Thursday, July 1, 2010

Taufik's dream

Champion shuttler Taufik Hidayat meets President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in this file photo.  Taufik is to open his own badminton arena.  (JG Photo)
Champion shuttler Taufik Hidayat meets President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in this file photo. Taufik is to open his own badminton arena.

Having enjoyed a stellar career a lot of shuttlers could only dream about, Taufik Hidayat can now fulfill his dream of giving back to the badminton community through the construction of his own arena.

The country’s No.1 men’s singles player led the groundbreaking ceremony for the Taufik Hidayat Arena in Ciracas, East Jakarta on Wednesday, and in his speech Taufik couldn’t help but look back at the days when he first started playing the game.

“I was 8 years old when I started with badminton,” Taufik said. “I’ve been through victories and defeats all my life. During the process, I kept telling myself that someday I would have my own badminton stadium. That’s been my dream ever since, and now it’s starting to become a reality.”

The arena, which will sit on a 6,600-square-meter plot, is scheduled to open next year and will primarily serve as a training camp for aspiring shuttlers. Details of the building costs are not available, but Taufik reportedly purchased the land for Rp 6 billion ($660,000).

Taufik said the complex, just a five-minute drive from the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) training camp in Cipayung, was his way of helping the game flourish in a country that has continuously produced world-class shuttlers.

“I have no intention to compete with PBSI. Actually, I want to help the association produce top-level talents through my project,” said the 28-year-old former Olympic and world champion.

“As we all know, Indonesian badminton is going through a rough time. I grew up with badminton and have earned a living out of it. I think it is time for me to dedicate myself to improving the sport in our country.”

Taufik said he would work with his club SGS Elektrik in West Java to select players suitable to train at the center.

“I’m so proud of his good will. He shows that he cares about developing the country’s favorite sport,” said SGS Elektrik head coach Iie Sumirat, the man credited with discovering Taufik.

Rita Subowo, president of the Indonesia National Sports Committee (KONI) said Taufik’s project would be key in finding promising new players.

“In the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore this August, for example, we can send only two shuttlers. We don’t want this situation to continue for long,” Rita said.

“I think what Taufik has done is outstanding. It will serve as an example to other senior athletes.”

Designed by M Ridwan Kamil of Urbane Indonesia Architect, the Taufik Hidayat Arena will feature eight badminton courts, a spectator section, a dormitory, a gym, a clinic, a cafeteria and a gallery of Taufik memorabilia.

“Since I like to play futsal, there will also be two futsal courts that can be rented by the public. I think it’ll good to have one here as a part of the arena,” Taufik said.

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