Proteges to raise funds for late coach


There are many ways to pay respects to someone, especially when they have passed away. In a bid to remember his beloved coach, Indonesia’s 1995 badminton world champion Hariyanto Arbi has kicked off an effort to sell his racket, along with those of six other top shuttlers, to raise funds for the family of the late Indra Gunawan.

Indra passed away last Sunday at 6:25 a.m. from intestinal cancer.

"We will sell our rackets during *next week’s* Indonesia Open Super Series tournament in Jakarta," he said Thursday, after attending Indra’s funeral at the San Diego Memorial Hills Heroes Plaza in west Karawang, West Java.

"The rackets will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, starting at the kick off of the tournament. The base price is Rp 20 million *US$2,000* but could increase depending on the enthusiasm of badminton lovers," said Hariyanto, who was coached by Indra for about seven years of his time at the national badminton training center.

Details on the sales, however, are still being discussed with the organizers, but Hariyanto said the rackets would be displayed at cigarette maker Djarum’s stand at the Bung Karno Indoor Stadium.

The Indonesia Open will take place from June 16 to 21.

Others willing to give away their rackets for the fund-raising include 2004 Olympic gold medalist Taufik Hidayat, 2001 world champion Hendrawan, three-time All England winner Liem Swie King, 1993 world champion Joko Supriyanto and Malaysians Ong Ewe Hock, the 2001 Malaysian Open winner, and 2008 Olympic silver medalist and world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.

Hariyanto, the last Indonesian to win the All England, back in 1994, said he expected other shuttlers, including Indra’s protege Alan Budikusuma, to donate their rackets for the fund-raising. Indra and eight-time All England champion Rudy Hartono coached Alan during the Barcelona Olympics.

"We’d planned to use the money for Oom *uncle* Indra’s hospital treatment," Hariyanto said.

"But he went before we did it. So we thought we could do a little to help his family."

Ong, who arrived in Jakarta late Wednesday, said Indra was more than just a coach to him.

"He was not just a badminton coach for me. He was someone who gave guidance not only about *badminton* techniques but also about lives. He was like a father," he said.

Ong was among Indra’s prot*g*s in Kuala Lumpur during his stint as the Malaysian national team head coach from 2000 to 2003. He helped Malaysia reached the 2002 Thomas Cup final in Guangzhou, which they lost to Indonesia.

Lee, who had planned to visit Indra during the Indonesia Open, regretted the missed chance.

"I knew he was in critical condition during the Pahang Open recently. In fact, I spoke to him a few days ago and told him to hang in there and wait until I turned up in Jakarta," he said as quoted by The Star.

Indra’s wife Dewi Mirida Japin said her husband had battled with cancer for two years. He was treated at several hospitals in Jakarta and Singapore before his demise. He is survived by his wife, three children and a granddaughter.

Other sports greats buried at the 8-hectare Heroes Plaza include soccer stars Endang Witarsa and Ronny Pattinasarani and shuttler Lie Po Djian, a 1958 Thomas Cup winner.

Indra Gunawan (Lie Tjuan Sien)

Date of birth: Sept. 23, 1947
1970 Asian Games men’s doubles winner
1971 men’s doubles Asian champion
1970 & 1973 Thomas Cup winning team member


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