Malaysia Open: Tony and Candra world badmintons odd couple


THEY stay at different corners of the world. They train separately and had not played together for five years. Yet, when they got together, they sent shivers down their rivals spines.

Indonesia-born American Tony Gunawan and Indonesian Candra Wijaya have been a handful for opponents since teaming up again last year and they are now eyeing the biggest prize of all the two could yet represent Indonesia in next years Olympic Games and this years World Championships.

The All-Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) have asked the pair to turn out for the country and negotiations are now under way.

The 31-year-old Tony left Indonesia in 2001 and now stays in the US. Candra, who quit the national team after the Thomas Cup Finals last year, lives in Indonesia.

Since last years Indonesian Open in July, the duo have been playing together again since their last assignment winning a gold for Indonesia at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

They pair are special in that they do not train together. They just meet up during tournaments and often go all the way to the title.

Since teaming up, they have won the Opens in Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

Candra said Tony had mooted the idea of their reunion.

He gave me a call from the US and asked me what my plans were after I left the national team. He suggested that we should team up again. It was a request from a buddy and I could not say no, said Candra.

We are the probably the oddest pair in the world. Both of us have our own affairs at home and we meet during tournaments. We only practise at the venue. But that is not a problem because we know each others game so well, he said.

Badminton World Federation (BWF) events committee chairman Paisan Rangsikitpho said the duo could compete in the world meet and Olympics.

The rules are clear. If Tony and Candra qualify for the world meet on merit, they can play if both the US and Indonesias national body give them permission to do so under their respective banners. They can also compete in the Olympics because both are Indonesian citizens (Tony only has American PR), said Rangsikitpho.

Yesterday, Tony-Candra got off to a flying start at the Malaysian Open when they defeated Germanys Kristof Hopp-Ingo Kindervater 21-9, 21-12. They are likely to meet Cai Yun-Haifeng in the quarter-finals.

(source: The Star Online)


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