Kunshan: In a dinner with his players, Indonesia’s legendary badminton player and the current manager of the Indonesia’s Thomas and Uber Cup squads Rexy Mainaky told his players if they can bind together as a single force, they will become a very strong team.
Rexy Mainaky who won the men doubles Olympic gold medal in 1996 with Ricky Subagja, also shared his experience with the Indonesian team about the 1998 Thomas Cup in Kuala Lumpur.
“It was a turbulent time for Indonesia in May 1998. There were incidents of mass violence and riot throughout the country. While we were playing in Kuala Lumpur, we also have to worry about our family’s safety in Jakarta,” said Rexy.
“That incident also fueled our passions to do something for the country in time of chaos,” added Rexy.
Indonesia went on to beat host country Malaysia 3-2 to lift their eleventh Thomas Cup title in 1998.
Rexy also joked about some of his juniors whom he referred to as “Laundrymen”, also went to Kuala Lumpur in 1998 to help the team out.
“In 1998, Taufik Hidayat (2004 Athens Olympic men’s singles gold medalist) and Tony Gunawan (2000 Sydney Olympic men’s doubles gold medalist) were our laundry specialists, they washed and dried our clothes and also did some of our chores while we were playing in Thomas Cup. They were purposely brought to Kuala Lumpur to gain exposure and to learn from the seniors on how to compete in the team event,” added Rexy.
“As you all know, two years later, Taufik played brilliantly to give Indonesia the decisive victory, while Tony also contributed an important point.”
In the 2000 Kuala Lumpur Thomas Cup finals, Indonesia lifted their twelfth Thomas Cup title by beating China in the final with 3-0.Current Malaysian men’s singles head coach, Hendrawan, was playing in the first men’s singles where he defeated Xia Xuanze 11-15, 15-7, 15-9; Rexy Mainaky and Tony Gunawan were barely troubled in the first men’s doubles match when they beat Yu Jinhao / Chen Qiqiu, 15-9, 15-2 to give Indonesia a 2-0 lead; Taufik Hidayat then emerged as the hero for Indonesia after he silenced Ji Xinpeng with 15-9, 17-14.
“As a player, you guys must have the ambition to make history, and have the desire that will allow you to make an impact. These commitments will drive you to keep fighting for it even when others doubt them,” said Rexy.
“I am grateful that the 2016 Uber team has decided to let me be part of the team. I will give my best in the tournament,” said the 16-year-old Gregoria Mariska, who is the youngest player on the Indonesian team.
“Although we are still young and have yet to win a Super Series title, but we are confident to do well in the Uber Cup,” added Ni Ketut Mahadewi Istirani, Indonesia’s women’s doubles specialist.