Jakarta: World No. 10 and Indonesia’s top men’s singles player Tommy Sugiarto who resigned from the Indonesia national team on January 2015, citing he has not been able to reach his true potential in the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI), had been called up for Indonesia’s 2016 Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) squad.
The BATC which will be held from Feb 15-21 at GMC Balayogi Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad, India, serves as a qualifying tournament for the competing teams to vie for places in the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in Kunshan, China from May 15-22.
“I would like to thank PBSI for the trust shown in me, I will repay the trust by giving my best performance,” said Sugiarto.
After leaving PBSI, Sugiarto was trained under his father, the 1983 World Champion Icuk Sugiarto, and his childhood coach, Toto Sunnarto. He is currently sponsored by a Malaysian clubs, Sports Affair, which is supporting him until the 2016 Olympics. Occasionally, he has to fly to Malaysia to train under the legendary Malaysian coach, Rashid Sidek.
“There are pros and cons of being an independent shuttler. The cons are, I am having trouble looking for a sparring partner. Unlike in PBSI, where I can find a sparring partner easily. The pros are, I can pick which tournament I want to go to, and I am playing for my sponsor, not for PBSI,” said Sugiarto.
On whether he was surprised by the call-up, he said: “Quite frankly, I was shocked when I got the call, because PBSI did not call me for the Sudirman Cup team last year, nor did they include me in the Singapore SEA Games. Nevertheless, I will play my best for the country at BATC.”
The 27-year-old and his teammates will leave for Hyderabad on February 11.
Tommy Sugiarto is slated to play first men’s singles for the Indonesian team, while Ihsan Maulana Mustafa (World No. 32), Anthony Ginting (World No. 33), and Jonatan Christie (World No. 35) will play in the second and third men’s singles slots.