Badminton Life

Top-Seeded Indonesians Hoping for Men's Doubles Glory

Indonesia's leading men's doubles players Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan have been given an extremely tough draw for the Olympic Games.

The top seeds must fight hard from their very first match, having drawn China's Guo Zhendong and Xie Zhongbo in their opening match.

And if they can get through that match, it doesn't get any easier. Waiting for them in the second round could be either Malaysia's former All England champions Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong or the dangerous Japanese pair of Shuichi Sakamoto and Shintaro Ikeda.

Markis and Hendra are the top seeds with China's Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun seeded second. The Chinese pair have been given a first-round clash against Denmark's Jens Eriksen and Martin Lundgaard Hansen.

If they can win that, they then face either South Africa's Roelof Dednam and Christoffel Dednam or the United States pairing of Howard Bach and Bob Malaythong.

Also on their side of the draw are the Korean pair of Lee Jae-jin and Hwang Ji-man, who take on Malaysia's Choong Tan-fook and Lee Wan-wah first up.

For Malaysia's other pair, Koo and Tan, they could not have asked for a more difficult first assignment. They have lost to the Japanese in their past two meetings and will need a major physical and mental effort to overcome their opponents.

Malaysia's doubles coach Rexy Manaiky said an Olympic doubles tournament, where only 16 teams are taking part, will inevitably throw up difficult draws.

"It is not like the normal Open tournaments where I would see it as unlucky," he was quoted as saying in local media.

"But this is the Olympics and only 16 pairs get to qualify. So, we knew it would be tough from the first round onwards. The players are already prepared for this possibility."

For Indonesia, Markis and Hendra represent their best hope of a gold medal. The pair won the world title last year and have since taken four major titles.

However, with the quality of opponents at the Olympics, they don't have the luxury of an easy opening match and will have to work hard if they want to win gold.

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