Jakarta. Indonesia's badminton teams have largely failed to live up to expectations at this year's SEA Games in Malaysia, with only one player reaching a tournament final in the individual event.
The Indonesian Badminton Federation (PBSI) stated in June that it expected its players to bring home three gold medals at the Games, yet after the tournament's singles semifinals on Monday (28/08), the Southeast Asian nation has so far only managed to bring home one gold in the men's team event.
There is hope, however, that Jonatan Christie, who successfully advanced to the event's singles final after winning on Monday, might save the country's reputation for producing world-class badminton stars.
The men's doubles pair Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto were earlier beaten by Thailand's Kittinupong Kedren and Dechapol Puavaranukroh in a straight game 17-21 and 21-23. Men's single shuttler Ihsan Maulana Mustofa was also beaten by Thailand's Khosit Phetpradab in a straight game 10-21 and 21-23.
In the women's singles contest, meanwhile, Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska Tunjung lost in a straight game 20-22 and 13-21 to Malaysian Soniia Cheah.
PBSI technical and development chief Susi Susanti said she was disappointed by her players' performances and says they could have done better.
"At this elite tournament, our players should not have lost their focus. This is the main reason why we lost those three matches," Susi said on Monday, as quoted on PBSI's official website.
"We now don't fulfill the target [of three gold medals], an evaluation is needed after this," she added.
The country's most dominant squad, that of its men's doubles comprised of Fajar and Rian, should not have lost concentration, Susi said.
"Men's doubles missed its target. We predicted that they would get us gold, but they [Fajar and Rian] were not determined enough when in behind and not focused when leading," she said.
Fajar and Rian led 17-12 in their second set before ultimately losing to their Thai opponents 21-23.
Gregoria, usually dominant, also held a significant lead in her first set, eventually lost 20-22, while Ishan wasted his 16-10 lead to Khosit, who eventually won 23-21.
"Gregoria did it, Ihsan did it. There was a big opportunity, they were in the lead, but they couldn't give pressure to their opponents. When we were leading, we could not give any chance for the opponents to play. And when we lost the focus, it would be all gone," Susi said.
"We've got lots of homework. The problems did not only hamper one or two players. The coaches must think harder to resolve.
"The key point is, the players should fix their mindsets."
"I expect Jonatan to play with more bravery and confidence. Hopefully he can overcome the mental block," she said.