Thursday, February 11, 2010

Indonesia's finest players train together

Two weeks after the members were announced, Indonesia's entire Thomas Cup squad practiced together for the first time on Wednesday.

The team, which consists of 10 players, has been training at the Indonesian Badminton Association’s (PBSI) national camp in Cipayung, East Jakarta, since early January, but only the national team shuttlers were there.

Professional players Taufik Hidayat and Alvent Yulianto Chandra joined the camp after the Malaysia Open Super Series, which ended on Jan. 24. However, men’s doubles shuttlers Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan were nowhere in sight.

Taufik urged the team to train together in Cipayung, saying a squad’s chemistry is crucial in a team championship such as the Thomas Cup. But Markis and Hendra, who withdrew from the national camp in early January, could only join their teammates on Wednesday.

“We were waiting for the PBSI’s official approval of our withdrawal from the national team because we wanted our status to be cleared before we joined the Thomas Cup team,” Markis, 25, told state-run news agency Antara on Tuesday. “We got the letter of approval on Monday, so now we’ll go to the camp.”

Since leaving Cipayung, Markis and Hendra have trained at Gemilang Sports Hall in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta.

“It’s good to be back [in Cipayung] and practice with the team,” Markis told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

Taufik said he was glad all matters had been resolved so the team could concentrate on training for the Asian qualifying rounds in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Feb. 21-28.

Other national shuttlers echoed Taufik’s call for unity.

“It's nice to have [Markis and Hendra] with us again. It gives me more strength to face the event,” said doubles player Rian Sukmawan who will make his Thomas Cup debut with partner Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki.

Men’s singles coach Agus Dwi Santoso hoped the presence of veteran shuttlers, especially 2000 and 2002 winner Taufik, would bring more inspiration to the younger team members.

The Badminton World Federation announced the Asian qualifying seedings on Tuesday, with Indonesia receiving top spot in the men’s draw. Japan is second, followed by India and Taiwan. Indonesia’s Uber Cup squad was seeded third behind Korea and Japan.
The 2010 Thomas and Uber Cup finals will be held in Kuala Lumpur from May 9 to 16. -JG.

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