With South Korea already opting out of the Junior Challenge Open Badminton championships in Jakarta in the wake of the West Sumatra earthquake, local young stars are also steering shy.
The six-day event was touted as a warm-up prior to the World Junior Badminton Championships, but the national badminton authority is sending only five of its 39 junior athletes.
The second edition of championships, co-sponsored by the Tangkas Badminton Club and retail chain Alfamart, commenced Monday in the capital.
The five players from the junior national camp are Kevin Alexander, Suci Rizki Andini, Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah, Della Destiara Harris and Gebby Ristyani Imawan, all playing in doubles.
Suci plays with Kevin in the mixed doubles, and with Tiara in the girls’ doubles, while Della and Gebby are also in the girls’ doubles.
"The Alfamart Open can serve as a good tryout for them before competing in the World Junior Badminton Championships in Malaysia," said tournament director Juniarto Suhandinata.
"I regret that they’re not using this opportunity."
Points are up for grabs for shuttlers aiming to compete in next year’s national selection for the junior training camp, he added.
The US$15,000 event for under-19 shuttlers features more than 400 players from 13 countries: the Netherlands, Malaysia, India, South Africa, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, the United States, Sri Lanka, Australia and Indonesia.
South Korea, which was to have sent 11 shuttlers, withdrew due to concerns over the recent massive earthquake in Padang, West Sumatra.
"The parents of the Korean shuttlers were worried for their children’s safety, despite the fact that Padang is far from Jakarta," said tournament official Unang Sukardja.
Chinese shuttlers are also notably absent, due to a clash with a local tournament there.
Thirty Indonesian shuttlers have withdrawn from the championships for various reasons.
"Next year, we need to have a stricter selection to avoid having so many withdrawals like this," Suhandinata said.
Indonesia’s young shuttlers are currently preparing for the world championships in Kedah, Malaysia, which runs from Oct. 23 to Nov. 1.