Mon, 17 Jan 2000

Men's doubles Ricky/Rexy lose to South Korean pair

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's veteran men's pairing of Ricky Ahmad Subagja and Rexy Mainaky felt the sting of age, bowing out to the South Korean pair of Lee Dong-soo and Yoo Yong-sung 8-15, 15-9, 4-15 at badminton's 2000 Samsung Korea Open at Hanra gymnasium on Cheju Island, South Korea.

Team manager Hery I. Pierngadi said Ricky and Rexy managed to fight back in the second set of the final of the US$250,000 six- star event on Sunday, but the 1996 Olympic Games gold medalists gave in to exhaustion in the third set.

"During the rubber set, their physical endurance weakened. Their arm movements were no longer powerful, especially Rexy's. He is now over 31 years old and is considered a senior player," he told The Jakarta Post from South Korea.

"Moreover, their opponents are one of the best men's double teams in the world," he said. Lee and Yoo are ranked fourth in the world, while Ricky, who is 28 years old, and Rexy are ranked 11th.

With this result, Indonesia came away from the tournament empty-handed. Most of the contingent is scheduled to fly to Chinese Taipei for the 2000 Chinese Taipei Open, which runs from Jan. 19 to Jan. 23. The five-star Grand Prix event is also a pre- qualifying tournament for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney in September.

Despite the poor results, Hery said Indonesian shuttlers gave an all-out effort. He also said Ricky and Rexy still had a great chance to qualify for the Olympics.

"The chance for the Olympics is still wide-open for the pair. Rexy should maintain his physical endurance so he can perform well before the Olympics. He told me he is still committed to playing badminton and wants to perform in the Sydney Olympics. After that, he might want to retire," he said.

Meanwhile, the women's duos of Etty Tantri and Cynthia Tuwankotta, and Indarti Issolina and Carmelita will skip the Chinese Taipei Open. The team of Eliza Nathanael and Deyana Lomban will represent Indonesia at the tournament.

Besides the shuttlers who took part in the Korea Open, Indonesia will send Taufik Hidayat, Marleve Mainaky and Budi Santoso in the men's singles, and Ellen Angelina, Cindana Hartono Kusuma and Ninik Masrikah in the women's singles to compete in the Chinese Taipei Open.

In the men's doubles, Denny Kantono and Antonius Budi A. will join their compatriots in Chinese Taipei, as will the mixed doubles pairing of Bambang Suprianto and Zelin Resiana.

Hery, who is also the men's doubles coach, said the team was eying victory in the men's doubles. "Our men's doubles must win this event."

The International Badminton Federation reported that Dane Peter Gade-Christensen is the top seed in the men's singles for the Chinese Taipei open, while his off-court partner and compatriot Camilla Martin, who won the Korea Open, is the top seed in the women's singles.(ivy)