$5,000 backstory to Indonesian pair’s reunion

The entry of Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Angga Pratama in the Malaysia and Indonesia Opens turns out to be less a sign of the future than it is a fine […]

The entry of Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Angga Pratama in the Malaysia and Indonesia Opens turns out to be less a sign of the future than it is a fine of the past.

By Jong.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

It is well known that the international badminton schedule has become hectic since the new format was introduced for this season. In the past Olympic cycle, top players were only required to play the 5 Superseries Premier and at least 4 Superseries events.

2018 has seen changes from required 9 tournaments into 12 tournaments – excluding the World Tour Finals – for players included in the category known as (for the 2018 list see here).  June, July, and August will see the most packed season we have ever seen for the past few years. Four Open tournaments run in consecutive weeks with just short breaks separating them from the subsequent World Championships and then the Asian Games.

With the release of the participants’ list from the four tournaments, we have seen the unexpected reunion of Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Angga Pratama.  This reunion is not a platform to revive their partnership.  They are registered for tournaments to avoid penalties, according to what Indonesian men’s doubles coach Herry Iman Pierngadi told JawaPos earlier this month.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) imposes fines of US$5,000 per tournament for Top Committed Players who did not participate in the required tournament.  While Angga Pratama did compete at the All England in March, in men’s doubles with Rian Agung Saputro, there was still a fine levied against them because Ricky Karanda Suwardi was not registered in the 2018 edition.

It seems ironic that Ricky/Angga should be among the Top Committed Players, as they currently have a world of 56th, far from the top 10 criterion for doubles players.  However, what locked them in was the rather arbitrary selection of November 23rd, 2017 – the last date when they were ranked #10 – as the key date despite the fact that the 2017 Superseries was not even finished by that time.

According to the BWF, Ricky Karanda Suwardi was fined because he competed in neither men’s nor mixed doubles at the All England.  Players like 2017 champions Chang Ye Na / Lee So Hee, who competed in 2018 with different partners, were not fined, nor were players such as Chen Qingchen and Huang Dongping, who were on the Top Committed Player list in two categories but who each entered the All England in just one.

Even China’s Lu Kai, who was 2nd on the all-important November 23rd standings, will not be fined, even though he and partner Zhou Chaomin will not make it off the reserve list in Malaysia or Indonesia.  Suwardi should still be able to avoid most of the fines, as next week’s Indonesia Open will be the 5th tournament he has entered with new mixed doubles partner Debby Susanto.  For some reason, Susanto played in the All England with ex-partner Praveen Jordan instead, reaching the quarter-finals, which Suwardi was left partnerless and liable for a fine.

The fine may seem heavy compared to the proportion of tournament prize money that one individual is likely to take a piece of.  Many have expressed opinions about their obligations but are still picking tournaments to play.   Former world #1 Lee Chong Wei has already missed 4 Super 500 tournaments and may be on the hook for 5 grand already.

Star players like Tai Tzu Ying, Viktor Axelsen, and Lin Dan will all have missed 3 Super 500 events as of the Singapore Open.  Of course, many of these fines may be precluded by proof of injury but in the absence of this, it seems the BWF will be expecting them to participate in all 7 Level 2-4 tournament in the autumn or to face $5,000 fines for each one missed.

In fact, the next medical certification will be required by Ricky himself.  JawaPos reported yesterday that he was suffering from tonsillitis and that he and his two partners would be focussing on the Indonesia Open next week.


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