Mon, 30 Oct 2000

Shuttlers gear up for Asian Badminton Championship

JAKARTA (JP): Olympic gold medalists Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan will split as Indonesia relies on young players in its bid to regain its pride at the US$150,000 JVC Asian Badminton Championship here this week.

Candra will team up with Antonius Irianto, with a possible showdown against top seeds Chong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah of Malaysia standing between them and the final berth.

Meanwhile, Tony will have former Olympic champion Rexy Mainaky on his side. The pair are due to meet third seeds Ma Che Kong/Yau Kwon Yuen of Hong Kong in the quarterfinals and if they pass the test they could face another seeded pair, Kittipon Kitikul/Khunakorn Sudhisodhi of Thailand in the semifinals.

"The separation enables us to play more relaxed because we don't have to worry about the results or world rankings," Candra told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

A defeat in the tournament may cost Candra and Tony their world number one ranking.

There will be 150 shuttlers from 18 countries participating in the championship, to be played at the Senayan Indoor Stadium starting on Wednesday.

Candra was speaking on the sidelines of a gathering with badminton fans at Plaza Atrium Senen, Central Jakarta. Also present were Tony and men's singles player Taufik Hidayat.

"I can't promise much but I hope to see Candra and Antonius in the final match," said Tony.

As for Taufik, he said he did not set a certain target in the championship.

"It's time for me to collect as much money as possible. My target is over," he said.

Indonesia will rely on young players in the men's singles as Hendrawan, the world number one, is absent after losing in the Danish Open.

Taufik will be the backbone of the national men's singles team together with Marleve Mainaky, Jefer Rosobin, Rony Agustinus, Yudi Suprayogi, and Arief Rasidi.

Top seed Taufik looks like having no trouble in getting to the quarterfinals, where he is due to meet eighth seed Park Tae-sang of South Korea.

Meanwhile, second seed Wong Choon Han is likely to meet Lee Hyun-il of South Korea in the final eight round, which also expects to see China's best bet Lou Yigang play third seed Marleve.

In the women's singles, Indonesia will be represented by second seed Lidya Djaelawidjaja, Cindana Hartono, Ellen Angelina, and Yuli Marfuah. Lidya is tipped to reach the final to meet top seed Lee Kyung-won of South Korea.

Indonesia's best women's doubles team of Etty Tanri and Cyntia Tuwankotta are the top seeds. The new pair of Deyana Lomban/Carmelita is expected to meet second seeds Lee Hyo Jung/Yim Kyung Jin from South Korea in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, the world mixed double team No. 1 Minarti Timur/Tri Kusharyanto will also be separated, so the top seed will be Wahyu Agung/Emma Ermawati. Minarti will have Bambang Suprianto as her new partner.

Danish Open

In Copenhagen, top seeds Flandy Limpele/Eng Hian saved Indonesia embarrassment by winning the men's doubles crown at the Danish Open on Sunday. They beat second seeds Jens Eriksen/Jesper Larsen of Denmark 15-13, 15-10 in the final, online news provider reported.

Meanwhile, home favorite Peter Gade Christensen beat George Rimarcdi, an Indonesian who plays for Sweden, 15-11, 15-12 in their men's singles final. Earlier, George upset Hendrawan in the semifinal 15-9, 15-2.

Earlier on Saturday, Danes Michael Sogaard and Rikke Olsen won the mixed doubles title after defeating compatriots Mette Schjoldager and Jens Eriksen 15-10, 8-15, 15-10. (nvn)