Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Badminton legend Rudy Hartono has suggested the establishment of a national training camp for under 16-year-olds, to give younger shuttlers the necessary experience to compete internationally.
|HITTING HIGH: Badminton legend Rudy Hartono (right) and Stephen K. Green, Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings, compare techniques during a ceremony handing for the handover of financial assistance from the bank to help develop the sport in Indonesia. (JP/P.J. Leo) |
"I see many juniors entering the national training camp at Cipayung, East Jakarta, who are not well enough trained to compete at the international level," Rudy said Monday, after accepting a Rp 2 billion (US,780) check from HSBC Indonesia for the development of badminton in the country.
"We need at least three or four years to train them to reach world-class level," he said.
Rudy said this meant there were no younger athletes waiting in the wings to take over from the veterans.
"Our badminton results have been getting worse and worse," said the eight-time All England champion.
Indonesia continues to rely on 26-year-old Taufik Hidayat on the international stage. Observers believe three of the country's most promising juniors -- Sony Dwi Kuncoro, Simon Santoso and Tommy Sugiarto -- are still years away from catching up to the Asian Games and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, both in terms of skill and international experience.
Taufik won one of two gold medals for Indonesia at the Doha Asian Games in December.
National shuttlers have also gone home empty-handed in four Super Series tournaments so far this year, including the All England. Only Simon and the mixed doubles pair of Greysia Polii/Muhammad Rijal have reached the final, at the Swiss Open two weeks ago.
"I believe by having an U-16 training camp, we could put our juniors on the fast-track to becoming world-class athletes," Rudy said.
"Of course, we need to get support from (private) companies committed to sponsoring the U-16 training camp within years, to make a breakthrough in Indonesian badminton possible," said the former head of the Badminton Association of Indonesia training division.
In addition to the Rp 2 billion check, to be used for staging a series of tournaments for amateurs, in an effort to boost the popularity of the sport, HSBC also promised to provide another Rp 3 billion next year to support the sport.
"It's just the start," HSBC Indonesia CEO Richard McHowat said.
Also attending the event at the Badminton Hall in the Senayan sports complex in Central Jakarta was HSBC Holding group chairman Stephen K. Green.
(source: Jakarta Post)