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Rexy sets modest target for Malaysian squad in Jakarta

Kamis, 22 September 2005 07:57:18
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Former Indonesian badminton hero Rexy Mainaky is back home as the coach of the Malaysian squad at the Indonesia Open, which begins here at the Bung Karno sports hall on Wednesday. Having been with the team for only three months, Rexy, who is in charge of the doubles players, said he would not put too much pressure on his young shuttlers, who range in age from 18 to 20.

I have only coached them for three months. They have been playing well in Malaysia, but I have little experience seeing them play outside the country, Rexy said during the team's practice session at the sports hall on Tuesday.

However, Rexy, who accepted the Malaysian job after a four-year stint in England, said he was enthusiastic about his players' prospects.

Their chances? They all have the potential to reach at least the final eight, he said.

Rexy knows a bit about being a champion, winning a gold medal in 1996 along with doubles partner Ricky Subagja.

He said he was confident in the skills of his young players. But for the time being I am more concerned with the mental side of the game, such as how they control their emotions ... because they are young, said Rexy, who hails from Ternate, North Maluku.

Rexy said that while Indonesia was the team to beat at the tournament, other players also had to be watched.

We will be relying on (sixth seeded) doubles pair Chan Chong Ming and Koo Kien Keat. They made it to the semifinals at the recent World Championship in California, he said.

Koo said he was ready for the competition.

I will not get carried away by the pressure. I will play the best I can. I definitely want to be champion, said Koo, who, along with Chan, beat Hendra Gunawan and Joko Riyadi of Indonesia 15-1, 15-5 during the Proton Malaysia Open in July.

Malaysia will field 30 shuttlers at the tournament. Rexy said bringing a full squad to Indonesia was part of the overall plan as the team looked toward 2006.

The players' performance will be evaluated at the end of the year. We have some big events next year, he said, referring to the Thomas Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

The five-day US$250,000 Indonesia Open features players from 14 countries, including Indonesia.

However, China, which won three of the five titles on offer last year, is skipping the event this year because it clashes with its own national championship.(004)

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