Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

BWF World Championships: A Lesson in Doubles Strategy

The BWF World Championships has a storied history, with the inaugural edition taking place in Malmo back in 1977. Doubles legend Christian Hadinata, who participated in that first championship, recently drew a connection between two pairs that are four decades apart. Hadinata reflected on the talents of Tjun Tjun and Johan Wahjudi, the men’s doubles winners in 1977, and their influence on the contemporary men’s doubles game.

Tjun Tjun and Wahjudi, men’s doubles winners in 1977

Hadinata, who experienced firsthand the brilliance of Tjun Tjun and Wahjudi when they beat him and Ade Chandra to win the gold medal in 1977, believes that the current Indonesian pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, known as the ‘Minions,’ could learn a thing or two from their predecessors.

The Minions have had remarkable success in recent tournaments, including wins at the Indonesia Open and the Japan Open. However, they faced an unexpected defeat in the World Championships. Hadinata’s observations, made prior to this defeat, may hold some validity or could simply be attributed to a bad day for the Minions.

According to Hadinata, Tjun Tjun and Wahjudi were the pioneers of the rotation strategy in men’s doubles, which is commonly seen in today’s game. They won six All England titles utilizing this strategy. Hadinata believes that the Minions should incorporate more rotation into their game to prevent opponents from getting accustomed to their style.

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Currently, Sukamuljo tends to dominate the front of the court with his exceptional talent, while Gideon takes the back position. However, Hadinata suggests that they should mix things up and share duties to keep their opponents on their toes. In his opinion, the Minions’ opponents have learned to anticipate their style, and a change in strategy could be the key to their continued success.

Gideon and Sukamuljo, despite their dominance on the circuit for the past three years, have yet to win a medal at the World Championships. They have, however, been experimenting with switching their positions on the court. This willingness to adapt shows their dedication to improving their game and achieving success at the highest level.

Christian Hadinata (left) and Ade Chandra

Hadinata has his own remarkable achievements in the Badminton world, including a double gold at the World Championships held in Indonesia in 1980. Interestingly, he almost skipped that tournament due to a personal crisis. His pregnant wife had suffered an accident just a week before the championships, causing Hadinata to consider withdrawing. However, with the support of PBSI President Dick Sudirman, who assured him that his family would be taken care of, Hadinata went on to compete and emerged victorious.

Reflecting on that unforgettable moment, Hadinata shares, “I won two titles. My boys were born a week after the World Championships. It was incredible. I was very proud of my two titles. In 1979, I was the mixed doubles champion at the All England, and in 1980, I became the world champion. I had both of the world’s biggest titles.”

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Since Indonesia’s successful four-title haul in 1980, they have not been able to replicate that level of success. They faced tough competition from China in the 1980s but managed to regain dominance in the following decade. However, their medal count has since dwindled, with three golds in 1993 being their last significant achievement. Nonetheless, Indonesia remains hopeful that the 2019 World Championships will provide a reason for celebration.

FAQs

Q: Will Gideon and Sukamuljo implement the rotation strategy in their game?
A: Hadinata believes that incorporating the rotation strategy could benefit Gideon and Sukamuljo. While they have been experimenting with position switches, only time will tell if they fully embrace this change.

Q: Have Gideon and Sukamuljo ever won a medal at the World Championships?
A: Despite their dominance on the circuit, Gideon and Sukamuljo have yet to win a medal at the World Championships. Their focus remains on achieving success at this prestigious tournament.

Conclusion

The BWF World Championships has a rich history, with past champions leaving a lasting impact on the sport. Christian Hadinata’s insights into the doubles strategies employed by Tjun Tjun and Wahjudi offer valuable lessons for today’s players, including the accomplished Indonesian pair, Gideon and Sukamuljo. As badminton enthusiasts eagerly await future tournaments, the question remains whether Gideon and Sukamuljo will successfully incorporate the rotation strategy into their game and finally secure a coveted World Championships medal.