Wed, 03 Aug 1994

Several big names to miss Indonesia Open championship

JAKARTA (JP): Malaysian and Chinese big names will miss the Indonesia Open badminton championships in Yogyakarta next week, but the organizers are not afraid of a major drop in the tournament's quality.

Malaysian Thomas Cup squad composed of men's singles Rashid Sidek, Ong Ewe Hock and Foo Kok Keong and world-rated doubles players Cheah Soon Kit, Soo Beng Kiang, Yap Kim Hock and Tan Kim Her has definitely opted to skip the Aug. 10-14 Grand Prix event as they will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.

The Commonwealth Games will run just three days after the Yogyakarta tournament which offers a total of US$166,000 in cash prizes. Malaysia will field a second string team of 20.

The list of major absentees also include Chinese women's singles defending champion Ye Zhaoying, her male compatriot Asia Cup champion Dong Jiong. Other famous names who will make no show are Denmark's top men's singles Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen and ace doubles specialists Thomas Lund and Jon Holst Christensen.

Most of the players who have opted to miss the Indonesia Open are starting their World Cup campaign in Ho Chi Minh City today, with Indonesian shuttlers expected to flex their supremacy.

Secretary general of the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI), RAJ Gosal, denied during a press meeting yesterday that some absentees might be disappointed with the treatment they received during the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup finals here last May.

"They may suffer injuries or not have had enough recovery time before competing in a bigger event," he said. He admitted that PBSI did not receive any explanation from the absentees.

Ye claimed her second successive crown here last year by beating world number one Susi Susanti and denied the host team of a clean sweep. Junior players will line up a weak Chinese team, with veteran women's singles Tan Jiuhong being the only familiar name.

First time

A total of 68 overseas players from 10 countries have confirmed their entry at the international badminton meet held for the first time in Yogyakarta, a small town renowned for its tourist spots.

Host team will parade its triumphant Thomas Cup and Uber Cup squads and a hundreds of players who will represent their respective provinces and clubs.

Gosal also denied that the tournament will not lose its prestige due to the number of non-attenders. "We still have South Koreans and, of course, Indonesia's world-class players," he said.

With almost all of top beaters missing from the event, host shuttlers will likely dominate the 13th edition of the Indonesia Open. "We have a great chance to produce a clean sweep for the first time," he said.

The competitions will be contested in the newly completed Amongraga indoor stadium. Yogyakarta municipal authorities have donated more than Rp 860 million (US$396,860) from its annual budget to finish the construction project of the new sport venue. Local authorities started the project 10 years ago.

All participants are scheduled to arrive by Aug. 8, the date for the welcome party at Yogyakarta palace hosted by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. (amd)