Times are tough all over, it seems.
Even shuttlers, among the most celebrated athletes in Indonesia, are feeling the economic pinch. After the Indonesian Badminton Association, or PBSI, ran out of money in 2008, the players are now struggling just to find training partners.
Markis Kido, one half of the world’s top men’s doubles pair, with Hendra Setiawan, was among a number of top shuttlers complaining about a lack of competition at the PBSI training camp in Cipayung, East Jakarta.
“We’re lacking sparring partners now,” Markis said on Wednesday. “It is not enough just to compete between the six of us. Ideally, we need three more pairs as sparring partners.”
Due to budget shortages, PBSI called just 22 players to the camp in early January, though it announced it would bring in more players in February.
In the meantime, though, Markis and Hendra have had to make do with sparring against just two other pairs. Markis said he hoped the association would call the rest of the players soon as they only have seven weeks of preparation before the All England, the third Super Series of the season.
The Beijing Olympics gold medalist, currently suffering from a nagging knee injury, said an All England victory, which has eluded him in years past, was one of his season goals.
“I have always failed in the first or second round of previous All England tournaments. I have to do better this year,” Markis said.
Maria Kristin Yulianti, Indonesia’s top women’s singles player, joined in the chorus asking for more support.
“There are only three women’s singles players in the camp now,” the Beijing Olympic bronze medalist said. “We even have to spar with women's doubles players, and sometimes with our coaches. We need at least three more players.”
Pia Zebadiah Bernadet and Adrianti Firdasari are the other women’s singles players in the camp.
Maria, absent from the first two Super Series this year with a right knee injury, said she has her eyes on the All England semifinals.
Lius Pongoh, the PBSI head of athletes’ development, said the association acknowledged the need for more players and would call up more as soon as possible. The national training camp consisted of 83 shuttlers before shutting down in November.