Mon, 31 Oct 1994

Susi falls victim to her play style at Asian Games

JAKARTA (JP): Nerves and a slow start are cited as the main reasons why the world badminton queen, Indonesia's Susi Susanti, crashed to Japan's unheralded Hisako Mizui in the Asian Games semifinals, according to national coach Indra Gunawan.

"The late start, coupled with nervousness, prompted her to make many unforced errors," Indra told reporters on Saturday after attending the National Sports Governing Body (KONI)'s meeting evaluating the Indonesian squad's off-target results during the Asiad in Hiroshima.

Indra said Susi's nerves were further frazzled by deafening support coming from the Japanese spectators in the audience.

"I don't know exactly why she was nervous," Indra said. He suggested that maybe the mental pressure that stems from representing one's country at the Asian Games was heavier than that of other championships which emphasize individuals and individual performance.

Reiterating what KONI's chairman Surono said earlier, Indra also felt that Susi's loss was shocking and unexpected. He added that it may be necessary to add new, more specialized coaches in order to prepare budding junior players for future events, particularly the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

Indra said that presently, Indonesia has the world's five best male players, Joko Supriyanto, Ardy B. Wiranata, Hermawan Susanto, Alan Budikusuma and Heriyanto Arbi.

An All-Indonesia final in men's badminton, powered by the five at the Asiad, confirmed the return of the crown from China to Indonesia.

He said that the five guarantee victory and should be fielded in prestigious championships only. However, Indra said, given the five's performance records, he predicted that he would most likely rely only on Ardi B. Wiranata and Heriyanto Arbi in the Atlanta Olympics.

Indra stressed the urgency of grooming the successors to the current athletes, otherwise "we will be left behind China and South Korea again."


KONI's chief executive Suweno told reporters after the evaluation meeting that he accepted all responsibility for the poor showing of the Indonesian squad during the Games in Hiroshima and that he would account for the failure during the body's upcoming congress in December or sometime early next year.

"I am responsible for our Asiad team's failure to reach the set target. And if the congress decides to dismiss me, I will gladly give up my position as KONI's chief executive," Suweno said. He vowed that the next congress would be a forum of honest and self-corrective evaluation.

Saturday's evaluation meeting was supposed to be attended by all of the chairpersons of 23 sports bodies which took part in the Games. However, three of them failed to appear and not all of them finished their reports. Though most were tight-lipped, some were willing to comment.

Suweno stated that even though Indonesia failed to reach their mark, the squad's performance during the Games showed considerable improvement. A number of Indonesian athletes succeeded in coming close to Asian records but were outdone in the end by other countries.

He added that "unseen circumstances," such as low wind pressure during the wind surfing competitions and participation by five former Soviet republics, were also to blame for the poor showing of the Indonesian surfing team. (arf)