Badminton Life

Indonesians Count on Endurance Training To Be Fighting Fit for Olympics

Not so long ago, Indonesia were the world force in badminton. With players such as Ardy Wiranata, Heryanto Arbi, Allan Budi Kusuma and, female star Susi Susanti, even the usually dominant Chinese were unable to keep pace with the Indonesians.

However, these days, Indonesia are struggling and have fallen behind China. Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat can beat anyone on his day but his temperament and inconsistency has seen him fail to live up to his potential on many occasions.

Indonesian coaches are determined to bring back former glory, though, starting with the Olympic Games in Beijing. Even before that, they have Thomas Cup and Uber Cup finals in their back yard of Jakarta.

In order to raise the players' fitness levels, Indonesian trainer Jason Kurfurst is planning an intensive training schedule focusing on endurance and keeping them fit.

"I can make them faster, stronger, less prone to injury and powerful, to have a better performance later in the Olympics," Kurfurst was quoted as saying in The Jakarta Post newspaper.

Kurfurst initially arrived as a consultant with the Indonesian Badminton Association and is now also taking care of the country's tennis players.

His appointment was encouraged by the National Sports Council, which was concerned about Indonesia's poor performances in major tournaments over the past year.

Lius Pongoh, the national coach, said each player has been thoroughly assessed, so they know their strengths and weaknesses. The aim is to identify the weaknesses and work on improvement.

"The tests are necessary in providing the trainer with a physical record of each player," Lius said.

But Kurfurst admitted there was a lot of work to do before the badminton players reached the required levels of fitness and endurance.

"The tests are taken to know their strength in cardio, lower and upper body, stomach, back and also the flexibility in the legs and arms, and the strength in each leg," he said.

"Some male players, for example Taufik Hidayat, have back injuries, while some female players already have knee injuries.

"Maybe, this could be from over-training or something that they have not worked out."

Indonesia will be under tremendous pressure during the Thomas Cup, with badminton-crazy home fans demanding nothing short of victory.

With Kurfurst's arrival, the players may finally be able to deliver.

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