Jakarta. The Indonesian Badminton Federation, or PBSI, mixed doubles coach Richard Mainaky paired Olympic gold medalist Tontowi Ahmad with young shuttler Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja at the 2017 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold last week.
The pair was defeated in the semifinal by host's Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai with a straight set score of 21-17 and 21-18 at Sibu Indoor Stadium in Sarawak, Malaysia.
According to the coach, Tontowi's pairing with Gloria is provisional, pending further review, since Tontowi's partner Liliyana Natsir is still injured and has also reportedly expressed interest in retiring in the near future.
"We wanted to show that we could be good partners, but Gloria played with anxiety, maybe she wanted to show off her ability but yes it wasn't good for us," Tontowi said at Jakarta-based badminton club PB Djarum on Wednesday (25/01).
"Too much expectation can lead to a bad outcome as well," the 29-year-old men's shuttler added.
Meanwhile, Gloria conceded that she was slightly anxious during the competition when paired with Tontowi in Malaysia. "We showed that we had a good partnership in the semifinal even though we lost. The defeat was caused by non-technical aspects on my part," she said.
"To be paired with a world champion is, of course, an honor but I have to forget that he is an Olympic gold medalist. We have to start from the beginning," the 23-year-old added.
"His experience made me feel safe throughout the game. But we need to understand each other's character better," Gloria said.
PBSI has decided to pair Tontowi and Gloria for some events, but for competitions such as Yonex All England 2017, held in March, Tontowi will be partnered with Liliyana.