Jakarta: Indonesian duo Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad who have brought Indonesia the mixed doubles gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are about to split-up.
Liliyana Natsir, Indonesia’s badminton mixed doubles queen, who was born on Sept. 9, 1985, in Manado, North Sulawesi, was reportedly ready to hang up her racket by end of this year.
When asked about this, Badminton Association of Indonesia’s (PBSI) mixed doubles coach Richard Mainaky said if Natsir retired, it’s going to be difficult to find a new partner for Tontowi Ahmad.
Mainaky however explained that they would try to get Natsir to delay her retirement. He was hoping Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir could still play until the Sudirman Cup next year. Furthermore, the pair has a very high chance of winning gold in next year’s SEA Games that will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Another important reason Mainaky would like Natsir to postpone her retirement was because she could play a major factor in convincing Debby Susanto to stay with the Indonesia national team.
The 27-year-old Debby Susanto will be getting married this year, has planned to quit badminton after her marriage.
“Debby is getting married after the Olympics, until today, we are having hard time looking for a suitable partner for her mixed doubles partner- Praveen Jordan,” added Richard Mainaky.
Nevertheless, Mainaky said that he must be prepared should Natsir eventually decide to retire very soon. He said the easiest solution would be to try out other players within the Indonesia national team. It is also possible for PBSI to recruit players from the private badminton clubs across Indonesia which also have a huge pool of talent.