The victory of young men’s doubles Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda in the final of OUE Singapore Open 2015 last week relieves me so much. Not only because I follow their journeys since the early round of the tournament but also because their accomplishment proves Indonesia’s years-long development programs have eventually been fruitful.
In the final, Angga/Ricky defeat Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan with 21-15, 11-21, 21-14. Prior to the last game of the championship, the pair shock badminton lovers, including I, as they topple world’s number one Lee Young Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong from South Korea.
Indonesia does have Hendra Setiawan/M.Ahsan as its number one men’s double pair who just wins the Maybank Malaysia Open Super Series Premier 2015 a few days prior to the event held in Singapore. When the leading pair loses to Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan in Singapore my feeling is mixed. On one point, I am definitely sad because of their defeat yet on the other hand I hope the junior one wins the game and they finally do that.
The pair plays so tactically, relying on quick shots to snatch the trophy in the division. In the first game, they wrap up it quickly yet lose the second game to 11-21. Fortunately, they win back the third game with 21-14, making all Indonesia’s badminton mania so happy.
They have more reasons to feel so. Not many younger badminton players have shone their brightest in high level badminton tournament, such as super series events or super series premier ones. Over the past three years, Indonesia have heavily relied on senior players — Hendra/Ahsan and mixed doubles’ pair Tontowi Ahmad/Lilyana Natsir. They do win All England super series premier and are crowned as world champions yet the fact that there have not been any of their juniors who have consistently won major badminton tournament leaves us with a big anxiety.
In the mixed doubles, not much has been written in the champion wall by young players Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto. You can say the similiar thing goes for other young names in other divisions, such as Bellaetrix Manuputty and Lindaweni Fanetri in the women singles, Tommy Sugiarto and Hayom Rumbaka in men singles and Pia Zebadiah/Rizki Amelia Pradipta and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari/Greysia Polii in women doubles. Nitya/Greysia stands out a bit from the list thanks to the gold medal they contribute to the Indonesian squad during last year Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. While Tommy wins in the 2013 Li Ning Singapore Open Super Series.
While other countries, excluding China, are racing so fast. Ratchanok Intanon from Thailand steals the show in the 2013 World Championships after beating Li Xuerui from China in the final. India has reemerged in the badminton world with the presence of Saina Nehwal. Now, women singles witness the power of Spaniard Carolina Marin who defeats Li Xuerui in the final of Maybank Malaysia Open Super Series Premier 2015. Thailand, Spain and India are not traditionally known as the badminton countries not only because of the low popularity of badminton but also they don’t produce many champions in the past. Now, new history starts rolling on their directions.
In the men singles, while China remains in the top with the dominance of Chen Long and definitely Lin Dan, the presence of new winners, such as Kento Momota from Japan who wins the men’s single in Singapore and Srikanth Kidambi who wins the 2014 China Open Super Series Premier after surpassing Lin Dan in the final match.
With the rises of new faces from the countries where badminton is not the most favorite game, Indonesia has been left behind. But nothing is impossible to catch the rivals, runs as faster as possible. With the triumph of Angga/Ryan the long regeneration program held by the Indonesia Badminton Association/PBSI starts reaping what it sows.