Wednesday, 22 May 2024

News | BWF World Championships

Among the top contenders at the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019, few pairs have experienced a more remarkable resurgence than the Indonesian badminton duo, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

After splitting up following the Rio 2016 Olympics and spending over a year playing with different partners, it seemed like the end of the road for this talented pair. However, their reunion early last year led to unexpected success, with three semifinals appearances in the latter part of the season.

Their victory at the All England in March was a turning point for Ahsan and Setiawan, proving that they were far from finished in top-tier events. Since then, they have consistently shown impressive results, positioning themselves as strong contenders for another title at the TOTAL BWF World Championships. If victorious, Setiawan would secure his fourth title and Ahsan his third.

Despite their recent achievements, Setiawan remains modest, stating, “Winning the All England gave us a lot of confidence, but I don’t want to assume that we will win the World Championships again.”

Following their All England victory, the Indonesian pair reached the quarterfinals in Switzerland and Malaysia, had a shot at the title in Singapore, and emerged as champions at the New Zealand Open. They also achieved back-to-back finals in Indonesia and Japan, narrowly missing out on additional titles due to tough competition from their younger compatriots and the world’s best pair, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

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Ahsan chooses to stay grounded, stating, “We don’t think about the World Championships. Instead, we focus on each match as it comes. It won’t be easy for us as there are many highly skilled players.”

However, it’s not just their impressive results that have endeared Ahsan and Setiawan to fans. They bring a unique craft to the court, particularly at the front court, which stands out due to their seemingly effortless and calm demeanor.

Their exceptional skills were on full display during their last World Championships victory in Jakarta. Despite encountering challenges in the early rounds, including a close call against Frenchmen Baptiste Careme and Ronan Labar, they displayed remarkable calmness in the final against Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan. Ahsan and Setiawan’s opponents seemed helpless as they skillfully maneuvered them on the court. This victory holds a special place in their hearts.

Ahsan reflects on that memorable triumph, saying, “We had tremendous support, which gave us a lot of energy. The early matches were difficult, especially against the French and the Japanese (Kazuno/Yamada). The World Championships is always challenging because everyone wants to win the title. During the final, we focused on playing our best and tried not to think about winning. It was a natural calmness, and the most memorable moment was hearing the Indonesian anthem on the podium.”

As one of the most experienced men’s doubles pairs, Ahsan and Setiawan have had to adapt as time has taken its toll. At the Indonesia Open, Ahsan faced difficulty in finding outright smash winners due to the slower shuttle, which reduced the power of his smash. However, their improvisational abilities allowed them to overcome formidable pairs like Endo/Watanabe and Hoki/Kobayashi.

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Ahsan acknowledges, “We are not as fast as before, so we plan for one point at a time.”

If this season is any indication, Ahsan and Setiawan will arrive at Basel with their skills honed and minds focused. If they emerge as champions at the end of the week, history will be made. Setiawan will join Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng as the most successful men’s doubles player, while Ahsan will become the second-most successful Indonesian men’s doubles player, surpassing Ricky Subagja, who also has two titles.

FAQs

Q: How many championships have Ahsan and Setiawan won?
A: Ahsan has won two championships, while Setiawan has won three.

Q: Who are their toughest competitors?
A: Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo are considered their toughest competitors.

Q: What makes Ahsan and Setiawan stand out on the court?
A: Ahsan and Setiawan are known for their exceptional skills at the front court, their seemingly effortless gameplay, and their calm demeanor.

Conclusion

Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan continue to defy expectations, making an impressive comeback as a formidable pair in Indonesian badminton. Their recent victories and outstanding performances position them as strong contenders at the TOTAL BWF World Championships. With their unique craft and unwavering determination, Ahsan and Setiawan aim to etch their names in history once again. For more updates on badminton and the world of sports, visit Carnegiecentre.