“We have to be truly prepared if we want to be the best. If we lose go ahead. You’ll need to wait another four years.”
The 2004 Athens Olympics gold medalist and former world champion Taufik Hidayat thinks that Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie are good players but that they need to keep their focus and be consistent in tournaments.
Hidayat retired in 2013 and has since opened a badminton arena called the Taufik Hidayat Arena where he works to groom young players of the country. Speaking to the Olympic Channel, he said, “So after retiring from badminton I wanted to dedicate myself to my country.
“Therefore, I built the Taufik Hidayat Arena. I want to develop young players so they can grow.”
Anthony Ginting and Jonatan Christie
“They are good players and both of them are different. Anthony Ginting is more complete as a player. Some might say his skills maybe superior to Jonatan’s. But Jonatan is also very good.
“We need to see whether their performances are stable or not. If you look at their tournament performances as a graph, it fluctuates.”
Hidayat said that the Indonesians are less consistent in comparison to Japan’s Kento Momota, who is consistent in all tournaments. He said Ginting and Christie needed to practice more.
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The pressure of carrying the nation’s hopes on their shoulders.
“They need to be mentally strong because of the pressure from the country and society to be is immense. If they aren’t mentally strong, they will be crushed. But if they are strong they can fend off the pressure.
“Maybe people will say ‘you must become champion.’ If the athlete is not mentally strong it will only make him play poorly. We should enjoy playing on the court.”
Hidayat gave Indonesia the greatest joy in 2004 Athens.
He knows all about the pressure and the expectations of a country that worships the sport. He gave Indonesia an Olympic gold medal in the men’s singles discipline after a drought of 12 years when he defeated Korean Shon Seung Mo in the final of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. This win had come after the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where Alan Budikusuma won the gold.
“I feel grateful and also proud of. That I was the one person from amongst 240 million people in Indonesia who achieved victory, who managed to win an Olympic gold medal in Athens. It was an honour for me.”
He offered some advice for Ginting and Christie who would be debuting at the Olympics next year in Tokyo.
He said: “Because the Games come once every four years. We need to really focus on the Olympics. We have to be truly prepared if we want to be the best. If we lose go ahead. You’ll need to wait another four years.”