An official with the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) has said that the Indonesian teams competing in the Thomas and Uber Cup have the advantage over their opponents following the Badminton World Federation’s announcement of the draw results.
The Indonesian men’s team will be in Group A of the Thomas Cup with Malaysia, the Netherlands and England while the women’s team will square off against Korea, Malaysia and Australia in Group B of the Uber Cup.
“We have been spending the last month competing internally so we can maintain their skills, fighting spirit and also stamina. The coaches have also issued their evaluations for all players so they could improve. Overall, we are in a better condition, [we are] up and ready,” PBSI secretary-general Achmad Budiharto told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
However, he said he firmly expected the team would not underestimate its opponents and stay focused on training.
“We still have time to practice and improve,” he added.
When asked about the current pandemic and how it could pose a problem to the athletes and the tournament, Achmad acknowledged that the PBSI had a big concerns and therefore was doing everything it could to keep its athletes healthy.
“There will be tight safety and health protocols to follow during the tournament, including the no-spectators rule. From our side, we have been applying strict protocol, as well maintaining our athletes’ condition,” he said.
A total of 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams will compete in the tournament, the world’s most prestigious group badminton tournament. The event will take place at the Ceres Arena in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct. 3 to 11 without spectators.
Head of PBSI development and achievements Susy Susanti concurred with Achmad’s statement on Indonesia’s strong chances, saying both the men’s and women’s team had good shots at winning the group stage.
“We are focusing on reaching the quarterfinals first. Our target will be to bring home the Thomas Cup back to Indonesia. The opponent countries are going to be tough but we are optimistic,” Susy, an Indonesian badminton legend, said as reported by badmintonindonesia.org.
“The toughest opponent in the group will be Malaysia. We might be in a better position than the Netherlands and England but that does not mean that we should underestimate them.”
She said the women’s team might have to work harder than the men to be able to come out as the winners of the group stage. The Korean team, she said, had tough women players and would surely put up a fight.
“The Korean team will be the toughest opponent in the women’s group but we still have a chance. However, Malaysia and Australia could be a threat as well. Especially when we are playing in the group category, anything is possible. Being vigilant is a must,” she said.
The most important thing, she added, was that all players maintain focus and a fighting spirit while out on the court.
Indonesia has won the most Thomas Cup titles of any country with 13 wins, followed by China with nine wins. Indonesia last won the championship in 2002 when it beat Malaysia in the finals. Indonesia’s Uber team has won three cups but faces a title drought, having last won in 1996.