Wed, 29 Nov 2000

Candra, Tony call on PBSI to allow individual patrons

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's world number one men's doubles players Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan called on the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) Tuesday to allow players to have individual sponsorship deals.

Candra and Tony -- who saved Indonesia's reputation by claiming the sole gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics -- also questioned the association's policy for the players contract with Japan-based sports equipment company Yonex.

"We are only asking for our rights. We have trained and worked really hard for this but the rewards are not worth our efforts," Candra said.

"All the players want individual sponsorships but we still have no idea about the system."

"We have spoken to other players and they approve the idea. But we will talk to them next week to discuss it further," Tony added.

Candra said Yonex's collective sponsorship of PBSI made the chances slim for player's to get co-sponsorships as business people had to make an annual contract of US$300,000.

"It's really difficult for the business world to give a contract deal worth $300,000. For me, it's a monopoly which closes the door on other products to sponsor us."

"Yonex is now monopolizing the deal with PBSI. They don't have any competitors. PBSI should have been able to seek more sponsors," Tony said.

"We are not demanding PBSI give us rewards. All we want is the association to give us a little respect by seeking better sponsorship deals for the sake of the players," Candra replied.

"It is very bad that players with high international achievements like us receive less than our compatriots playing in other countries."

Candra was referring to his older brother Indra Wijaya, who is now playing for Singapore.

Tony said by having individual sponsorships, players would automatically compete to be the best.

"We all will fight really hard to stay on top as it also means big money for us. That's the positive side of individual sponsorships. It will also boost the motivation of our juniors to follow in our footsteps as they see us work really hard and get proper rewards in return."

PBSI had renewed its four-year contract with Yonex of $1 million per year. Fifty percent of the contract goes to the players while another half goes to the association. However, players still have no idea on how the money is apportioned among them.

"During the period as the world's number one, we don't get a similar amount in every quarter. It depends on how many Indonesian players reach the top four. We don't know the criteria," Tony said.

Both Candra and Tony expressed their objection to the PBSI policy to cut 50 percent of their sponsorship contract.

"It's really hard for us. We want the system to be changed. They should have compared their system with other countries. We don't get any pension money after the peak of our career is over. We must think about our future for ourselves," Candra said.

Candra and Tony received a house each from real estate tycoon Ciputra -- chairman of the Jaya Raya club -- in a modest ceremony at Ciputra Hotel.

Ciputra expressed his hope that members of Jaya Raya would be able to follow Candra and Tony's path by winning the gold for Indonesia.

"The next question will be; can Jaya Raya produce Olympic champions in 2004? You all have to answer that by training hard and playing well in tournaments. We can only support you by providing everything you need," Ciputra told players and coaches.

"In another four years, the competition will be tougher and the challenges heavier. You must have the faith and will supported by hard work."

Jaya Raya had produced 1992 Olympic gold medalists Susy Susanti in the women's singles and Alan Budikusuma in the men's singles; 1996 Olympics silver medalist Mia Audina and bronze medalist Susy in the women's singles; and 2000 Olympics gold medalists Candra and Tony. (yan)