Jakarta: Badminton officials have lashed out at two of Indonesia’s best men’s shuttlers for leaving the national side, accusing them of being unable to handle the pressure and vowing never to take them back.
The departure in January of Tommy Sugiarto, the world number 10, and Simon Santoso, ranked 37th, earlier this month “might have a negative impact on the younger shuttlers,” said Rexy Mainaky, the head of athlete development at the Indonesian Badminton Association, or PBSI.
“Experienced players like them are expected to be the role models for the youngsters,” Rexy said at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.
“In the future, the PBSI should be more selective in recruiting players to join the camp.”
He accused both Tommy and Simon of leaving the national side because they “can’t handle the pressure” as the country’s top shuttlers.
“Once you lift that racket, you have to be ready to play for the country one day. You have to stay positive in mind,” he said.
Hendri Saputra, the head coach for the men’s singles at the PBSI and Simon’s former trainer at the Tangkas badminton club in Jakarta, echoed the notion that the player was unable to deal with the pressure.
“I’ve trained him since he was a kid. I saw him practice all-out at the club, because he had the freedom to set up his own goals,” he said.
“But at the national camp, he feels the pressure as a senior player, and he can’t handle it. His preparation wasn’t optimal.”
Simon previously said he chose to drop out of the national side because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
“I just want to be more flexible with my training schedule,” he said on Wednesday as quoted by Detik.
“I’m 29 now and I’ve got a family, and I’m just not comfortable anymore at the national training camp.”
Simon, who peaked as the world number three in late 2009, was also reportedly upset about being left out of the Indonesian squad for the Malaysian Open next week, the third leg of the Superseries world tour. He did not feature in the first two legs, in Birmingham and New Delhi.
Tommy, meanwhile, cited the PBSI’s “neglect” of the men’s singles shuttlers for his decision to leave in January, saying the federation was not paying as much focus to him and Simon as to the men’s doubles and mixed doubles players.
He also accused the new coach, Hendri, of unfairly putting too much expectation on him to win Superseries events.
“Whenever a junior player wins a [minor] tournament, they [PBSI] always talk about it,” he told Jawa Pos in January.
“But they often forget they have a men’s singles player in the world’s top ten.”
Tommy said that despite dropping out of the national side, he was willing to play for Indonesia again if called up, including for the Sudirman Cup, a world team tournament that takes place in Dongguan, China, from May 10 to 17.
But the PBSI’s Rexy said there was no place for the veterans in his side.
“We have to trust the players who are currently training at the national camp, that they have the skills. We must give them the chance [at the Sudirman Cup],” he said.
He acknowledged, however, that Indonesia would face a tougher time without two of its best players. “Playing Denmark in the group qualifying stage might be tough for the guys because the Danes are now at their peak,” he said.
PBSI officials had earlier crowed about being able to advance untroubled from the group stage, after they were drawn with European sides and avoided any early encounters with Asian powerhouses China and South Korea.
– Jakarta Globe