Mon, 04 Sep 2000

Hendrawan unpretentious about his chance in Sydney

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian men's singles shuttler Hendrawan is unpretentious about his chance of winning a gold in the upcoming Olympic Games in Sydney.

"Let's not talk about my target at the Olympics. Everybody has equal chances there. All I can say is that I am well prepared," he said before a competition simulation at Senayan Indoor stadium in Jakarta on Friday.

Competing for the first time in the Olympics, Hendrawan -- Indonesia's hero in the 1998 and 2000 Thomas Cup championships -- hopes to continue the country's recent gold medal success in badminton.

Indonesia won its first golds thanks to Susy Susanti in the women's singles and Alan Budikusuma in the men's singles at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Four years later, Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky saved the country's pride by winning the gold in the men's doubles at the Olympics in Atlanta, U.S.A.

This year, the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) and the National Sports Council (KONI) target the shuttlers to bring home two golds in men's singles and doubles.

World number three Hendrawan managed to beat world number one and compatriot Taufik Hidayat 9-15, 15-12, 15-13 for the first time at the simulation.

The 28-year-old shuttler said that he still needed to improve his emotional condition for the quadrennial event from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.

"I still have to learn to control my emotions better. I can't overestimate myself or lack motivation for the event. In the Olympics, the emotional and mental factors are really important," he said.

Hendrawan is training with Paulus Pasurney. He has improved his fitness and stamina.

"But I'm so exhausted from training, it is difficult for me to concentrate. I have problems sleeping at night. Maybe when we are there (in Sydney), we will have a different atmosphere that will help me increase my fighting spirit."

Indonesia qualified Taufik, Hendrawan and Marlev Mainaky in the singles event.

Hendrawan appointed Taufik and Dane Peter Gade Christensen as the strongest candidates to win the gold.

"Taufik is playing well lately, winning in both Indonesia and Malaysia Open tournaments. While Peter, after his poor form in the Indonesia Open in July, might be better prepared, helping him to reach the finals." (yan)