Fri, 03 Dec 1999

Yayuk in with chance for Olympics' women's doubles

JAKARTA (JP): Although semiretired and now a mother, former Indonesian number one women's tennis player Yayuk Basuki could still qualify for the women's doubles competition in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) spokesman Benny Mailili said on Thursday that Yayuk held a special ranking of 16 in doubles in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings.

"If Yayuk can finish in the top 100 and junior Wynne Prakusya can reach the world's 150 ranking for the women's doubles, I am optimistic they can qualify for the Olympics," he said.

Yayuk, who gave birth on Sept. 23, is confirmed to compete in the prequalifying rounds with Wynne in the women's doubles.

However, Benny said Pelti would ask the National Sports Council (KONI) to send a letter requesting wild cards for Indonesian players.

"The deadline for the players' qualification for the Olympics is after Wimbledon on July 10, 2000. While the deadline for those who will receive wild cards is on March 15," he said.

"We have requested a wild card for Wynne in the singles, but I think it's better for us to ask for another for the doubles."

Benny rated Pelti's chances of receiving the wild cards as slim because it needed approval from the country's National Olympics Committee, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the International Olympics Committee.

ITF will also evaluate if the country has few athletes competing in the quadrennial event and if the region does not have many countries represented in the Olympics.

Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand, Li Fang of China, Ai Sugiyama of Japan and Janet Lee of Chinese Taipei are the Asian players who have qualified for the women's tennis competition at the Olympics.

The singles draw is limited to 64 players, with 32 pairings in the doubles event.

Benny said Pelti must be proactive in supporting Yayuk, particularly by providing all facilities needed to compete in the prequalifying rounds.

"Pelti must support Yayuk financially and morally. We must boost her motivation to prepare seriously for the Olympics."

Yayuk and Wynne reached the quarterfinals of the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok, but Yayuk won the gold in the singles event.

Wynne is world ranked 180 in singles and 210 in the doubles while Yayuk has a special singles ranking of 86. Her highest WTA singles ranking was 20.

Benny said if Wynne and coach Suharyadi wanted to increase the players' ranking, they should forge a strategy to choose important satellite and challenger tournaments.

Speaking on the results of Pelti's meeting Wednesday evening, Benny said Pelti would stage six satellite, six circuit and two junior international tournaments next year which would need Rp 900 million (US$123,711) and $110,000 in financing. (yan)