The race for men’s singles berths at the Southeast Asian Games got tighter on Sunday after Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka’s victory at the Indonesia Open Grand Prix Gold.
Hayom’s 21-16, 21-17 defeat of Tommy Sugiarto, a fellow SEA Games hopeful, at Palaran Sports Hall in Samarinda left the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) plenty to ponder when selecting the national team.
Hayom, whose place in the national team had been under fire after losing in the first round in four successive tournaments, showed he still had the talent that brought him to prominence in the first place.
“I’m overjoyed with this victory, especially because I lost in the final here last year,” he said, referring to a 2010 defeat at the hands of Taufik Hidayat.
“When I entered the court, I just focused on the match. I didn’t think about winning or losing, but I knew I could beat him. I played a fast, attacking game and I managed to put more pressure on him.”
While Tommy missed out on his fourth title of the season, his resurgence since withdrawing from the national team’s training camp earlier this year has brought him back into consideration by the PBSI.
“Congratulations to Hayom because he deserved to win. I think my best performance here was when I beat Taufik [Hidayat] in the semifinals,” the world No. 19 said.
The PBSI said on Friday that the SEA Games roster will be announced today, after the Indonesia Open finished.
With Taufik and Simon Santoso already all but assured of their presence in the team, the PBSI is looking for two other shuttlers to complete the men’s singles squad. Hayom, Tommy, Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Shesar Hiren Rustavito are the leading candidates.
Indonesia ended the $120,000 Grand Prix Gold tournament with two titles after Bona Septano and Mohammad Ahsan defended their title with a 21-13, 21-14 win over Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan.
“We’re glad to defend our title here and also win our first trophy this season,” Ahsan told the PBSI’s Web site.
“I think the Japanese didn’t play well today.”
China also earned two titles in East Kalimantan. Unseeded Chen Xiao Jia stunned 24th-ranked and No. 6 seed Pi Hongyang of France 19-21, 21-15, 21-17 to win the women’s singles crown.
He Hanbin and Yixin Bao won the mixed doubles crown after compatriots Xu Chen and Ma Jin retired. He and Yixin won the first game 21-19 and trailed 4-1 in the second when their opponents withdrew.
Malaysia’s Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei beat China’s Yixin Bao and Zhong Qianxin 19-21, 21-19, 21-18 in the women’s doubles final.