Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lilyana-Tontowi bring new hope

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, GUANGZHOU, China | Thu, 11/18/2010 9:55 AM

A new hope for gold came from new badminton mixed pair Lilyana Natsir and Ahmad Tontowi who easily defeated Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat and Woon Khe Wei in the preliminary round 16 of the 16th Asian Games on Wednesday.

Lilyana and Tontowi defeat the Malaysian rival 21-10, 21-9 at Tianhe Gymnasium.

“I think we started out strong and I kept up the front of the court while Tontowi [Ahmad] took the back. Koo [Kien Keat] is very strong but Tontowi’s attack was stronger,” said Lilyana after the match. “We were just able to take control from the start.”

Lilyana attributed the victory to her younger partner saying that Tontowi is very strong mentally and physically. “So as the older, experienced player, I just work with him on technique and confidence,” said Lilyana.

“When I first found out that I wouldn’t be playing with my old partner [Nova Widianto] I was a little uncertain because my former partner and I were world number one for a long time. I felt I had to start all over again but when I started playing with Tontowi, I saw his potential and his ability.

“Together we have won a few tournaments. Nothing big yet but it’s a good start to this partnership. He is definitely stronger and quicker but then, he’s young, so it’s to be expected.”

Lilyana said she is comfortable and confident with her new partner but they will take it one game at a time here. The pair will play Chen Hung Ling and Cheng Wen Hsing of Taiwan on Thursday.

“We have beaten them twice before so I do believe we can get closer to gold,” said Lilyana.

At the men’s division, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games gold medalist Taufik Hidayat, once again, survived the early test after trailing Hsieh Yu Hsing of Taiwan in the men’s singles preliminary round.

Not like most of his current matches, Taufik ended the opposition of the 2008 Beijing Olympics quarter finalist in straight sets 21-16, 21-12.

“I was better this time than the last time I played with him. The last time I won but I went to three games. Here, I won in two. I know his game and I played my own well,” said Taufik who won the gold for Indonesia at the 2002 Busan games and 2006 Doha games.

Meanwhile, another Indonesian ace and the 2008 China Master Super Series champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro crashed out of the men’s division as he was defeated by 20-year-old Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan 13-21, 21-14 and 17-21.

“I could not take control of the match. In the first game I started slow, he was fast but I did not change my playing style. In the second game he felt back and he changed his game to match mine and I could not keep up,” said the fifth time badminton World Grand Prix champions.

This is the second time Chou Tien Chen has defeated world top rank players. In the current China Masters Super Series he also defeated Chinese Chen Jin, the men’s single winner in the 2010 world championship.

On Tuesday in the round 32 matches, women’s single Adriyanti Firdasari also defeated Salakjit Ponsana of Thailand 21-18, 16-21, 21-15 to advance to round 16.

“I’m glad that I won today’s match, but there will be more matches and there’s a long way for me to go. I need to use more effort if I want to go further,” said Firdasari.

Firdasari will play eight seed Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia in a late Wednesday evening match.

Men’s double Mohammad Ahsan and Alvent Yulianto Chandra, who defeated little known Sharim and Zayan of Maldives on Tuesday, are also advancing to round 16 and will play Chieh Min Fang and Sheng Mu Lee of Taiwan on another Wednesday evening match.

On Thursday, pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan who has a bye in the round 32 will play Japanese Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hakayama who defeated Hee Chun Mak and We Kiong Tan of Malaysia on Tuesday.

RI teams survive first test at Games

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Thu, 11/18/2010 9:56 AM

Indonesian beach volleyball aces Andy Ardiyansah and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro overcame their first test at the Asian Games after beating Yemen’s Adeeb Mahfoudh and Assar Mohammed in Pool Cof the men’s preliminaries at the Town Gymnasium in Guangzhou on Tuesday.

The two-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games champions got off to a slow start in the first, but closed it out set 24-22. They were more dominant in the second, sealing the match 21-12. “In the first match we were not in good shape as we on center court,” Koko commenting on difficulties in the first set, with the Yemenis leveling the score at 20-20, pushing the Indonesian coach to ask for a time-out.

