Badminton Life

Indonesia Set Modest Targets for Beijing

Indonesian badminton officials are refusing to get carried away with gold medal hopes at this year's Olympic Games in Beijing, which gets underway next week.

The Indonesians were the dominant team when badminton made its debut at the Olympics at the 1992 Games, with golden couple Allan Budi Kusuma and Susi Susanti winning the men's and women's singles gold medal respectively.

Even four years ago in Athens, men's singles player Taufik Hidayat brought gold home for the Indonesians.

However, Taufik is not the force he used to be and the country's badminton team manager, Luis Pongoh, said he would be satisfied with any kind of success.

"As usual, we bring home gold medal. One gold is okay, two golds ... thanks to God," Pongoh said casually when asked about his team's chances by China's national news agency Xinhua.

The Indonesian team have been training hard for the Olympics, but based on their performances at May's Thomas Cup, where they were beaten in the quarter-finals by South Korea, they are not among the favourites for gold.

"So far, all athletes have pushed their physical condition much better. This is for improving the performance during the competition in Beijing later," he said.

"Anyway, we see the strength of participating countries for badminton has spread. So I guess we could never know the result of the competition, particularly men's category, until the final games."

Pongoh said players such as men's top seed and world champion Lin Dan, as well as Malaysia's world number two Lee Chong Wei are among the favourites to win gold, along with South Korae's Asian champion Park Sung-hwan.

"All of them are tough opponents for the Indonesian players," he said.

Apart from Taufik's gold in Athens, Indonesia won a pair of bronze medals in the men's doubles.

While the country has a strong men's doubles team this time out, home advantage is likely to favour China.

Apart from Lin Dan, China has two other men's singles players who could vie for the gold medal in world number three Bao Chunlai and fourth-ranked Chen Jin, who won the All England title earlier this year, beating Lin in the final.

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