Jakarta. Indonesia’s long wait for another trophy in the men’s team badminton championship Thomas Cup was over with a 3-0 victory over China on Sunday.
Jonatan Christie’s rubber-game win over Li Shi Feng ensures that the trophy returns to Indonesia without the need to play the fourth and fifth matches and marks the return of the country’s domination in the biennial tournament.
Since Thomas Cup was first held in 1949, Indonesia has won 14 times, more than any other country. After winning the 2002 edition, Indonesia has been in the finals three times but failed in 2010 and 2016.
China is trailing behind with 10 trophies and it has equaled Indonesia’s record of five consecutive wins between 2004 and 2012.
They came to Sunday’s final in Aarhus, Denmark having recently won the two other major team titles -- the Sudirman Cup and the Uber Cup
But Indonesia made a comfortable start at Ceres Arena with Anthony Sinisuka Ginting beating Lu Guang Zu 18-21, 21-14, and 21-16 in the opening match.
Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto who were surprisingly promoted to Indonesia’s first doubles paved the way for the victory with a 21-12 and 21-19 win over He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong.
“The Thomas Cup returns to Indonesia after a 19-year wait," President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo wrote on his Instagram account as he congratulated players and coaches.
"The anxiety in watching the nail-biting 2020 Thomas Cup final was soon taken over by the overwhelming feelings of joy when Jonatan Christie jumped, raised his fist into the air, and screamed in delight at the end of his third game. Indonesia is the champion!" he said.
Jonatan said helping the team win the Thomas Cup puts him on the top of his career.
“This is my biggest achievement, bigger than my Asian Games gold,” he told Badminton World Federation.
However, the celebration on stage was somewhat incomplete as there was no hoisting of the red and white flag despite the national anthem being played.
That’s because Indonesia is sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for being non-compliant with the anti-doping code. According to the WADA website, the non-compliance “is a result of non-conformities in implementing an effective testing program” for 2020 and 2021.
The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) flag was raised at Ceres Arena in place for the national flag during the trophy presentation.
The news drew outrage at home, including from badminton legend Taufik Hidayat who went to Instagram to lash out at the Indonesian Anti-Doping Agency and sports officials.
“What have you done all this time? You are an embarrassment to Indonesia,” he wrote.
“Never expect to host the Olympics or the World Cup if you can’t settle such a trivial issue.”