KUALA LUMPUR, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — Indonesia's chances of producing men's singles world champions in the near future look bleak, Taufik Hidayat's coach Mulyo Handoyo has said. None of the current back-up shuttlers in the Indonesian national team have the potential to emulate Taufik's exploits on the world stage, Mulyo said Thursday at Putra Stadium where the Malaysia Open Badminton Super Series 2008 was held.
According to Mulyo, Taufik is a rare talent and presently none can walk in his shadow.
"I have searched high and low for a player like Taufik but to no avail," the New Straits Times Friday quoted Mulyo as saying.
"Senior players like Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Simon Santoso are good but they have reached their limit. Even the junior team led by Tommy Sugiarto are not making much progress."
Taufik, 27, was discovered by Mulyo at the SGS club in Bandung, Indonesia in 1996 when the player was only 15.
Since then Mulyo has guided Taufik every step of the way culminating with an Olympic gold in Athens, Greece.
On whether Taufik will be able to return to his best for the Beijing Olympics, Mulyo said the player has been working hard to improve his strength and fitness to the level which won him the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
"Taufik's dream is to retain the Olympic title in Beijing. Although he is the defending champion, he will not be under any pressure this time as players like Lin Dan, Bao Chunlai and Lee Chong Wei will be the main focus in the Olympics.
"I believe if the best of Taufik emerges in Beijing, he will retain the gold medal," Mulyo said.