Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan win the All England men's doubles final, defeating Malaysian rivals, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, who are 10 years younger than them, in Birmingham on Sunday (10/03). (Antara Photo/Widya Amelia)

'Not Too Old' Men's Pair Retains All England Badminton Title for Indonesia

MARCH 11, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia has retained the men's doubles title at the classic All England badminton tournament this year after Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan - two of the competition's oldest players - defeated Malaysian rivals Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik on Sunday (10/03). 

The win repeated Hendra and Ahsan's success at the 2014 All England.

"I used to be young, now I am not too old," Ahsan said, laughing. He is 31 years old, while Hendra is 34. Their opponents in  the final, Chia and Soh, are 22 and 21 years old. 

"Young players are stronger. But we have what they don't have, experience," Ahsan said.

Hendra and Ahsan were the only Indonesians to have made the All England finals. Men's doubles defending champions Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon were knocked out in the first round, missing out on a hattrick fter their success in 2017 and 2018. 

Another men's pair, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, crashed out in the semifinal to Chia and Soh,  the Malaysian pair, failing to create an all-Indonesian final. 

Hendra entered the final with an injured leg he picked up in the semifinal against Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda. The handicap showed in the match as the Indonesian pair lost the first set. But in the second set, Hendra and Ahsan found their rhythm while Chia and Soh lost control of the game and never recovered. The final rubbers ended with a score of 11-21, 21-14, 21-12 for the Indonesians.

"I tried not to think about my leg injury. I still felt the pain, but it was better than yesterday. We were very motivated. This was a final at the All England, we didn't want to lose," Hendra said after the match.

"We kept fighting, kept our spirits up and stick to our strategy. That's when our experience counted. In times of stress, we remained calm. Even when we were in trouble [after the first set], we kept fighting back," Ahsan said.

Hendra and Ahsan's win continues Indonesia's unbroken run at consecutive All England doubles titles since 2016.

In 2016, mixed doubles pair Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto won, followed by men's doubles pair Kevin and Marcus in 2017 and 2018.

Mixed doubles pair Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, who just retired early this year, made history by scoring a hattrick of wins in 2012, 2013 and 2014.