“I told Andy we should focus on the match in order to get more points from blocks and defense,” Koko said. “The Yemeni players are taller than us and we’ve never played them before so we just played our own style.”

In the second set, Andy and Koko led early by six points but the Yemenis fought back and pushed the Indonesians to call for another time-out.

“We lifted our foot off the gas that time, but we said to each other ‘come on, wake up’ while in the time-out,” Andy said, adding that the Yemenis were good hitters.

The 2007 and 2008 Asian champions will next meet Japan’s Shinya Inoue and Yoshiumi Hasegawa on Thursday. Another Indonesian pair, Dian Putra Santosa and Ade Candra Rachmawan, also won their first preliminary match in pool H against South Korea’s Lee Gwangin and Ko Junyong 15-21, 21-15, 15-9.

“Our service game was riddled with error. It was too windy,” Dian said referring to their first set loss. In the 42-minute match in front of 1758 spectators, Dian and Ade made eight service faults while the Korean made only four. The wind speed was recorded at 9.7 kilometers per hour at the time of the match.

In the second set, the Indonesians won a surprising seven straight points to come from behind 14-15 and win the set 21-15.

“We just took it slow and had many blocks. I believed we could win at the time.” said Dian said.

Dian and Ade will next meet Oman’s Khalifa Al Jabri and Abdullah Al Alrajhi on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Japan and Indonesia in rare tie for bronze

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:09 PM

Indonesia’s Susyana Tjhan and Yuki Hiraoka of Japan shared a wushu bronze medal in a rare tie in the women's changquan final in Nansha Gymnasium at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Tuesday.

Both scored 9.66 out of 10 in their changquan routines and had to wait 10 minutes after receiving their scores before learning they would both stand on the podium’s bronze-medal step.

Usually a tied score in a Taolu event goes to the athlete who performed the most difficult movements, but Susyana and Hiraoka scored the same on all three scoring components.

“I am satisfied with my result. Although I won the silver medal at the Doha Asian Games, I don’t feel regret, because I tried my best,” said 26-year-old Susyana.

Hiraoka said she was very happy to share the bronze with Susyana.

“There was no pressure for me because I'm not famous in China. What I want to do after the competition is to eat the chocolate, cake and desserts at the Athletes Village.” she said laughing.

It is not the first time a medal has been tied in wushu at the Asian Games, but it is still a rare occasion. At the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games two athletes shared silver in the men's changquan and at the 1994 Hirosima games there was a tie for bronze in the men's taijiquan.

Susyana's bronze was her second Asian Games medal after she won a silver at the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

The gold medal went to Geng Xiaoling of Hong Kong who posted a score of 9.75. Xiaoling is the world daoshu champion but entered the changquan event because her favorite event was not featured at the Guangzhou program.

“Actually, I want to cry now. I prepared for this Games for a long time and I had pressure. I feel tired, not only physically but also psychologically. It is very hard,” Xiaoling said through an interpreter. “I have knee and ankle injuries and a pulled leg muscle. I could hardly move in the most serious period,” she added.

The 26-year-old Xiaoling said she had prepared hard. “People may see our wonderful performances during the competition but they cannot imagine the tedious training we have to do. We have to repeat the same training again and again, every day.”

Myanmar's Oo Sandi Oo, the last woman to compete, won silver with a score of 9.67.

Malaysia snatches gold from RI hands

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:56 AM

World champion Llindswell Wijayaka failed to deliver Indonesia gold at the 16th Asian Games after finishing sixth at the women’s Taijiquan and Taijijian all-round at Nansha Gymnasium, about 71 kilometers south of Guangzhou, on Monday.

“I realize I was too intense. When I landed I was trembling,” Llindswell said after the contest. “Moreover, compared to the others, I choose maneuvers with the greatest [degree of] difficulty,” she added.

