RI’s mixed doubles shuttlers secure place in quarterfinals

31 July, 2012 | Source: The Jakarta Post

Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir have kept alive medal hopes for Indonesia after defeating their South Korean rivals, Lee Yong-dae and Ha Jung-eun, 21-19 21-12 in the 2012 Olympic Games’ badminton mixed doubles.

“Our performance was quite good. Hopefully, [we] can be a group winner,” Liliyana said, as quoted by Antara news agency after the match at Wembley Arena, London.

With the victory over the South Koreans and an earlier win over Indian mixed-doubles pair, Diju V. and Jwala Gutta, Tontowi and Liliyana have secured their quarterfinal berth.

However, the Indonesian duo, seeded third in the competition, will still need to beat Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark to become group winners.

“Hopefully, we will play well when we face the Danish … so that it will be easier for us to progress to the next level,” Lilyana said.

The 2004 Athens Olympic champion, Taufik Hidayat, convincingly won his first-round men’s singles match to stay on course for a meeting with Chinese arch-rival, Lin Dan.

Taufik’s opponent, Czech cancer survivor Petr Koukal, won admirers just for being at the tournament.

Taufik, perhaps the only player to have ever seriously threatened Lin, barely broke a sweat as he toppled the towering Koukal 21-8, 21-8.

He faces another group match against Spain’s Pablo Abian on Tuesday before a likely encounter with reigning Olympic champion Lin in the last 16.

The 30-year-old Taufik has consistently failed to reach the heights of his world-title-winning days in the mid 2000s, but Lin was a keen observer in the stands of the player with whom he shared a string of spats in years past.

“I’ll try to do my best in my final Olympics, but Lin Dan is the best in the world,” a realistic Taufik said as quoted by Reuters.

“When I was young, [I could beat anyone]. Now I am older.”

Indonesia’s Simon Santoso also had an easy win in the men’s singles on Sunday, defeating Raul Must of Estonia 21-12, 21-8. Simon will face Michael Lahnsteiner of Austria on Tuesday.

In the men’s doubles, Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano need to win their next two matches to reach the quarterfinals after unexpectedly losing on Saturday to Bodin Isara and Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand 11-21, 16-21. However, the Indonesians will have to work hard to overcome fourth seeds Ko Sung-hyun and Yoo Yeon-seong of South Korea.

Indonesia has high hopes that the national shuttlers will be able to retain the “gold-medal tradition” since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when women’s singles Susy Susanti and Alan Budikusuma won gold.

From the pool, I Gede Siman Sudarthawa clocked 55.99 seconds in the men’s 100-meter backstroke — slower than the 55 seconds coach Albert C. Sutanto’s had hoped for — finishing only seventh in the heat.

“Siman was not able to adapt to the water, which is much cooler here. We never had a stint in Europe [before the Olympics],” Albert said.

The 17-year-old swimmer recorded his best time at 55.32 seconds during a Southeast Asian swimming competition in Singapore earlier this year.

Weight lifter Jadi Setiadi finished second in the men’s 56 kilograms (kg) Group B, after lifting a total of 277 kg. He lifted 127 kg in the snatch and 150 kg in the clean and jerk.

“I was disappointed. I was overconfident and my performance was poor,” he said. Jadi will perform late on Sunday (early Monday Jakarta time) for the medal in his division.

Indonesia’s only archer, Ika Yuliana Rochmawati, finished 40th out of 64 participants, by scoring 638 points with 72 arrows in two sessions.


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