PBSI turn to young players post Tommy Sugiarto and Simon Santoso era

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Hope Tommy Sugiarto (left) and Simon Santoso could resurrect their careers after leaving the national team.

Irawaty Wardany

Jakarta: The resignation of Tommy Sugiarto and Simon Santoso — the two remaining senior players on the national team — because of personal reasons has left the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) relying on young shuttlers for its next challenges.Hope Tommy Sugiarto (left) and Simon Santoso could resurrect their careers after leaving the national team.

Tommy resigned at the end of last year, explaining that “he no longer felt comfortable” training under the national training camp, while Simon handed in his resignation letter on March 16, reportedly spurred by the psychological burden of being the only senior player on the men’s singles team.

Young players have now become the PBSI’s only choice, with the next tournaments being the 2015 Sudirman Cup to be staged in Dongguan, China from May 10 to 17 and the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Singapore from June 5 to 16.

“We will send Firman Abdul Kholik, Jonatan Christie and Ihsan Maulana Mustofa to the Sudirman Cup and the SEA Games. We will still be open for them [the resigned senior players] to participate, but now it’s time to put our trust in the young players who trained with us,” PBSI’s head of development and achievement, Rexy Mainaky, told reporters on Thursday.

According to the newly appointed men’s singles coach, Hendri Saputra, the performances of Firman, Jonatan and Ihsan, who are all under 20, in the last few tournaments have been quite promising. However, he said he restrained himself from setting them excessively ambitious targets.

“This year I won’t burden them with any title to win. I will only focus on strengthening their techniques, improving their national and international experiences and building their physiques,” said Hendri.

He added that the three young players had yet to build power and endurance.

Aside from the three players, the PBSI is also grooming some potential men’s singles players in Panji Akbar Sudrajat, Riyanto Subagja, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, Bayu Pangisthu and Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo.

Tommy, whose world ranking slumped from third to 10th, reportedly decided to become a professional player while training under his father, former world champion Icuk Sugiarto, while Simon joined his club, PB Tangkas.

Rexy expressed concern over what he called the trend of national players abruptly resigning from the training camp because of the burden of becoming champion.

“This will definitely set a bad example for young players, especially to their attitudes. How come world-class players cannot stand the pressure? But it’s all in the hands of coaches how to handle this issue, or whether they will apply rewards and punishments for the players regarding their performances,” Rexy said.

PBSI deputy secretary-general Ahmad Budiarto admitted that the PBSI lagged behind in terms of preparing a new generation of badminton players.

“We need time to prepare our athletes to reach their peak performances and seeing the achievement of these young athletes I think we are on the right track; unfortunately Indonesian people put a high expectation on badminton seeing the glorious era of a few years ago,” he said.

He added that the people only want to see the players win in prestigious events, despite their progress in each stage of the tournaments.

– Jakarta Post

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