Llindswell performed beautifully at the Taijijian morning session and stood at the top of the group with 9.67 points, on par with Ai Miyaoka of Japan and Fong Ying Chai of Malaysia. The result inspired the athlete’s hopes for Indonesia’s first gold, similarly encouraging a stable of journalists and Indonesian officials who had flocked to the venue from downtown.

However, during the Taijiquan evening session Llindswell almost fell during her performance, which earned her only 19.10 total points, leaving her in sixth position.

“She expected to win the gold. First, because she is the 2010 world champion, and secondly because she was champion again in the category during a recent international event in Beijing. Lastly, because there were no host competitors in the category,” Indonesian Wushu Association (PBWI) chairman Supandi Kusuma told reporters after the contest.

“If she did not make a fatal mistake, she would have won the first gold for Indonesia,” Supandi added.

The gold was grabbed by Fong Ying Chai of Malaysia with a total score of 19.36, while the silver medal went to Ai Miyaoka of Japan with a total score of 19.34. Ching Ni Wen of Chinese Taipei took the bronze with a total score of 19.33.

“I’m proud to win my country its first gold medal,” Fong Ying Chai said during a conference after the contest. “It’s true that I have most of the same people standing by me on the podium, which reminds me how time flies and we’re all getting old.”

Malaysia has targeted nine gold medals at Guangzhou. It has won one silver in billiards, and bronzes in equestrian, shooting and the nanquan/nandao all-round event in wushu.

The three Taijiquan and Taijijian medalists have all trained for several months at Fozhou, the capital of southeast China’s Fujian province.

“We are really familiar with each other and we are good friends,” said Ai Miyaoka. “I hope we can move forward together in the future.”

Indonesia still has several chances to bring home other gold medals, National Sports Council (KONI) chairperson Rita Subowo said.

“It is quite hard for us [in all disciplines] because we are competing with host country world class athletes,” she said.

“We were really expecting gold from Llindswell because there were no Chinese athletes in the category. But, unfortunately the expectation was not realized as it seemed that Llindswell was under pressure,” she added.

Triyatno wins second bronze, ace Lisa loses out

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, GUANGZHOU, China | Tue, 11/16/2010 9:55 AM

Indonesia received another bronze medal at weightlifting after lifter Triyatno finish third in the men’s 69-kilogram category Monday.

However, ace lifter Lisa Raema Rumbewas’ hopes to shine for Indonesia were thwarted in the women’s 58-kilogram category.

The 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Triyatno lifted 143 kilograms at snatch and 178 kilograms at clean and jerk to finish third with a total of 321 kilograms at the Dongguan Gymnasium, 67 kilometers south of Guangzhou.

The 23 years old tried 143 kilograms at his first snatch but failed to lift 148 kilograms on his second and third attempt. In clean and jerk, he managed to lift 174 kilograms on his first attempt and 178 on his second but failed to lift 182 on his last attempt.

“I am not satisfied because in 2008 I was doing great lifting at the Olympic Games. In the clean and jerk I expected to lift 182 kilograms,” said Triyatno.

Kim Kum Sok of North Korea grabbed the gold medal with a total lift of 324 kilograms, and although Morteza Rezaeian managed to lift a similar 324 kilograms with Kim Kum-sok, his body weight is 31 grams more than the North Korean.

“It was my strong will that made me improve my performance. After the last World Championships, I was upset about the result. So, I worked much harder,” said Kim Kum-sok.

Kim was also surprised with Triyatno’s performance. “I expected the Indonesian athlete [Triyatno] to be my main rival because my total record was not good enough to win over him during the last world championship,” he said.

Iranian head coach Kourosh Bagheri is optimistic that his lifter can make up for the lost as he is younger than the gold medalist.

“[Rezaeian’s] body weight is a little bit heavier than Kim, althought they lifted the same weight. But he is just 21 years old and it’s his first Asian Games,” said Bagheri. “As his coach I will keep an eye on the 2012 Olympics Games. This time he lost the gold but it’s better than a bronze.”

