Jakarta: The 36-year-old 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist, Hendra Setiawan, is eager to get back to competition after a 300+ days lay-off.
2020 All England tournament was the last international tournament participated by Indonesian players. After that, major badminton events have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After All England, the Indonesian team then made the decision to not go to the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals that was scheduled to be held in Aarhus, Denmark from October 3 to October 11 and also the Denmark Open that was held in Odense, Denmark from Oct 13 to Oct 18, 2020 as coronavirus cases surged in Europe. Indonesia’s withdrawal from the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals eventually forced the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to postpone that prestigious team event to 2021.
“Of course I was bored with the situation where there are no matches for a long time. I was really tired of training in July and August,” said Hendra Setiawan.
Even though the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) held some internal tournaments among Indonesian players, however, the nature of the internal competition was incomparable to real international tournaments.
“I was trying to look on the positive side. With no tournament this year, it means I got to spend more time with family. Also, without many tournaments, my body would have enough time to recover if I am sick,” added Hendra Setiawan.
Under normal circumstances, the training intensity was adjusted for Indonesian players accordingly before the tournaments. After undergoing high-intensity training, training intensity would decrease ahead of the match. Sometimes, players also prepared for tournaments with minimal training due to the busy competition schedule.
Despite there’s no tournament, the training must go on. Without training, it’s hard for players to maintain their physical condition, touches, and rhythms on the court.
Without tournaments, players also lost income as there’s no prize money, and contracts with their sponsors would need to be modified due to the cancellation of tournaments.
“Training has also started to be more intensive because the tournament is only six weeks away. I heard that players must arrive in Thailand one week before the start of the tournament,” continue Setiawan.
Hendra Setiawan and his partner Mohammad Ahsan are now looking to play at the two HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournaments and HSBC BWF World Tour Finals that will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, starting January 12, 2021, or 303 days after 2020 All England.
According to BWF, the health protocol applied by BWF will be stricter than the health protocol applied at the 2020 Denmark Open.