Sun, 13 Aug 2000

Flandy, Eng Hian vow to win KL c'ships

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian men's doubles Olympic Games qualifiers Flandy Limpele and Eng Hian aim to end their title drought at the upcoming Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur next week.

The pair, who are now in the world number 10 position, earned their last title in the Korean Open last year. They even failed to retain Indonesia's dominance in the men's doubles at the 1999 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Brunei Darussalam after losing to Thais Pramote Teerawiwatana and Tesana Pansisavas.

"We want to win the Malaysian Open title. After reaching the Indonesian Open final last month, our motivation is boosted," said Didi, Eng Hian's nickname, after practice at the Indonesian Badminton Center in Cipayung, East Jakarta, on Friday.

The Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) training director Christian Hadinata explicitly asked other pairs -- Candra Wijaya and Antonius Budi Ariantho, Sigit Budiarto and Halim Heryanto, and Tri Kusharyanto and Bambang Suprianto -- to secure the path for Flandy and Didi.

"The three pairs are needed to back up Flandy and Didi. They must work hard to beat tough contenders especially from South Korea and Malaysia in the early rounds," he said.

World number two Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon and number three Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung are favorites to win the event despite the challenge by home pair Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah, ranked number five.

"We often win over the Korean pairs so we are confident of winning the event this time. Last year we lost to Candra and Tony Gunawan," Flandy said.

Tony declined to compete in the event saying he wanted to focus more on his preparation prior to the Olympics in Sydney in September by training at home. While Candra wants to warm up in Malaysia as it will be the last tournament where he can face the Koreans.

Both Flandy and Didi said being excluded from the Thomas Cup team made them realize on their weaknesses.

"We are lacking concentration, that's for sure. It's really difficult for us to maintain our condition especially in the second and third games although we have won easily the opening game," Didi said.

"When we were excluded from the Thomas Cup team, Flandy and I discussed our plan for the future and we are working hard to improve it."

Flandy named three big events in 1999 -- All England, SEA Games and Danish Open -- as the peak of their poor condition.

"We looked back at our career and we realized that we don't want to be in this situation anymore. We want to move forward," he said.

Speaking on their chances at the Olympics, both Flandy and Didi said they did not have any pressure as PBSI has placed its hopes in Candra and Tony.

"With Candra and Tony as the main hope, our position as dark horse in such a major event is better. We don't have any burden but we'll aim to win the gold also.

"Should we meet with our countrymen, there's no way we want to intentionally lose," Didi said.

Besides the four players, Indonesia has also qualified with the defending champions Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky, ranked at world number four.

PBSI is sending a total of 26 players to the Malaysian Open, which is the last tournament before the deadline for the Olympics on Aug. 31. (yan)