London Calling for Taufik — But Then?
Written by Badminton News
Friday, 13 January 2012 07:11
Taufik Hidayat finally addressed rampant speculation about his future after qualifying for the Malaysia Open Super Series quarterfinals on Thursday.
The former men’s singles world No. 1 confirmed that the London Games will be his last Olympics, though he’s still undecided on whether he will continue playing in other tournaments.
“Yes, this year’s Olympic will be my last. That’s why I’ve been working very hard to qualify for London,” Taufik told the Jakarta Globe after a 21-11, 21-14 defeat of No. 8 seed Nguyen Thien Minh of Vietnam in the second round at Putra Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
“I want to entirely retire from badminton after the London Games, but I don’t know. There are lots of things that I have to consider before making the decision,” the 30-year-old shuttler added.
He said he was still considering playing in smaller tournaments after the Games.
Since starting his professional career in 1997, the flamboyant shuttler has taken all major titles on offer, save for All England. He won Olympic gold in Athens in 2004 and then became world champion a year after.
He has struggled in the past three years, however, winning only the French Open Super Series in 2010 and then the India Open Grand Prix gold last year. He is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.
Today, he plays arch-rival and world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei in the Malaysia Open quarterfinal.
Taufik has a poor 6-11 record against Lee, with the Indonesian’s last victory coming in the 2010 World Championship quarterfinals. “It’s Lee’s era right now. He’s the world No. 1,” he said. “But I’m highly motivated to boost my rank to qualify for the Olympics. So I’ll try my best.”
No. 7 seed Simon Santoso also qualified for the quarterfinals by ousting compatriot Tommy Sugiarto 21-18, 21-15.
Simon next faces Kenichi Tago of Japan, who upset fourth-seeded Peter Gade of Denmark with a 19-21, 21-11, 21-16 victory.
Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka retired in the second game of his match against Chen Jin of China with a thigh injury. Chen won the first game 21-15.
Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan moved to men’s doubles’ quarterfinals as three other Indonesian pairs crashed out.
The eighth-seeded pair beat Mak Hee Chun and Ong Soon Hock of Malaysia 21-16, 21-13.
Fourth-seeded mixed doubles team Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir are the only other Indonesians in the quarterfinals after beating Vitalij Durkin and Nina Vislova of Russia 21-11, 22-20.