Dream big — Young Indonesians eager to pursue career as badminton player – The Foreigners magazine In tokyo
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Dream big — Young Indonesians eager to pursue career as badminton player

Written by on October 29, 2021

© Provided by Xinhua

The enthusiasm for badminton in Indonesia, home to some 270 million people, is huge as the country’s players have made great achievements in international competitions. Nowadays more and more young Indonesians hope to become the stars of the sport.

by Dames Alexander Sinaga, Wang Aona

JAKARTA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) — Thirteen-year-old Muhammad Zylan Febrian is fighting tooth and nail to realize his dream of playing badminton for Indonesia in world arena in the future.

For more than four years, Febrian has been playing badminton routinely with a lot of trainings and intra-and-inter-regional matches, in the hope that he would enter Indonesia’s national badminton team.

Badminton is a sport widely favored in Indonesia. Clubs and academies for badminton fans can be found in all regions of the Southeast Asian country, and matches are also held routinely in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

Febrian has planned to become a badminton player after joining a club located in the eastern part of the national capital Jakarta in 2018, when Indonesia hosted the 18th Asian Games, in which Febrian’s favorite national athlete Anthony Sinisuka Ginting helped the Indonesian team win the silver medal in the men’s team event.

“My father enthusiastically watched the games on TV, and he soon registered me for a club afterwards so that I could get trained to become an athlete,” he told Xinhua during a recent evening training in Jakarta.

Febrian is currently being trained three days a week at PB Raya badminton club, which was jointly founded by Achmad Rivai, a former national shuttler, and his two friends in 2013. He also conducts routine self-trainings at home in the southern part of Jakarta.

“The sports center is about 30 minutes away from home. My parents always take me here and watch me practicing,” he said. “Managing my own time is a challenge,” said Febrian, who is also a junior high school student.

© Provided by Xinhua

Despite no wins for him in all formal matches he has gone through so far, Febrian always tells himself to keep up his strength training. He was once down in the mouth when he lost in his first inter-regional tournament in West Java province in 2019.

“It was intense and I was really nervous at that time. But I won’t give up,” he said. “Wish me going international and playing in matches in China someday,” said Febrian, who idolizes China’s retired badminton player Lin Dan.

Another junior badminton player at PB Raya, Cheisha Regustine Irmawati, also hopes to become a national athlete although she is aware she does not have a good chance of success.

The 16-year-old had been in some clubs for more than two years before joining PB Raya in February.

Her coach Ndaru Abrianto, a co-founder of the club, explained that big clubs in Indonesia tend to recruit players in their middle childhood.

“The competition within the circle of professional badminton players in Indonesia is getting much tighter now. Some even start playing at as early as six years old,” Abrianto said, adding that some young players choose to take homeschool education in a bid to have more time for practices and trainings.

“Now, I just want to improve my techniques,” said Irmawati, who idolizes Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, an Indonesian badminton player currently ranked world No. 1 in the men’s doubles by the Badminton World Federation.

© Provided by Xinhua

The PB Raya club has seen an increase in its membership after Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu won their first ever Olympic gold in badminton women’s doubles in Tokyo this summer.

“The number of members in our club, which was previously about 20, has increased to 60 within one month,” said Abrianto.

“Parents registered their kids here, because their kids want to be like their idols,” he added.

Rivai explained that the enthusiasm for badminton in Indonesia, home to some 270 million people, is huge as more people are getting aware that Indonesia has made achievements in prestigious badminton competitions, such as Thomas Cup and Uber Cup, and world championships.

“These have made kids nowadays motivated to become athletes,” he said.

Rivai mentioned that PB Raya, as a medium-sized club, is aiming to deliver more and more qualified players to be recruited by the national team or big clubs.

He is grateful to the Indonesian government, the Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) and major badminton clubs, like PB Djarum, who have provided support to smaller clubs and have been actively seeking new talented players nationwide through competitions they organize.

“It is important to keep preparing potential successors of the senior and junior athletes so that we can keep team Indonesia at the highest podium,” he said.

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