Wed, 17 May 2000

RI Uber Cup players not to lower standards: Manager

By Primastuti Handayani

KUALA LUMPUR (JP): Indonesian team manager Sumaryono urged shuttlers on Wednesday not to lower their standards in the semifinals against China in the Uber Cup Championships at the Putra Indoor Stadium.

"Despite their good performance against Japan and Malaysia in the round robin, I have yet to be satisfied with their form as they played poorly against Denmark. In the semifinals, China is likely to win against us as they have high world rankings in both the singles and doubles. However, I expect the players to keep on fighting with mounting motivation. They should not let their opponents embarrass and make fools of them," he said on Tuesday during a lunch at the Mines Beach Resort and Spa.

Indonesia -- which played a repeat match against China in the 1998 Uber Cup final -- has managed to earn the semifinals ticket, accompanying group winner Denmark, which will face South Korea in another semifinal.

"Although we hope our players win, the world rankings have spoken as China has six singles players in the top 10. And it's the same in the doubles."

"However, in their last match, we hope our players will play their best. Our second doubles, Etty Tantri and Cynthia Tuwankotta, will be able to give their best, as they did in previous matches," said the former Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) executive director.

RCTI will broadcast the match at 12:30 p.m. Jakarta time on Wednesday.

Coach Imelda Wigoeno said she would consider a change in the line-up of the singles, as a result of Indonesia's first singles player, Lidya Djaelawidjaja's, poor performance.

"But in the doubles we will field the full team of Elysa Nathanael and Deyana Lomban as the first doubles and Etty and Cynthia in the second," she said.

Imelda, formerly a member of the Uber Cup team, said national shuttlers had poorer physical conditions compared to the Chinese players.

Indonesia is supposed to field world number 23 Ellen Angelina in the first singles, facing world number two Gong Zhichao. The second singles match should likely see Yuli Marfuah fighting world number three Dai Yun. The final player in the last singles will likely be between Niniek Masrikah and Ye Zhaoying.

It would be preferable, however, for the team to put Lidya, world number 21, on the bench, due to her inability to handle the pressure in the first singles.

In the doubles, Elysa and Deyana will have to fight hard to overcome world the number one pair of Ge Fei and Gu Jun, while in the second doubles, Etty and Cynthia are ready to demonstrate their best skills against world the number three duo of Huang Nanyan and Yang Wei.

As Indonesia is uncertain of its chances in the semifinals, defending champion China is overconfident about its smooth track record and aims to bring home the trophy for the seventh time.

Chinese head coach Li Yongbo has already made overtures about the "unbeatable team" winning the trophy.

Better chance

On another court, the favorite, Denmark, is to take on South Korea. The Danish players are poised to overcome the South Koreans and reach the final, hopefully going one better than their seniors' in 1957 and 1959, when they lost to the United States in both matches.

Denmark, aiming to become the first European country to win the trophy, is relying on world number one Camilla Martin in the first singles. Martin is likely to fight against Kim Ju-hyun.

In the second singles, Mette Sorensen will possibly meet Lee Kyung-won while third singles Mette Pedersen is likely to face Kim Kyeung-Ran.

In the doubles, Denmark has a better chance with Rikke Olsen and Helene Kirkegaard as the first to play.

Coach Steen Pedersen said: "Without Ra Kyung-min on the team, Korea is missing one strong player. Hopefully, our team can fight hard, as Korea still managed to get to the semifinals without Ra."