Sat, 04 Nov 2000

Indonesian juniors reach quarters of badminton World C'ships

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia ensured its place in the final stage of the team event at the World Junior Badminton Championships on Friday, and will meet Japan on Sunday.

In the morning session, second-seed Indonesia defeated the Netherlands 5-0. The country's youngsters also defeated New Zealand 5-0.

Team manager Yacob Rusdianto said in a telephone interview from Guangzhou, China, that he hoped his players could perform well enough to beat Japan.

"On paper, we should win against Japan. If we lose, we won't be able to fulfill our ambition of reaching the semifinals," he said.

Indonesian boys singles shuttler Sony Dwi Kuncoro had to work hard to overcome Eric Pang of the Netherlands 7-1, 4-7, 7-3, 7-0.

Mona Santoso lost the first game of her match 5-7 before fighting back to post a 5-7, 7-2, 8-6, 7-5 victory in the girls singles.

The boys doubles team of Hendra AG and Markis Kido had a comfortable 7-2, 7-3, 7-3 win over Gijs van Heijster and Youri Lapre. In the girls doubles, Lita Nurlita and Endang also easily won, defeating Maartje Verheul and Michelle Prins 7-2, 7-1, 7-4.

The mixed doubles team of Hendra AG and Lita crushed Lapre and Prins 7-0, 7-2, 7-3.

Later in the afternoon, the Indonesian team replaced boys singles Sony with Ardiansyah and girls singles Mona with Dewi Tira.

However, the official results of the event were not available as of press time.

Yacob named Germany, the fourth seed here, as the dark horse at the championships, with host and top seed China also posing a threat.

"Germany will face Chinese Taipei on Sunday and I think it will be a great match. Germany's juniors are the best among the European countries."

The International Badminton Federation (IBF) is using the tournament as the first official experiment with a new scoring system.

Under the new system there are only seven points in a game, with a best-of-five-game system for matches.

IBF director of events Vanessa Freeman said in a press release: "We are looking at several ways of improving the presentation of badminton to make it more exciting for both spectators and television audiences. The key objectives of using this scoring system are to create more 'crucial' points and to reduce the length of a match."

The first World Junior Championships were held in Jakarta in 1992. At this year's installment of the event in Guangzhou, 287 competitors from 34 countries will compete over 10 days in team and individual competitions. China has the biggest contingent with 42 shuttlers, followed by Indonesia with 22.

Previous World Junior Champions include China's Sun Jun, the current world champion, 2000 Olympians Gu Jun and Gao Ling of China and Denmark's Peter Gade Christensen.