Wed, 02 Aug 2000

Badminton queen Susy urges parents' backing in sport

JAKARTA (JP): Lack of parental support is hindering the recruitment of young female badminton players which, if it continues, could damage the sport's development, former Badminton Queen Susy Susanti says.

Speaking on the sidelines of a National Sports Council (KONI) business gathering on Monday, Susy said many parents in Indonesia doubted that sport could provide for their daughters' future.

"Many parents come to me asking if sports are a prosperous career for their children. I can only say it depends on the kids. If they work really hard to reach the best, they can get the payback, as I did," she said.

Susy was concerned about the recent poor performances of female badminton players in the Grand Prix series and about their chances in the Olympic Games in Sydney in September.

Susy won an Olympic gold in Barcelona in 1992 and a bronze in 1996 in Atlanta. She won four All England titles in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994. She also won the World Grand Prix Finals six times.

"My parents gave me all their support and attention, which encouraged me to do my best during my career. People only see my success but they fail to see that I had to walk a hard path to it," said the mother of Laurencia Averina and Albertus Edward.

Susy remembered when she had to compete in the qualifying rounds of the one-star German Open in the 1980s.

"Can you imagine that Indonesia was not recognized in a badminton tournament in Germany? It was terrible. But that experience taught people to be tough."

Soon after winning the Olympics gold, Susy received gifts from businesspeople including houses, cars and cash.

"If athletes perform well at international events, people will automatically appreciate their achievements and they won't have to be afraid about prize money," she said.

Susy, 29, urged the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) to keep recruiting young talented under-15 girls to its long-term training program.

"Now we only have a limited number of shuttlers. Let them stay in the national team but PBSI must get younger ones in the training center. In my time, only five out of 20 shuttlers were successful in international events. Others had to step aside as they failed in tough competitions."

She also said the PBSI should not only recruit winners of national circuits.

"Talented players, even though they don't win circuits, must also be recruited. With the right training programs, they can be achievers. For example, Taufik Hidayat in the men's singles. Who remembers that he always used to lose during the juniors but he has the talent. PBSI must not be afraid of recruiting good talent and ignore the interests of its chapters," she said, adding that she planned to spend some of her time motivating young female players in the future. (yan)