During the contest, Bagheri spoke to and patted his lifter’s shoulder before lifting. This made some reporters curious. “He is young. As his coach, I always speak to him and make him concentrate during the competition. I patted his shoulder to make him relax and keep clear,” he explained.

In the women’s division, hope was on ace Indonesian lifter Lisa Raema Rumbewas to collect more medals for the women’s 58-kilogram class but she finished eighth in the group A contest, lifting only a total of 205 kilograms.

The 2004 Athens Olympics 58-kilogram category silver medalist was even a stroke behind her countrywoman Okta Dwi Pramita who lifted a total of 206 kilograms.

The 2000 Sydney 48-kilogram category silver medalist managed to lift 94 kilograms at snatch and lifted 111 in her third clean-and-jerk attempt, while Okta Dwi Pramita managed to lift 88 kilograms at snatch but lifted 118 in clean and jerk.

The final result for the women’s 58 kilograms waits upon the result of group B, which will be contested later in the evening, but even then Indonesian lifters miss out on medals as they were not at the top of group A.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thailand crushes Indonesian women’s team

The Jakarta Post | Mon, 11/15/2010 11:22 AM

A day after shocking 2006 Doha silver medalists India with a blowout victory in the first round of the women’s team event, the Indonesian women’s team fell 3-0 to Thailand at the Aoti Tennis Center on Sunday.

Indonesia’s first singles player Ayu Fani Damayanti lost to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn 6-3, 6-1 in the opening match of the tie. In the second singles match, Thai veteran Tamarin Tanasugaran saw off Lavinia Tananta 6-2, 7-5.

Indonesia’s doubles pair Yayuk Basuki and Jessy Rompies lost to Luangnam Nudnida and Varatchaya Wongteanchai in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, putting the tie beyond contention.

“We tried our best but we failed. But this does not mean this is the end,” said Yayuk, who won gold in the women’s doubles at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games and again at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games, and gold in the singles at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.

“I think the team has given their best but Thailand is obviously stronger than our team,” said Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng. “This is not the time to talk about the defeat but rather to find a solution to improve the country’s tennis performance.”

Tono Suratman, the head of Indonesia’s contingent at the Games, said the team’s defeat was disappointing.

“They finished second at the 2009 Laos SEA Games and that is why they were sent here. But unfortunately the result was far from our expectations,” he said adding that a thorough evaluation of the women’s team’s performance would be carried out ahead of next year’s Southeast Asian Games in Palembang, South Sumatra.

“Tennis really needs new blood. I was wondering why Yayuk [Basuki] was still playing at this event,”
he said.

— JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Eko wins bronze, eyes improvement at Olympics

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou | Mon, 11/15/2010 11:24 AM

Indonesian ace weightlifter Eko Yuli Irawan put up a brave fight to bring home bronze in the men’s 62-kilogram category at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou on Sunday.

Eko competed against lifters from North Korea and China at Dongguan Gymnasium, which is about a two-hour drive south from Guangzhou. Eko lifted 141 kilograms on his second attempt, but failed to lift 144 kilograms on his third and final attempt.

In the clean and jerk category, the 21-year-old former cattle farmer lifted 170 kilograms on his second attempt but failed to lift 177 kilograms on his third.

With a combined total of 311 kilograms, Eko finished short of pre-tournament favorite Kim Un-guk of North Korea, who lifted 317 kilograms, and Chinese lifter Zhang Jie who finished with a score of 321 kilograms.

“This is the best I can do right now; I thank God and all of the people who made me get this bronze medal and I hope my country will be proud of me,” Eko said after the contest.

Eko, who is younger than the top two finishers, said he still had a good opportunity to win medals in the future, and would train harder for the 2012 London Olympics, where he said the competition would be no harder than in Guangzhou.

“Because the competitors in my class [at the Asian Games] are the best in the world,” he said.

