If there was any doubt as to the importance of the Thomas and Uber Cups, the latest move by the Indonesian Badminton Association should provide more than sufficient proof.
With no title in the world’s top team tournaments since 2002, the association, also known as the PBSI, plans to call in Indonesia’s best shuttlers, including those who have walked away from the national team.
Indonesia has a record 13 Thomas Cup titles, but it has not won the men’s tournament since 2002. The Indonesian women last won in 1994 and 1996, the only hiccup in China’s run of titles since 1984.
“It’s a mixed team between the national players and former ones, including Taufik Hidayat and Alvent Yulianto Chandra,” the PBSI’s head of athletes’ development, Lius Pongoh, said on Thursday.
Asian qualifying begins in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Feb. 21-28. The finals take place on May 9-16 in Kuala Lumpur.
Lius said the PBSI registered 20 names with the World Badminton Federation. However, he refused to disclose the full list and was reluctant to reveal whether Indonesia’s best men’s doubles pair, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan, was in the squad.
The PBSI needs the country’s best shuttlers because of their high ranks and experience in top-flight tournaments, Lius said. Taufik is fourth in the world men’s singles rankings. Alvent and partner Hendra Aprida Gunawan are ranked sixth in men’s doubles.
Indonesia’s team will assemble following the Malaysia Open Super Series, Lius said. The men’s team lost in the semifinals despite hosting the 2008 Thomas Cup, while the women lost to China in the 2008 Uber Cup final.