Can you guess how many times has Indonesia won the Thomas Cup in less than three seconds? The answer is 13 times, the most among three nations, Malaysia (formerly Malaya), Indonesia, and China that have ever held the Thomas Cup. It won four consecutive titles from 1970 through 1979 and five consecutive titles from 1994 through 2002.
1994 through 2002 was a golden era for Indonesia badminton. It was when players like Alan Budikusuma, Susi Susanti, Mia Audina, Taufik Hidayat, Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky were playing, during which time the country’s players won countless titles and gold medals, such as two Olympic medals won by Alan and Susi in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and another gold medal won by Ricky Subagja and Rexy in 1996 Atlanta Olympic. However, Indonesia’s ten-year reign as champions was ended by the resurgence of China in 2004 when the Chinese won the title in Jakarta.
On Monday, at its training camp in Cipayung, East Jakarta, the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) officials was urging the shuttlers to try their best to capture the 14th Thomas Cup, and the 4th Uber Cup for Indonesia.
In his speech to the shuttlers at the training camp, PBSI chairman Gita Wirjawan stated: “Players should not be complacent with two world titles, two All England titles and an overall champion in badminton at the Southeast Asian [SEA] Games.”
Indonesia men’s doubles pair Hendra Setiawan/Mohammad Ahsan and mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir won world titles and All England titles on their respective categories in 2013 and 2014. Indonesian also won three out of five gold medals at the Southeast Asian [SEA] Games.
“We need to regain our supremacy in world badminton. We need to have at least five Indonesian players’ names in the top rankings,” Gita added.
The only Indonesia players who have placed their names at the top of the world rankings are Hendra and Ahsan, followed by Tontowi and Liliyana who were ranked second in mixed doubles after China’s Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei.
In men’s singles, Tommy Sugiarto, has dropped to from third to fifth this year after some nagging injuries.
In women’s singles, Lindaweni Fanetri and Bellaetrix Manuputty are placed 23rd and 24th, respectively. In women’s doubles Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii and Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth/Rizki Amelia Pradipta are ranked at 9th and 10th, respectively.
“We need do everything we can to improve and find new talent for our women badminton players,” Gita stressed the importance of improving the women’s sector.
Indonesia was drawn in Group A with Thailand, Nigeria and Singapore, while the Uber Cup team will play South Korea, Australia and Singapore in Group B.