SINGLES star Taufik Hidayat had waited for new blood in Indonesian badminton for a decade. None came through and he has decided to take matters into his own hands.
Taufik will set up a new training centre in Jakarta, the Taufik Hidayat Arena, to unearth new talent.
It is his latest venture since becoing an independent player last year. The 29-year-old came out with his own apparel, Taufik Line, last year.
Taufik said that the centre, which will be built on 6,600 square feet land worth more than US$1mil, was expected to start operations next year.
Besides coming up with his own money, funding for his dream centre will be supported by his family, friends and sponsors.
“I hope to identify players between the ages of 10 and 12 to be groomed to become world beaters. This will take some time and I will probably be able to see new stars between the next seven and 10 years,” said Taufik, who will be assisted by his long-serving coach, Mulyo Handoyo.
The eight-court training centre will be situated close to the All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) training camp in Cipayung.
“Do not get the wrong idea that I am competing with the PBSI based on the closeness of the two centres. This is my genuine interest to groom future stars,” said Taufik after a training session at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
He said that the current batch of back-up players in Indonesia had not proven themselves.
“I do not know what is preventing them from bursting onto the international stage. But I think it is the same phenomenon in Malaysia. Talent are just hard to come by nowadays,” lamented Taufik, who reached the All-England final when he was only 17 years old.
On his mission this year, Taufik said that he was bent on winning the prestigious All-England title for the first time.
“My hunger to win the All-England title is still alive. I will also play in the Thomas Cup Finals and Asian Games if Indonesia require my services,” he said.
On his challenge in the Malaysian Open, Taufik said that he was looking forward to a possible semi-final match against Lee Chong Wei.
“I hope to get off to a good start this year. I have trained hard and hopefully, I will be able to do well,” he said.