Kim Un-guk finished first and Zhang Jie second at the 2010 World Championships in Atalya, Turkey. Eko placed fourth.

Eko’s coach, Lukman, said errors had cost his charge. “Eko made a mistake in his last attempt in the clean and jerk, but so did many lifters. He lifted up the barbel but he put it in the wrong place — right at his neck — and this surely made it hard for him to breath and he actually blacked out.”

“This was just a technical mistake because he has lifted 180 kilograms again and again in training. He
was just not in good condition,” Lukman said.

However, he said, the two years until London was plenty of time for Eko to improve. “He is still young and growing up. As long as we support him with good nutrition and better training and world class tryouts, I believe he will make it in London.”

Lukman said Eko had no rivals in Southeast Asia, citing that he had dominated the SEA Games several times. He said that he therefore needed experience in world-class competitions to compete with others of his level.

Zhang Jie, who won gold in the multi event, said he was pleased he had avenged his defeat to Kim Unguk at the World Championships in Turkey.

“In Turkey, he [Kim Un-guk] outdid me because I had a little injury, but I can beat him. The three of us will meet each other again in the future so let’s see what will happen,” Jie said through an interpreter.

Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng, who was present at the contest, said weightlifting should be given more attention in Indonesia so that it could become the second-most important sport after badminton. “The performance of our lifters at many events has proven something and there is no choice for us to give better support for them right now.”

Earlier in the day, Indonesian women’s lifter Citra Febriati topped group B in the women’s 53-kilogram class, lifting a combined total of 202 kilograms to finish ahead of Shu Ching Hsu of Chinese Taipei who lifted 196 kilograms and Aye Thanda Lwin of Myanmar who lifted 187 kilograms.

The results of the women’s 53-kilogram division must wait for the results of group A, which was to be contested in the late evening Sunday, by among others Chinese Li Ping and Jaroenrattanatarak of Thailand.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

RI men and women secure place in semifinals

The Jakarta Post | Sun, 11/14/2010 11:10 AM
Indonesia’s men’s and women’s teams secured a spot in the semifinals of the badminton event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, after trailing the Taiwan teams on Saturday.
Veteran player Taufik Hidayat led the men, who have a bye in the quarterfinals, to a 3-0 win over Taiwan, while women’s team also defeated Taiwan 3-0.
Taufik returned from a late warm up to defeat Yu Hsieng Hsieh 11-21,21-8, 21-12, while doubles pair Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan defeated Chieh Min Fang and Sheng Mu Lee 21-19, 21-9. Second Indonesian singles player Simon Santoso also came from behind to defeat Hsuan Yi Hsueh 15-21, 21-15, 21-16.
In the women’s event, Ardiyanti Firdasari beat Shao Chieh Cheng 14-21, 21-11, 21-11 before doubles pair Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari came from behind to beat Wen Hsing Cheng and Yu Chin Chien 21-16, 16-21, 21-12. Maria Febe Kusumastuti wrapped up proceedings by beating Hsiao Huan Chen 21-19, 21-10.
“In the morning matches, both teams seemed to have tough opponents as they struggled to win
every game, but in the evening matches they played very well,” said badminton team manager Yacob Rusdiyanto.
“I’m very glad we beat because the Taiwan women’s team, because they were the favorites in their division.”
“The men also performed well, especially Kido and Hendra, who beat the Taiwan team that won in their last two meetings.”

Excel: Indonesian women’s doubles shuttlers Liliyana Natsir (right) and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari return a shot to Indian opponents Balana and Sawant in a qualifying round at the Tianshe Gumnasium at the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. Antara/Andika Wahyu Excel: Indonesian women’s doubles shuttlers Liliyana Natsir (right) and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari return a shot to Indian opponents Balana and Sawant in a qualifying round at the Tianshe Gumnasium at the Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. Antara/Andika Wahyu

