Indonesian Badminton Players Make Impressive Start To Cup Build-Up (pic)

A lot will ride on the shoulders of Sony Dwi Kuncoro when he competes in the Thomas Cup Asian qualifiers later this month. 

It is still early days, but the Indonesian Badminton Association has to be pleased after its shuttlers made a strong showing in their first warm-up for the Thomas and Uber Cups. A lot will ride on the shoulders of Sony Dwi Kuncoro when he competes in the Thomas Cup Asian qualifiers later this month. 

Its call-ups did as expected at the National Championship in Surabaya, East Java, over the weekend. They swept all five titles as they began preparations for their respective qualifying tournaments in February.

However, national team head coach Christian Hadinata was not about to give his players a premature pat on the back.

“There is still room to improve and, starting this week, we have three weeks to do that,” Christian said on Monday. “We must not waste our time and get back to training.”

Sony Dwi Kuncoro came out on top of the men’s singles draw, as did Maria Kristin Yulianti on the women’s side. Sony defeated Andre Kurniawan Tedjono, the only finalist not among the association’s (PBSI) selection.

Greysia Polii doubled up on championships, winning the women’s doubles title with partner Meiliana Jauhari and claiming the mixed doubles crown alongside Tantowi Ahmad.

Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan showed their departure from the national team and absence from the first two Super Series tournaments of the year did them little harm. They eased to a 21-9, 21-13 defeat of Rian Sukmawan and Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki in the men’s doubles final.

The news was not all rosy for the PBSI, though. Men’s singles top seed Simon Santoso lost to Andre in the semifinals, and Tommy Sugiarto bowed out in the quarterfinals to Dyonisius Hayom Rumbaka.

“I have yet to reach my best, but I will get better,” said Simon, whose Denmark Open victory made him the only Indonesian to win a men’s singles Super Series title last year.

Despite those losses, Christian said he was pleased with the pair’s effort.

“Since winning the Southeast Asian Games gold medal, Simon hasn’t had proper rest yet,” he said. “I believe he can be better in the [Thomas Cup] qualifying rounds, as can Tommy.”

Indonesia’s Uber Cup team members all reached the finals, which Christian said proved the PBSI coaching staff chose the right shuttlers.

“[The results] showed that. All we have to do right now is help them to be at their best in the Uber Cup from the qualifying rounds,” he said.

The Thomas and Uber Cup Asian qualifiers take place in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Feb. 21-28. The top four finishers from the 13-team men’s field and 10-team women’s draw advance to the tournament proper in Kuala Lumpur on March 9-16.


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