EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Taufik to launch new Academy

As a badminton player, Taufik Hidayat has already attained the heights that every player dreams of.  He reached the top of the podium in the 2004 Athens Olympics and won […]


As a badminton player, Taufik Hidayat has already attained the heights that every player dreams of.  He reached the top of the podium in the 2004 Athens Olympics and won the World Championships in 2005.  Last year, this two-time Asian Games winner decided to turn professional and retired from Pelatnas (Indonesia’s National Training Centre).  Now he has another dream: managing his own training camp for talented youngsters through Taufik Hidayat Arena. He talked to our Badzine Correspondent, Vini Damayanti for an exclusive interview.

By Vini Damayanti.  Photos: Yves Lacroix, for Badmintonphoto (live)

BZI: You’re not in the national team anymore. What’s your ambition as a professional player?

Taufik: A long time ago when I was at my peak, performance-wise, I wanted to win all the tournaments.  But now, I just want to enjoy every game I play and do my best.

BZI: Is there any differences of being a professional player and a national team player?
Taufik: Of course. When I was still in Pelatnas, I didn’t need to think of anything but playing.  PBSI arranged everything, such as registering me for tournaments and booking the plane tickets.  It’s completely different now.  I have to do everything by myself and become more independent.

taufik-INA1BZI: Last year you established your own sport management, THForce. Could you explain this program?
Taufik: I have training camp for potential young players. I’m working with my long-time coach, Mulyo Handoyo. The players are coached by him, while I become their sparring partner. Unfortunately, I don’t have adequate facilities since I still rent courts to practice. As a result, my management team can’t approve all the applications.

BZI: Is that the reason why you plan to build your own arena, Taufik Hidayat Arena?
Taufik: Exactly. The arena has already been built since this June and is expected to start operations in mid-2011.  There will be eight badminton courts — four of them are for training sessions, while another four are for rent to public. A dormitory and gymnasium will also be  included in this arena, which stands on 6,600 square feet of land.

BZI: Did you face any obstacle in constructing this arena?
Taufik: It was very difficult to find a suitable place. When I did find an ideal location, we were not allowed to build an arena on it.  I am so grateful that we finally got a place in Ciracas, East Jakarta.  It took more than 6 months to process the license.

BZI: What’s your expectation of TH arena?
Taufik: I hope to boost the players’ regeneration by creating more talented players. Of course we won’t be able to see the result in a short time. This will take some time – approximately five or ten years – to witness the emergence of new stars.

BZI: Do you plan to hold an international tournament, just like Alan-Susy with their ASTEC Open, or Candra with his Candra Wijaya Championship?
Taufik: I haven’t thought about it because I am still focusing on playing in tournaments. Alan and Susy have been retired for a long time. Therefore, they have time and energy to arrange a competition.  It’s a positive thing, though, for the growth of Indonesian badminton.  Moreover, my arena is designed to host a training camp, not a tournament.  There are no facilities like hotels around the area, and not enough seats for the spectators.  But I believe I will be able to hold a small tournament for local people, especially those who live around the location of Taufik Hidayat Arena.

Taufik INA2BZI: If this arena is launched next year, do you plan to retire and focus on it?
Taufik: I’m not really sure. But if I still want to be a player when TH arena is open to public, of course I’ll do the two together.

BZI: What about your line? When will you launch the new collection?
Taufik: Hopefully at the World Championships next August. Just wait for my third collection!

BZI:  What do you think is the role of media like Badzine for badminton?
Taufik: Of course you and other media have an important role.  It’s very good to spread the badminton euphoria all over the world. So far, this sport is only popular in Asia and some European countries. I look forward to other continents like America being more enthusiastic in badminton.  The BWF has done a great job by arranging the Premier Super Series next year. With that high prize money, hopefully there will be more players from every country interested and motivated to participating the tournaments.

More information on Taufik’s official website HERE

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