Indonesian Badminton Coaches Not Interested in Hiring Foreigners
National team coaches have criticized a suggestion by the badminton federation to add foreigners to the coaching staff, saying that would not solve the problems facing the sport.
The Indonesian Badminton Association’s (PBSI) vice president, Sabar Yudo Saroso, hinted last week at a plan to hire foreign coaches, particularly from China, in response to the struggles of the country’s shuttlers on the international stage.
But national mixed doubles coach Richard Mainaky said the PBSI had lost sight of the real problems facing the sport.
“Players who enter the national training camp come from clubs, but these clubs have failed to train players to perform at a very high level,” Richard told the Jakarta Globe on Monday.
“The poor training at the club level affects the way players perform, and these players in turn carry their habits onto the national team.”
Among the shuttlers Richard has helped guide to international success are mixed doubles pairs of Tri Kusharyanto and Minarti Timur, and Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir, formerly the top-ranked pair in the world.
Tri and Minarti won the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, a feat matched by Nova and Liliyana at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, to go along with their world championships in 2005 and 2007.
With Nova expected to retire after the world championships in Paris next month, Richard said the national coaches were preparing two junior pairs — Fran Kurniawan Teng and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet, ranked No. 16 in the world, and Muhammad Rijal and Debby Susanto, ranked No. 52 — to take the mantle from Nova and Liliyana.
Sigit Pamungkas, the national men’s doubles coach who guided 2008 Olympic gold medalists Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan, agreed with Richard, saying clubs were failing to teach young shuttlers correct techniques.
“Of the six pairs I’m training, only four junior players have the right set of fundamentals and are good enough for the 2012 Olympics,” Sigit said, referring to men’s doubles specialists Angga Pratama, Afiat Yuris Wirawan, Rian Agung Saputra and Yohanes Rendy Sugiarto.
Rian and Rendy made it as far as the quarterfinals of the 2008 World Junior Championships, while Angga and Rendy clinched the Asia Youth Under-19 championship last year.
Another problem, both coaches said, was the lack of international experience young shuttlers were receiving.
Richard said that during the 1990s, the PBSI sent almost all national team players to more than 10 international tournaments.
“During that decade, we also held provincial training camps so that all good shuttlers could be trained at that level before they qualified for the national team,” he said.
Alan Budikusuma, regarded as one of the greatest Indonesian shuttlers ever, said he used to compete in 12 international tournaments a year during the ’90s.
“In the process, I was also able to give Indonesia its first Olympic gold medal, in Barcelona in 1992,” he said.
Sigit said he was aware that the PBSI was having financial problems and could only send a few shuttlers abroad to compete.
“My job is to make them the best shuttlers in the world, but I just think the PBSI can do its part by giving them more chances to play in international tournaments,” he said.
Meanwhile, Taufik Hidayat clinched his first title of the year by winning the third-tier Canada Open Grand Prix on Sunday.
Taufik won the title with a 21-15, 21-11 victory over Brice Leverdez of France in the final.