JAKARTA: Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat has made a pact with Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and Denmark’s Peter-Gade Christensen to prevent China from having a maximum number of qualifiers in the London Olympic Games next year.
All they have to do now is dominate the top four positions in the world rankings.
Taufik figures this is the only way to prevent China from manipulating the rankings so that they can have the maximum three shuttlers in the men’s singles at the Olympics.
Over the last few months, China have conceded several walkovers in tournaments, mostly by Lin Dan, Chen Long and Chen Jin, citing injuries.
These walkovers have allowed Chen Long to move into second spot in the rankings, followed by Lin Dan at No. 3 and Chen Jin at No. 5. Chong Wei remains the world No. 1.
A country can have a maximum three qualifiers per event in the Olympics if all of them are in the top four of the world rankings and China look capable of pulling it off.
Taufik, although unhappy with the way things have been going, believes he has a fool-proof game plan.
“The world body (Badminton World Federation) made this ruling so I don’t blame the countries who manipulate it. But it does not do justice to the sport if one has to find loopholes like this rather than just play good badminton to win the right to compete,” he said.
“I met up with Chong Wei and Peter at the launching of the Li Yongbo Badminton School recently. We can thwart China’s plan if all of us can stay in the top four,” said Taufik.
“China are well ahead of us in terms of planning and strategising their moves in the game.
“They even know how to promote the sport. They offered one million renminbi (RM500,000) as prize money for an exhibition match. That’s how much they value badminton.
“Hopefully, one day I can help Indonesia manage the sport just as well and build strong characters to bring more vibrancy to our game.”
For now, though, Taufik knows he has a lot to do to keep his part of the bargain as Chong Wei is world No. 1 and Christensen No. 4..
Taufik’s form has taken a sharp dip in the last seven months and he has dropped from second to eighth spot in the rankings.
In the SEA Games, he played only once in the team event, losing to Thailand’s Tangonsak Saensomboonsuk in the semi-finals. He will take on Malaysia’s Liew Daren in the quarter-finals of the individual event at the Istora Gelora Bung Karno today.
“This pact may just give me the motivation and excitement to turn my game around,” said Taufik, who has won all the major titles in the world, except for the All-England.