Indonesia targets 2 golds at Rio Olympics

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Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan are one of Indonesia's hope of winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio. (photo: AFP)

Jakarta: Despite all the obstacles ahead of them, Achmad Budiharto, Deputy Secretary General of The Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) believed Indonesian shuttlers could overcome challenges in Rio to bring home two gold medals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – one from Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan in men’s doubles, and another one is from Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir in mixed doubles.Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan are one of Indonesia's hope of winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio. (photo: AFP)

Budiharto also expect Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari would deliver a powerful shock in the women’s doubles event. Meanwhile, he also revealed that men’s singles shuttler Tommy Sugiarto and women’s singles player Lindaweni Fanetri have proven capable of beating higher-ranked players.

“Tommy had defeated all top players in the world, if he could keep up momentum heading into the Rio Olympics, he could be a very strong medal contender,” said Budiharto.

“Linda has been through a lot of ups and downs before she qualified for the Olympics in Rio. She also pulled off an extraordinary upset against Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand at the 2015 World Championships. We are currently working to strengthen her confidence so that she can perform well in Rio.”

Head of Development and Performance for PBSI Rexy Mainaky also stressed that their men’s doubles and mixed doubles could potentially bring home gold medals from the Olympics.

“I think Hendra/Ahsan have a very high chance of winning the gold medal. Their toughest opponents are Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan of China, while Hendra/Ahsan claimed upper hands over other opponents. Another men’s pair that would have a significant advantage over Hendra/Ahsan were Mads Pieler Kolding / Mads Conrad-Petersen of Denmark, but they were not selected to play in the Olympics,” said Rexy.

Indonesia has won gold for badminton in every Olympic Games since the sport was first introduced on 1992, but only brought home a silver and a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.

Ten badminton players will represent Indonesia at the Rio Games, including men’s singles champion Tommy Sugiarto, women’s singles players Linda Wenifanetri and Hendra Setiawan, men’s doubles team Mohammad Ahsan and Greysia Polii. They’ll be joined by women’s doubles side Tontowi Ahmad and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and mixed doubles team Lilyana Natsir, Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto.

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