LOCAL – Indonesia to organize new league

Badminton fans in Indonesia have new reasons to cheer. There will be another major tournament to look forward to after the Indonesia Open 2007 namely, the Indonesian League. This new […]

ImageBadminton fans in Indonesia have new reasons to cheer. There will be another major tournament to look forward to after the Indonesia Open 2007 namely, the Indonesian League. This new event, jointly organized by the five big badminton clubs in Indonesia, will be held for 10 days in Jakarta beginning 21June, 2007

Serla Rusli, Badzine correspondent. Photos, Badmintonphoto

The Indonesian League was conceptualized 4 years ago but was only made reality this year after overcoming numerous obstacles. Through this event, organizers hope to generate interest especially amongst the younger generation.

Last time, in order to be famous through television, you would have to be able to sing and join the Indonesian Idol. With this league, you can be famous by playing badminton,” said Mr Winjanarko, one of the organizing committees from Suryanaga Gudang Garam badminton club.

We would also like to increase parents’ confidence in allowing their kids to become professional badminton players by showing that badminton players do have a bright future. Eventually, we hope that we can nurture young seeds and produce more great players like Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the future,” Mr Wijanarko added.

What is this Indonesian League all about? This ten-day interclub competition will involve 8 teams competing in the final rounds. Both the men’s and ladies’ teams will play five games each (3 singles and 2 doubles), in a format similar to the Thomas/Uber Cup. Indonesia’s five largest clubs are granted tickets for the finals. The rest of the clubs will have to compete in the qualifying rounds, which will be held in April in Surabaya, to fight for one of three finalist positions.

ImageThe Indonesian League is a very prestigious tournament with many of Indonesia’s top talents fighting for the glory of their clubs. Some of the local big names who have confirmed participation in the tournament are:

1.Taufik Hidayat (SGS Bandung)
2.Alven Yulianto, Trikus and Sony Dwi Kuncoro (Suryanaga Gudang Garam)
3.Markis Kido, Hendra Setiawan, Candra Wijaya (Jayaraya)
4.Luluk Hadiyanto, Eng Hian, Rian Sukmawan, Sigit Budiarto (Djarum Kudus)
5.Nova Widiyanto and Simon Santoso (Tangkas Jakarta)

What makes this tournament unique is that each club is entitled to invite two foreign players to play a maximum of two matches. Mr Wijanarko mentioned that 50 foreign players have agreed to participate in the league. Peter Gade and Kenneth Jonassen (current world number 7 and 8 respectively) have been contacted but declined, mostly because this year was too important because of the qualifying period for the Olympics. "It’s a great idea, but it is very tiring for us to travel all the way to Indonesia and play against good players. We want to avoid getting injured especially when there is so much at stake" mentionned Jonassen.

"But it is a good idea, and if we don’t go this year, maybe later there is an option" added the Dane while Gade nodded. "This is not a good timing this year, also, being away for so long from our family isn’t easy" said the Dane, who aknowledged he had been contacted by some Indonesian clubs. But other big names should be involved in this interesting tournament, like Ronald Susilo (pictured up). However, it has not been disclosed yet who would be playing for each club. Reports mention that Chen Hong, recently retired from the Chinese National team, had agreed to play for one of the clubs but might not be given the chance owing to restrictions placed upon him by China.

ImageThe Indonesian League will have total prize purse of Rp 900 million (around US$ 98,000). The organizers sincerely hope that this event can be held annually and will eventually evolve into the Asian League Championship allowing badminton clubs in Asian countries to compete against each other.

The local channel in Indonesia, Trans 7, will be the official broadcaster of this championship while the venue of the tournament has yet to be finalized.

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