After enduring one of its worst years in history last season, the Indonesian Badminton Association is doing everything in its power to avoid a repeat in 2010.
Its approach is a familiar one, though, as the association, also known as the PBSI, plans to keep its national shuttlers in their training camp and hold them out of the Super Series opener, the Korea Open on Jan. 12-17.
Indonesia head coach Christian Hadinata said the shuttlers needed more time to recover after having only returned to training in Cipayung this week following their post-Southeast Asian Games break. Instead, the national team will make its season debut at the Malaysia Open on Jan. 19-24.
“Sending players to back-to-back tournaments with only a little time to rest, such as Korea and Malaysia, has become our biggest problem. The PBSI is trying to fix it this year,” Christian said. “The players will have no time to rest and will lose their focus, and then they get nothing from both tournaments.”
Christian offered Simon Santoso as an example. Simon claimed his first Super Series title by winning the Denmark Open on Oct. 25, but he went on to lose in the French Open second round four days later.
“It will be better if they go until the final match of a tournament than only reaching the quarterfinals in two successive championships,” the coach added.
Indonesian shuttlers won just five of the 60 Super Series titles on offer last year, down from 10 in 2008. In addition to Simon, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan combined for two men’s doubles titles, while Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir won two mixed doubles titles.
This year, Christian said, the PBSI wants its top shuttlers to at least reach the final in every tournament they enter.
“I think for national team shuttlers, especially the seniors, the target is realistic,” he said. “Now it will only be the matter of their training programs.”
Indonesia will still be represented in South Korea, though, with four professional shuttlers in the field.
Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan, the third seeds in men’s doubles, open against Japan’s Kenichi Hayakawa and Kenta Kazuno in the first round.
Hendra said the absence of national team shuttlers, not to mention Malaysia’s top men’s pairs, was a blessing in disguise. “It means that our chance to win is getting bigger,” he said.
Their biggest rivals will likely be world No. 2 pair Jung Jae-sung and Lee Yong-dae of South Korea and Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.
Alvent will also play mixed doubles with partner Mona Santoso in the qualifying round. Flandy Limpele is also entered in the mixed doubles draw with Taiwanese partner Cheng Wen Hsing.
Markis and Hendra recently joined the professional ranks, but they plan to wait until Malaysia to start the season.
“We didn’t apply for Korea because we didn’t have time to prepare ourselves,” Markis said. “We have registered for the Malaysia Open, but we’re still in discussions whether to play there or not.”