Badminton Life



Indonesia Pick Scratch Pair for Finals

Indonesia's makeshift pair of Candra Wijaya and Nova Widianto are now permanent after the duo were named in the squad for the Thomas Cup Finals from May 11-18 in Jakarta.

The pair were picked ahead of the more established partnership of Alven Yulianto and Luluk Hadiyanto.

Candra and Nova, who is more a mixed doubles specialist, came together for the first time at the Asian Badminton Championships in Johor Bahru, where they reached the final.

That was good enough for Indonesian selectors, who named the pair along with world champions Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan and young pairing Joko Riyadi-Hendra Gunawan for the Finals.

Former Indonesia player and Malaysian doubles coach Rexy Mainaky said he was surprised at the decision to drop Alven and Luluk, though he was unmoved by the inclusion of Candra and Nova.

"I am surprised with the decision to drop Alven-Luluk although I think Indonesia made a wise decision. They have taken into consideration the results from last week's ABC, which saw Candra-Nova beating Alven-Luluk," Rexy told local media.

"I am not worried about Candra-Nova. Our Malaysian pairs did not get a chance to play against Candra-Nova. I would have been worried if they had beaten our pair."

Although Indonesia will be among the favourites to take the crown from defending champions China, Rexy does not believe their squad is any better than their rivals.

"Indonesia's only advantage now is being the host of the Finals. Most of the players have not had a chance of playing against Candra-Nova while their youngsters will be more than motivated to prove themselves but there is no guarantee that these players will win," he said. "All our three pairs can give their opponents a good fight. It is still open."

Indonesia's singles assault will be led by Sony Dwi Kuncoro, the world number six, who will be joined by Olympic champion and seventh-ranked Taufik Hidayat and number 15 Simon Santoso.

Sony reached the final of the Asian Championships last week but much will depend on the form of Taufik, who has wavered over the past year and has yet to prove himself as a threat this season.

The Chinese team will feature three of the top four singles players in the world in Lin Dan, Bao Chunlai and Chen Jin. They are joined by Chen Yu, who is ranked 12th.

The doubles teams are Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng (ranked second in the world) and Guo Zhengdong-Xie Zhongbo (9th).

Denmark will lead the European challenge with world number five Kenneth Jonassen, eighth-ranked Peter Gade-Christensen and number 18 Joachim Persson.

The teams of Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen (8th), Jens Eriksen-Martin Lundgaard Hansen (12th), Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen (15th) will make up the doubles squad.












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