In Sunday’s semifinals, the men will face hosts China, who defeated Hong Kong 3-0, while the women meet Thailand, who beat Japan 3-1.
“China are of course favorites in the men’s event, but our women need to be careful against Thailand, which is quickly developing some very talented young players,” Yacob said.
Earlier in the day, the Indonesian women had secured a place in the quarterfinals after defeating India 3-2 at the Tianhe Gymnasium.
India led from the start with world number three Saina Nehwal defeating Firdasari 21-16, 21-17 and Indian pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Machimanda defeating Indonesian aces Greysia and Meiliana 21-17, 17-21, 23-21.
Nehwal, the first Indian woman to win a Badminton Super Series and the first to win a Commonwealth gold medal in October, needed only 30 minutes to stop world number 34 Firdasari. The new Indonesian pairing of Greysia and Meiliana lost to Gutta-Aswini and Machimanda in 44 minutes.
In the next two matches, world number 24 Maria Febe easily defeated Aditi Ajay Mutatkar 21-10, 21-16, while duo Liliyana Natsir and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari also expended little effort in dispatching Aparna Balan-Prajakta Sawant 21-11, 21-11.
In the decisive fifth match, Indonesia’s last hope Linda Wenifanetri faced little pressure from the relatively unknown Arundhati Pantawane, winning 21-9, 21-10.

— JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh

Indonesia picks up two medals on first day

Matheos Viktor Messakh, The Jakarta Post, Guangzhou | Sun, 11/14/2010 11:04 AM

Indonesia won two medals on the first day of the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, with Ivana Ardelia Irmanto’s silver in the wushu competition and Jadi Setiadi’s bronze in weightlifting on Saturday.

Ivana won silver in the women’s nanquan/nandao all-round wushu competition in the morning while lifter Jadi Setiadi won bronze in the men’s 56-kilogram class later in the day.
In the snatch, Jadi managed to lift 120 kilograms on his first attempt, but failed to lift 123
kilograms on his second and the third try.
“In the snatch, he equalled the result of Myanmar’s Phyo Pyiae Phyo but Jadi weighs 4 grams more so he needed to lift more in the clean and jerk in order to win bronze. It was really psychological warfare between the coaches and lifters of the two countries,” Indonesian weightlifting manager Sony Kasiran told The Jakarta Post.
In the clean and jerk, Jadi twice lifted 146 kilograms in his first and second tries before lifting 151 kilograms in the last try to win bronze, while Phyo could only lift 145 kilograms in his first try and failed to lift 150 kilograms and 151 kilograms in his second and third tries.
“We were very grateful to everybody that had helped us to get this result. We are so happy because from the beginning there was no pressure on us to win any medals.
“Jadi was really lucky because he had just recovered from a knee injury in both legs and a few days before our departure, he complained of discomfort in his wrists. He could only manage 140 kilograms at a tournament in Turkey,” Sony said.
First bronze for Indonesia: Indonesian weightlifter Jadi Setiadi reacts after successfully lifting an overall 271. 48 kilograms in the men’s 56-kilogram weightlifting event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Saturday. Jadi seized Indonesia’s first bronze medal with his lift. Reuters/Mick Tsikas First bronze for Indonesia: Indonesian weightlifter Jadi Setiadi reacts after successfully lifting an overall 271. 48 kilograms in the men’s 56-kilogram weightlifting event at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Saturday. Jadi seized Indonesia’s first bronze medal with his lift. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

The gold medal went to China’s Jingbiao Wu who lifted 133 kilograms in the snatch and 152 kilograms in the clean and jerk to break the Asian Games record in the men’s 56-kilogram category with a total lift of 285 kilograms.
The silver medal went to North Korea’s Cha Kum-chol who managed to lift 128 kilograms in the snatch and 148 kilograms in the clean and jerk.
Sony said his lifters were a lot more relaxed at the event because there were no specific targets the Indonesian Sports Committee (KONI) or the Youth and Sports Ministry had given them.
“They set no expectations, even for mainstays such as Eko [Yuli Irawan] and Triyatno. The most important thing is that they do their best at the event,” Sony said.