WORLDS 2015 Finals – Fairy-tale win for Ahsan/Setiawan

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan got what only the best and luckiest athletes in the world get: a chance to celebrate a World Championship in front of a home crowd. […]

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan got what only the best and luckiest athletes in the world get: a chance to celebrate a World Championship in front of a home crowd.

By Don Hearn, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

Every athlete dreams of being crowned the best in the world.  It is only after the years and tears of training that any can claim a World Championship title.  Even then, as so many players made clear this week, so much depends on the kind of day the players on each side of the court are having that you have to admit the significant role of luck.

But luck is in it in a much more elementary way, too.  Even better than winning a world title is winning one at home and only the very luckiest of athletes can peak at the right time and just happen to have an even like the Worlds hosted in their home country.

All of those things came together for Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan tonight as they prevailed at the 2015 BWF World Badminton Championships for the second time, this time in front of their home crowd.

And what a home crowd!  Other badminton players – most recently the Chinese at the Sudirman Cup and the Koreans in the men’s team event at the Asian Games – have won gold at home but nothing can make the sheer volume and passion of the Istora Senayan on a night like this.  If this is a fairy tale, the thunder of the crowd makes it a whole lot more Jack and the Beanstalk than Cinderella story.

Hendra Setiawan was an absolute clutch genius, as usual.  His total calm and amazing control at the net put the Indonesians on the attack time after time and Mohammad Ahsan was devastating from the back.

Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan put up the best fight they could against the world’s best pair and the world’s loudest crowd.  They clawed back from 10-13 down to regain the lead in the first but the Indonesians finished strong shortly thereafter.

In the second, the Chinese pair was trailing by a bigger margin and were helped in their comeback attempts by two line call challenges, one of theirs that was successful and one by the Indonesians that was not.  In the end, though, it just wasn’t enough and the 2013 champions were crowned once more.

“We were just trying to play without any burden,” said Hendra Setiawan after the match.  “We put pressure on our opponents and I think that was what enabled us to win.

“We are proud that we can present an anniversary gift to Indonesia.  Even though Liberation Day is tomorrow, winning it today will have to do.”

“This title is not only for us but for all Indonesian people,” added Mohammad Ahsan. “During the match, even though we took an early lead, we weren’t sure we were going to win the match.”

Asked if there was extra pressure because they were the only Indonesians in the finals, Ahsan replied, “With the crowd support, we got motivation and it gave us the spirit to compete.”

“In the briefing before the tournament, I told them I wanted the title as a birthday gift for my birthday on August 21st,” jested their coach Herry Imam Pierngadi.  “It will also be a perfect gift for Hendra, who turns 31 on August 25th.”

“We will take a break for two or three days before preparing for the next tournament,” said Ahsan.  “Our opponents will no doubt be studying our play so this result doesn’t mean that we can relax.  We still have to work hard before the next tournament.”

Although he thanked the crowd for their support, Mohammad Ahsan did not admit to any special feelings he might have had about winning at home, instead pointing out that the major difference between this win and the pair’s World Championship title in 2013 was that in Guangzhou it was his first time.

We can be assured, however, that the this will live on very differently in the memories of Indonesian fans, in particular, those who were there in the Istora Senayan today.

Final results
XD: Zhang Nan / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [1] beat Liu Cheng / Bao Yixin (CHN) [4]  21-17, 21-11
WS: Carolina Marin (ESP) [1] beat Saina Nehwal (IND) [2]  21-16, 21-19
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] beat Lee Chong Wei (MAS)  21-14, 21-17
WD: Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5] beat Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) [4]  23-25, 21-8, 21-15
MD: Mohammad Ahsan / Hendra Setiawan (INA) [3] beat Liu Xiaolong / Qiu Zihan (CHN) [9]  21-17, 21-14

Click here for complete results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @