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Players need 'strong support team'
Oleh : admin Senin, 25 September 2006 12:08:30
Sugiat may not be familiar to most badminton fans but whenever the national badminton squad competes, he goes too.
Primastuti Handayani, The Jakarta Post, Madrid

Sugiat may not be familiar to most badminton fans but whenever the national badminton squad competes, he goes too.

As a masseur, he is invisible when the players win titles or trophies but his warm hands are in hot demand by tired players after matches.

Support teams in international badminton meets play an important role. Most include a physical trainer, nutritionist, doctor, psychologist, masseur and physiotherapist.

During the World Badminton Championships, the 20-strong Malaysian team had a support crew of about 10 people, not including the coaches.

To prepare for the Asian and Commonwealth Games, Malaysia has set up a special training program for eight sports: athletics, gymnastics, swimming, soccer, badminton, squash, field hockey and bowling.

To support the training, the country's National Sports Council has provided a supporting team under the National Sports Institute that focuses on science and technology.

The Badminton Association of Malaysia has also hired Li Mao of China to coach its singles players and Rexy Mainaky of Indonesia for the men's and mixed doubles.

The preparation showed, with Malaysia's mixed doubles Koo Kien Keat/Wong Pei Tty reaching the semifinals before losing to England's Anthony Clark/Donna Kellogg on Saturday.

It was an achievement for Malaysia's mixed doubles although as Koo put it: We've never been trained as mixed doubles specialists because our focus was actually our main event, the men's and women's doubles.

Clark, who reached two finals Sunday in both men's and mixed doubles, acknowledged the importance of a support team.

In England, the UK Sports have top (badminton) coaches for top players. We also have psychologists and nutritionists, he said. The (British) Institute of Sports has been providing help. Everything comes together.

Clark was coached by Rexy for about three years before the 1996 Olympics champion and two-time world champion in 1993 and 1995 with long-time doubles partner Ricky Soebadja moved to Malaysia.

When I was a junior, I always wanted to be like Rexy and Ricky. And when he coached me, his influence was massive. He always told me 'just go out there and do it.' And now I've done it.

The Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) also provided a support team to players, but some were still reluctant to use its services.

We do have psychologists but how can I share my problems with a stranger, men's doubles player Luluk Hadiyanto said. I'd rather talk to my coach (Herry Imam Pierngadi) or my friends.

When Hendrawan won his 2000 Olympics silver medal and world champion title in Sevilla, Spain, five years ago, he involved physical trainer Paulus Pesurnay and motivator Andrie Wongso.

If the PBSI wants to avoid another title drought in the world championships, it should also involve sports academics and foreign coaches in training, observers have said.

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