Even if it had been only one out of five, the Indonesian badminton team would have been forgiven for yet another lackluster performance in Hyderabad, India.
One trophy would of course have been better than nothing. But the victory that would have been a fitting gift for Indonesia’s independence anniversary eluded the team after Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir lost to Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark in the World Badminton Championship finals on Sunday.
The Indonesian mixed doubles pair Nova/Liliyana put in a below-par performance as they crashed out 21-13, 21-17. Their previous comeback run in the semifinals, in which they overcame a second-game loss and overhauled a five-point deficit in the third game, deserted them this time around.
During the match, aired live on GlobalTV, Nova/Natsir were always trailing the Danes.
The world No. 2 fell 8-0 and 11-4 in the opening game, which proved to be too big a gap to overhaul. They could not release themselves from the pressure in the second game, which resulted in them trailing 19-12.
They clawed their way back to close the gap before the Danes rounded off the match for victory.
The defeat not only spoiled their bid for a third trophy after 2005 and 2007, but also capped Indonesia’s poor performance at the championships.
While China again showed its might by collecting four titles – with Denmark securing the one title – Indonesia returned home empty-handed, in a repeat of the 2006 championships in Madrid.
On Saturday, hopes were high with 2005 champion Taufik Hidayat and 2007 runner-up Sony Dwi Kuncoro advancing to the semifinals in the men’s singles competition.
However, both succumbed to the blistering Chinese attacks from Chen Jin and eventual winner Lin Dan respectively.
In the three other draws – the women’s singles and doubles, and the men’s doubles – the Indonesian shuttlers fell by the wayside.
Women’s singles ace Maria Kristin Yulianti fell short of rediscovering a stunner that earned her a bronze during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki and Rian Sukmawan were still far from able to cover up the defect in the men’s doubles in the absence of the team’s aces Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.
Debutantes Shendy Puspita Irawati and Meiliana Jauhari’s hopes for a thrust into the world’s women’s doubles elite were shattered by Ma Jin and Wang Xiaoli.
The championship debacle wrapped up Indonesia’s pathetic run this year, beginning with the Malaysia Super Series.
Even when playing at home, at the Indonesian Super Series, the Indonesian players came second fiddle to their opponents.
Taufik, the only Indonesian player to advance to the finals of that competition, failed to secure a trophy for the home side after he was beaten by Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
Lius Pongoh, an official from the Badminton Association of Indonesia, was quoted by Antara as saying, "This is all we can do. We have no better crop of players than those we have now."