A change in regime at the Indonesian Badminton Association, or PBSI, apparently did little to halt its steady tide of problems.
After men’s singles stalwart Taufik Hidayat withdrew from the national training camp in late January, three more national shuttlers decided to join him in striking on their own. Vita Marissa, Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Hendra Aprida Gunawan pulled out of the camp in Cipayung, East Jakarta, on Tuesday, leaving just 35 players in the camp.
The trio said they will no longer play for the PBSI, citing contractual reasons.
Vita, 27, said she wanted a 20 percent increase on her current deal. But negotiations with the association broke down since her world ranking slipped to 44th after partnering with Muhammad Rijal in mixed doubles for the last five months. The PBSI uses world rankings to determine a player or a pair’s contract value.
“The contract value was still the same as the one PBSI offered [to me] last year,” Vita said after she handed her resignation letter to PBSI head of athletes’ development Lius Pongoh. “I’ve been in camp for 12 years and represented the country in many international tournaments. If I demand a raise, I think it’s fair enough.”
Vita previously teamed up with Flandy Limpele, climbing as high as fourth in the world and reaching the semifinals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In partnering with Rijal, Vita said she sacrificed her future to help the PBSI develop young players in mixed doubles. “If I wanted to secure my rank, I would play with Flandy,” Vita said. “But I didn’t mind partnering with Rijal. Now look what I’ve got. They failed to appreciate me.”
Though she plans to continue playing, Vita does not have a partner and has not approached any sponsors. She said she would consider teaming up with Flandy again or returning to camp if the PBSI agreed to renegotiate.
Mixed doubles coach Richard Mainaky said Vita’s departure would have an impact on the team and her fellow shuttlers.
“We still need a high-class player like [Vita] to play for Indonesia in one or two years more, even in the London Olympics in 2012,” he said.
Without Vita, Rijal is on the sidelines with no partner. In addition, the other mixed doubles teams — Nova Widianto and Lilyana Natsir, and Lita Nurlita and Devin Lahardi Fitriawan — are without sparring partners.
“I have to reschedule my training program for the whole year. I have to accelerate Lita and Devin’s performances to replace Vita and Rijal as the No. 2 pair,” Richard said.
These contract problems may have been avoided, he added, if the PBSI had allowed coaches to take part in the negotiations. “I’ve known and trained Vita for years,” Richard said. “I know how to deal with her, just like other coaches know how to deal with their players. It’s too bad the PBSI did not involve us to solve this problem.”
Men’s doubles coach Sigit Pamungkas endured similar headaches when he lost Alvent and Hendra, having received their resignation letters on Tuesday. The duo also claimed a contract issue with the PBSI.
Without Alvent and Hendra, Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan are the only senior players. The other pairs — Bona Septano and Muhammad Ahsan, and Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki and Ryan Sukmawan — are still young.
Sigit nearly lost Markis, too, because of undervalued contracts offered to Markis’s brother, Bona, and sister, Pia Zebadiah Bernadet. “[Markis] fought for their contracts. But it's okay now,” Sigit said.