Hamid sounds Atlanta warning
Elated Indonesian team manager Lutfi Hamid issued a warning to all pretenders at next month's Atlanta Olympic Games: 'We are ready and we will be better.' His statement came soon after Indonesia retained the Thomas Cup title defeating Denmark 5-0 in a one-sided men's final at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium last night. 'We were playing at only 90 per cent of our capabilities at this tournament. At the Olympic Games we will be at our peak and playing 100 per cent,' said a delighted Hamid. He had a huge smile on his face soon after his men's team joined the women's Uber Cup team in successfully defending their titles which they won in 1994 in Jakarta. Now the world's badminton superpower is looking to Atlanta. Indonesia are the gold medallists in the men's singles (Alan Budi Kusuma), the women's singles (Susi Susanti) and the men's doubles (Ricky Subagdja and Rexy Mainaky). All of them appeared here, serving their country well in their title defences.
'We will have a week's rest before we start preparing for the Olypic Games. That is our next target,' added Hamid. 'I'm really proud of the entire team. They have done the country proud.' The Indonesian team will fly back to Jakarta, content in the knowledge that they will be well rewarded by the badminton-crazed country. In 1994, Indonesian businessmen and other well-wishers gave each player US$12,000 for their winning efforts. 'The main reward is the satisfaction of winning. They play for their country, not for the money,' said Hamid. Denmark's dreams of winning their first Thomas Cup title were dashed quickly. The large crowd of vocal Indonesian fans had plenty to cheer about as the tie was settled after the first three matches.
World number one Joko Suprianto gave Indonesia the perfect start with an 18-14, 15-8 win over Poul Erik Hoyer-Larsen. 'After Joko won the first singles, we knew we had won the Thomas Cup,' said Hamid. 'That singles was the key to victory. If Denmark had won it, we would have been under pressure.' The dynamic doubles pair of Ricky Subagdja and Rexy Mainaky gave Indonesia a 2-0 lead, defeating Danes Jon Holst Christensen and Jim Laugesen 15-5, 15-7.
And Indonesia wrapped up the tie through Heryanto Arbi who brushed aside Thomas Stuer Lauridsen in straight games to give his side an unbeatable 3-0 lead. After last night's performance, opponents in Atlanta will do well to heed Hamid's warning.