Tommy Sugiarto. Photo:  AFP
Tommy Sugiarto. Photo: AFP

The new generation of male Indonesian badminton players – increasingly known at home as the “rising stars” – have been dominating this week’s Korea Open and on Friday, Indonesia had representation in three of the tournament’s four Men’s Singles quarterfinals. Watch them try to progress through the tournament semifinals on Saturday and final on Sunday live, via Asia Times.

In the tournament’s first quarterfinal, Jonatan “Jojo” Christie beat Zhao Junpeng in two straight sets. Jojo is now hugely popular in Indonesia, especially with females, because he won an Asian Games Gold in front of a home crowd in Jakarta in August and also because of his now trademark and exuberant bare-chested celebrations.

In his previous rounds in the Korea Open, Jojo beat Kanta Tsuneyama from Japan in straight sets and then Hu Yun, who plays for Hong Kong. Jojo will now meet fellow countryman Tommy Sugiarto in a semi final match on Saturday.

In Sugiarto’s quarterfinal, he beat local favourite Heo Kwang-hee two sets to one after beating another Korean, Lee Hyun-il, in two quick straight sets. In the second round Sugiarto beat Malaysian Daren Lieu, also in straight sets.

In the tournament’s third quarterfinal Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting fought bravely but lost to highly-favored Chou Tien-chen from Taiwan. In his previous rounds Ginting beat up and coming Frenchman, Lucas Corvée, and Taiwanese Wang Tzu-wei, both in straight sets.

Tommy Sugiarto is the son of former badminton world champion Icuk Sugiarto and the site of this new generation of Indonesian “rising stars” dominating badminton courts is reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s, when Indonesia dominated the sport.

Icuk Sugiarto, together with Rudy Hartono and Liem Swie King, led a golden generation of Indonesian players at a time when badminton was closed linked with national identity and also the government of President Suharto.

Then badminton was the country’s national sport and the sport was taken very seriously. In even the remotest villages, there were courts, often with homemade nets and busy with children who would play with shuttlecocks made from rags.

Indonesia has changed vastly from those days but badminton remains hugely popular, as the euphoric scenes after Jonatan “Jojo” Christie’s win at the Asian Games proved.

The sport, after the golden generation, went into some decline in Indonesia but this new batch of “rising stars”, all in there early 20s,

The 2018 VICTOR Korea Open, held at SK Handball Stadium in Seoul, is part of the 2018 BWF World Tour. Asia Times readers in Indonesia and the Philippines can watch all the semifinal games on Saturday and the final on Sunday live.