Fri, 18 Jul 2003

Sony gets wild card for world badminton championship

Musthofid, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Sony Dwi Kuncoro, the 2002 Asia champion, has been named one of only two players who will be going to the next World Badminton Championship on a wild card facility.

"The IBF has decided to give Sony and Roslin Hashim (of Malaysia) the wild cards for the championship," Punch Gunalan, the IBF vice president, told reporters here on Thursday.

The decision was made during an International Badminton Federation (IBF) meeting in Denmark in May. Roslin Hashim was the 2003 All England semifinalist in February.

Gunalan was in Jakarta to announce an IBF partnership with the numismatics company GoldQuest International (QI) Ltd, which will be the main sponsor of the seven-star world championship, to be held in Birmingham, England, from July 28 to Aug. 3.

He said that despite both players' rankings making them ineligible, the two had put in good performance in a number tournaments, and this deserved recognition.

"They deserve places in the championship," he said. He was accompanied by Kurt G. Rinck, the QI director for network affairs, and Sulistyanto, an official of the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) in charge of foreign relations.

Around 330 players from 46 countries will take part in the tournament, which also serves as one of the qualifying fields for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The tournament, which was rescheduled due to the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), will be staged at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.

Sony is one of the members of a 22-player-strong list, and one of the four singles the PBSI will bring to Birmingham. The other three are Taufik Hidayat, Budi Santoso and Marleve Mainaky.

Hendrawan, the 2001 champion, is not going to defend his title given that he has now fallen out of the men's singles top 64 in the IBF rankings.

Yuli Marfuah and Dian Novita Sari will be the only two Indonesians in the women's singles.

Unlike Hendrawan, Chandra Wijaya and Sigit Budiarto will be given a chance to secure back-to-back victories in the men's doubles after their triumph in Seville, Spain. They will be accompanied by Luluk Hadianto/Alvent Julianto.

Jo Novita/Lita Nurlita and Devi Sukma Wijaya/Lilyana Natsir are the team's hopefuls in the women's doubles while the team will field four mixed pairs: Vita Marissa/Nova Widhiyanto, Yunita Teti/Robby Istanto, Tri Kusheryanto/Emma Ermawati, and Anggun/Enny Widyowati.

Sulistyanto said he regretted that the Flandi Limpele/Eng Hian partnership would be broken up due to Eng Hian's wedding.

The pair, who have just returned from a two-year spell with the Badminton Association of England (BAE), should have been eligible for participation given their qualified rankings.

"I wish we were heading to England with more than two men's pairs," Sulistyanto said.

Meanwhile, Gunalan said that the Birmingham tournament would introduce a computerized drawing system in an effort to reduce human error or favoritism.