
Dyonisius Hayom Rumbaka lost the men’s singles final 21-14, 21-15 to Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam, and Maria Elifra Christina lost 21-18, 21-14 to Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the women’s singles final.