Indonesian Badminton Official: Danish Player Crisis ‘Very Fortunate’
Jakarta. Indonesian badminton officials have shown little solidarity and plenty of gloating over a sponsorship spat in the Danish squad that will deprive next month’s Sudirman Cup team tournament of five of the world’s best doubles players.
“They’re having a problem over sponsorship right now, which is a very fortunate situation for us because Denmark is our toughest rival in the group stage,” Rexy Mainaky, the head of athlete development at the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI), said on Thursday.
“But they still have a tough men’s singles side,” he added.
Denmark’s top women’s doubles pairing of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen, as well as Pedersen’s mixed doubles partner, Joachim Fischer-Nielsen, and the men’s doubles pair of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen were booted from the country’s national training center last Friday.
The five players all have personal sponsorships with Danish cookie maker Kjeldsen, but the country’s badminton federation has signed a deal with rival confectioner Danisa to sponsor its team for the Sudirman Cup in Dongguan, China.
Citing the terms of their personal sponsorships, the players said they could not play in the tournament with jerseys bearing the Danisa logo (Danisa and Kjeldsen are currently embroiled in a lawsuit), resulting in them not just being passed over for the Sudirman Cup squad, but also “kicked […] out of the national team” and their funding withdrawn by Badminton Denmark, Rytter Juhl and Pedersen wrote on their Facebook fan page.
“Whatever happens I promise you that all five of us will continue playing, and we will hit the shuttles even harder,” they wrote. “We are all sad right now, but we can look ourselves in the eyes, and we will come back even stronger.”
In a statement, Badminton Denmark justified its decision to “discontinue cooperation” with the players on the grounds that it had signed a collective agreement for sponsorship with the national team players, and that their personal sponsorships were the source of the conflict.
“It is not acceptable that players have broken the collective agreement by entering into personal contracts that are contrary to this,” Rene Toft, the Badminton Denmark president, said in the statement.
Rytter Juhl and Pedersen are the world’s fifth-ranked women’s doubles pair; Pedersen and Fischer-Nielsen are number two in the mixed doubles, the same rank as Boe and Mogensen in the men’s doubles.
The Danish side was expected to pose the biggest challenge to the Indonesian team at the Sudirman Cup, which runs from May 7 to 10, in a group that also includes England.
The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout rounds, and with a higher group finish earning a more favorable draw in the next stage, Indonesia is relishing its chances of coming out on top.
Former world champions Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad will lead the mixed doubles charge, which also features Debby Susanto and Praveen Jordan.
The women’s doubles team will be led by 2014 Asian Games champions Greysia Polii and Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, while Anggia Shitta Awanda will pair up with Della Destiara Haris after her regular partner, Rosyita Eka Putri Sari, was left out of the side to recover from a knee injury.
Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, another pair of former world champions, will spearhead the men’s doubles campaign, backed up by Gideon Markus Fernaldi/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi.
The men’s singles players are Jonatan Christie, Firman Abdul Kholik and Ihsan Maulana Mustofa, and in the women’s singles, Lindaweni Fanetri, Bellaetrix Manuputty and Hanna Ramadini.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe