Arbi shrugs off sore ankle

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 March, 1993, 12:00am

NEWLY-CROWNED All-England champion Heryanto Arbi has fully recovered from an ankle injury and will spearhead Indonesia's challenge at the Seiko Asian Championships which begin today at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai.

There were fears the 21-year-old star would miss the Hongkong event after being injured late in the deciding game of the final of the London tournament against compatriot Joko Suprianto last week.

But Arbi, one of the new breed of top-class Indonesian players who is already ranked second in the world, declared: ''I am fit and will definitely play in this tournament. I wouldn't have come if I was injured.'' The reigning Japan Open and Taiwan Masters champion is vital to the hopes of tournament favourites Indonesia, who begin their challenge in the round-robin tournament by taking on Thailand tonight.

Indonesian team manager Tirto Utomo said: ''Arbi only had a minor injury and although that was just a week ago, he has made a speedy recovery. He had a good workout today and he's my best player at the moment,'' he said.

Indonesia have a squad rich in talent. Joining Arbi are Olympic champion Allan Budi Kusuma, Olympic silver medallist and former world championship finalist Ardy Wiranata and the world's best doubles pairing of Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja.

Utomo will name his team one hour before they play Thailand.

Meanwhile, Hongkong have a mammoth task ahead when they take on title holders China tonight.

Hongkong coach Chan Chi-choi said: ''The boys have had a tough European campaign and they also competed in the local doubles league. Our preparations haven't been too good but we hope to give the Chinese team a good run.''