Indonesia’s hopes in the men’s singles in the Korea Open Super Series have suffered yet another blow.
The nation’s top shuttler, Sony Dwi Kuncoro, has decided to withdraw from the year’s second Super Series tournament, which runs Jan. 13-18 at the 2nd Olympic Gymnasium in Seoul.
Recurring hamstring injuries cost Sony, 24, the Denmark and France Super Series tournaments last year, a hammer blow coming on the heels of consecutive victories in Indonesia, Japan and China. Such injuries have plagued him throughout his career.
But Sony said fitness was not the main reason behind his withdrawal.
“I am not in good enough condition to play, and I am not in a good mood to play. It’s not because of my injury,” he said on Tuesday.
Sony was scheduled to start the Korea Open against Anand Chetand of India, who defeated him in the second round of the 2008 Denmark Super Series. Instead, he said he would now put his focus on the All England tournament, which takes place March 3-8 at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
“I’ll prepare myself for the most prestigious Super Series tournament. I think two months of preparation will be enough,” he said. “I want to do my best there.”
The last Indonesian to win the All England men’s singles title was Hariyanto Arbi in 1994.
With the withdrawal of Sony and Taufik Hidayat, only two Indonesian shuttlers remain in the men’s singles draw — No. 8 seed Simon Santoso and the Djarum Kudus club’s Andre Kurniawan Tedjono.
National team coach Christian Hadinata said a hectic schedule took its toll on Sony.
“He has had almost no recovery time since the Masters Finals [in December]. He continued to the Copenhagen Masters, then to the Malaysia Open Super Series,” Christian said.
The coach also backed Sony’s decision to focus on the All England.
“ He will be one of the favorites to win the tournament, and two months will be enough for Sony,” he said.
Meanwhile, Indonesian badminton would receive a boost in the women’s singles at the All England through the return of Maria Kristin Yulianti, Christian said.
Maria missed the first two Super Series events of 2009 due to a right knee injury. Her return should shore up a weak area for Indonesia.