Re: Doha Asian Games Commitment List (Partial)
Smaller tennis team advised for Asiad
Sports News - October 12, 2006
Damar Harsanto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Yayuk Basuki, the last Indonesian to win the Asian Games singles gold, believes only the top three national women's players should be sent to the upcoming Asiad in Doha, Qatar, because of stiff competition from other nations.
"We should be realistic by sending only the best tennis players we have as our chance to win is quite small," she told The Jakarta Post by phone.
The former world top 20 player backed the selection of Angelique "Angie" Widjaja, veteran Romana Tedjakusuma and Sandy Gumulya as realistic hopefuls, who have been called up for the team, but did not agree on the inclusion of teenager Lavinia Tananta by the Indonesian Tennis Federation (Pelti).
"I don't want to belittle the potential of our younger tennis players, like Lavinia Tananta, but in such a highly competitive event as the Asian Games we have to maximize our chances," she said, adding Indonesian tennis was suffering a downturn.
"We need to prepare our younger tennis players so that they are able to compete in less competitive events, for instance in the SEA Games next year."
Yayuk won the Asian Games in December 1998 in Bangkok, only the second Indonesian woman to achieve the feat after Lita Liem Sugiarto in 1974.
The 35-year-old acknowledged that Indonesia's chances were limited, with favored China and Japan fielding their stars.
China's campaign for gold in the singles, doubles and team competitions will be spearheaded by Li Na, a Wimbledon quarterfinalist this year and ranked 20th in the world, and Zheng Jie, world number 33. Japan has Akiko Morigami (93) and Aiko Nakamura (90).
Other strong contenders in the team event are Uzbekistan, which will field Varvara Lepchenko and Akgul Amanmuradova, India with Sania Mirza and Shikha Uberoi, Chinese Taipei with Yung Jan Chan and Chin Wei Chan, and Thailand with two-time singles silver medalist Tamarine Tanasugarn and Suchanan Viratprasert. The defending singles champion Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan only recently returned to the tour after a long absence due to injury.
Angie is ranked 226th, and Sandy is currently 301st, with 30-year-old Romana 29 places below her. Lavinia is 540th.
"Maybe we could steal points from our doubles but it is only if we don't meet the favorites, like China or Japan in the early rounds," said Yayuk, who also is a member of the national monitoring team for the Asian Games with the Office of State Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs.
"We have to admit that Indonesian tennis is at a low, while in other Asian countries, like Japan, China and Chinese Taipei, tennis has been growing very rapidly."
Former Indonesian number Wynne Prakusya also said Indonesia would have the odds heavily stacked against it.
"But I hope our team could do its best to win every game," the 25-year-old was quoted as saying by Antara newswire. Wynne, who grabbed three golds in the SEA Games in the Philippines last December, is still sidelined by an abdominal injury.