Mon, 11 Jun 2001

Indonesian shuttlers take two titles at World C'ships

JAKARTA (Agencies): Indonesians won two titles at the World Badminton Championships in Seville, Spain, on Sunday, bringing home the men's singles and doubles crowns.

Olympic silver medalist Hendrawan broke the runner-up jinx by defeating second seed Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark 15-6, 17- 16 in a dramatic 61-minute final at San Pablo Stadium.

Hendrawan -- who advanced to the final after his semifinal opponent Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia withdrew while leading 15- 11, 5-15, 7-1 on Saturday -- fell to the floor in joy after Gade Christensen fluffed a return to end the thrilling second game.

A bitterly disappointed Gade Christensen had been quietly confident of winning his first world title and making up for disappointments at the Olympics and the 1999 World Championships.

He was unable to hide his disappointment on Sunday, burying his face in a towel and slumping in his chair.

The 29-year-old Hendrawan, who before Sunday had won only three major titles in a lengthy career, quickly seized control of the match.

The Dane's customary fluent movements and confidence around the court were missing from the outset, as Hendrawan frequently left him flat-footed and scrambling to the net with a string of perfectly weighted drop shots.

An inability to score on his own serve also hampered Gade Christensen, with Hendrawan reading his opponent's tactics to perfection.

After the match, a jubilant Hendrawan admitted he was lucky to even be in the final after Taufik suffered an injury in the semifinals.

"I was fortunate to get here with what happened to Taufik. I hope this is a good present for him," Hendrawan said as quoted by AFP.

"I knew I could beat Peter, but I just had to stay confident," the 29-year-old said.

"I started playing well in the first game and didn't stop," said Hendrawan, who admitted he had been close to retiring from competitive badminton after his Olympic campaign in Sydney last year. Marriage -- and a word from his wife -- changed his mind.

"I thought after Sydney that maybe I was on the other side of my career, going down. But I thought about it and talked with my wife and realized I could continue," he said.

Hendrawan dedicated the victory to his wife Silvia Anggraeni, saying: "My wife has thrown all her weight behind me, she always keeps my spirits up."

He said he was not sure whether this would be his last World Championships.

"It's a hard question. It's very difficult to wait for two years. I am now just thinking year to year," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Hendrawan's victory capped a triumphant day for Indonesia, with Tony Gunawan and Halim Heryanto winning the men's doubles title earlier on Sunday. The fifth seeded duo defeated defending champions Kim Dong-moon and Ha Tae-kwon of South Korea 15-0, 15- 13 in 48 minutes with a superb display of attacking badminton.

Tony, who partnered Candra Wijaya to the men's doubles gold medal at the Sydney Olympics, was outstanding as the Indonesians claimed a brilliant win.

The 26-year-old dominated the back of the court, hitting a series of vicious smashes to set up the victory.

Third seed Gong Ruina of China took the women's singles crown after beating compatriot Zhou Mi 11-9, 11-4 while Huang Sui and Gao Ling of China defeated teammates Zhang Jiewen and Wei Yili 15-11, 17-15 to grab the women's doubles title. (yan)