WORLD MASTERS GAMES– Rediscovering the joy of badminton

Indonesian dominance was localized in the men’s doubles disciplines as the World Masters Games badminton competition wrapped up with winners from five continents in over 40 divisions in the A […]

Indonesian dominance was localized in the men’s doubles disciplines as the World Masters Games badminton competition wrapped up with winners from five continents in over 40 divisions in the A Grade alone.

Story and photos by Lim Kai (live)

In the many different trades, jobs and sports around the world, there will be a select few people who can be said to have pushed the absolute limits and through their efforts, achieved enlightenment, be it a chef discovering the most delicious combination of flavours, a martial master realizing the meaning of a form, or a player who starts recognizing the underlying tactics in their games.  Such people can be considered masters of their domain, with their experience commanding respect.

As the World Masters Games badminton competition entered the individual phrase, various masters from around the world, steeped in their years of playing badminton, gathered to prove their skills on the lush green courts of New Zealand, and to have fun in the process.

MVP of the day – Tricky mouse Trikus!

As if he wasn’t satisfied with clinching the deciding match in the final tie of the team event, Tri Kusharjanto became one of the few players who gained double gold medals, both in men’s doubles.  In the men’s doubles 35+, his partnership with fellow Olympic medallist, the renowned Tony Gunawan, saw the pair steamroll through the boxes, starting with the Japanese pair of Yutaka Honzawa / Masayuki Matsumoto and finishing with yet another pair Masaharu Okawara / Toshiaki Tanigawa.

2-time Champion and 1995World Champion, Hariyanto Arbi took the helm as Trikus’s partner for the 40+ age group.  Despite being one of the most formidable singles players of his era, Arbi now turned to his experience to help cover the court for his doubles and mixed doubles matches.  While he didn’t find much success in mixed doubles, he did manage to assist Trikus in gaining his 2nd individual medal, especially when facing the ultimate match of Tony Gunawan, who was partnered with Effendy Widjaja.  With a tight 22-20 opening game, Arbi and Trikus slowly expanded their lead, taking turns to press the attack from wherever they were.  A final smash barrage from Arbi finally ended the match, and with it, Trikus’s 2nd individual gold.

For some players, this would be their first time stepping on the courts of New Zealand.  This was true in the case of Tony Gunawan, who said of New Zealand and the tournament, “It is a very nice country, so I really love to come here.  It is my first time playing this kind of tournament.  It is very nice lots of older players play to still keep in shape.”

One of the masters and the main organizer of team Indonesia, Effendy Widjaja expressed his pleasure at his team taking a sizeable chunk of the titles: “We are very happy the players played very well, and performed well to achieve our target of getting 5 men’s doubles titles from 35 to 55 categories.”

Widjaja also revealed plans to organize another team for the next World Masters in Japan: “Yes definitely, because the next is Japan.  I like to go to Japan very much, it is also a very clean and well organized country.  So I think we will definitely participate again in 4 years’ time.”

Some local players, like Fanny Megahwati, also gave praise to the World Masters Games.  “I really enjoyed it because most important was being able to meet all my friends from Indonesia,” said Megahwati.  “It is a very good sign to be able to meet everybody there.”

A few hidden masters, Frits Mainaky, paternal uncle of the famous Mainaky brothers, managed to snag a doubles and a mixed title in the 65 age group, while Malaysia’s Ong Ewe Hock had only one mixed doubles match with Hariyanto Arbi, with his other match being a default from an injured opponent.  From Japan, Jose Fujimoto managed to defeat a string of Oceania players to clinch the Men’s Singles 40+ title.

Rediscovering the joy of playing

Would you remember the first time you picked up a racket?  The feeling of fun in playing and hitting the shuttle?  For most people, they will soon forget that feeling when they enter competitions and tournaments where the emphasis is on winning.  Especially for the highly competitive players, badminton can tend to become just another task, where they must aim to win each and every point.

The enlightenment that comes with any sport or task involves the chance to re-examine priorities for playing, and in doing so, realize the joy of playing the sport again.  For as the ancient proverb goes:

Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.

Truly these masters, who may be advanced in age, but steeped in wisdom, have realized that no matter what happens on court, badminton is a sport to be enjoyed, and all players are friends off the court.

Click here for complete A Grade individual results

About Kira Rin