Indonesia target a title at the Badminton World Championships

Can Jonatan Christie, Anthony Ginting, or the pairing of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo clinch their maiden world title in Basel?

By Sanjeev Palar ·

The sport of badminton has the ability to bring Indonesia to a standstill.

It did just that in 1992, when Susi Susanti won the maiden Olympic gold medal for the nation in Barcelona.

Indonesian fans continued to hold their breath hours later, until Alan Budi Kusuma clinched the gold in the men's singles.

The Indonesian shuttlers returned from the Games with two gold and two silver medals. They were engaged at the time, and later married. A true golden couple of the sport.

Susanti still plays a big role in the badminton for her nation.

She's part of the Indonesian delegation in Basel for the 25th edition of the BWF World Championships (being streamed live on Olympic Channel. Territorial restrictions apply).

Expectations are high.

"We've targeted at least one title, from any event. But our biggest chances are probably in the men's doubles" - Susi Susanti to


19 - 25 Aug 2019

BWF World Championships - Basel


At last year's worlds in Nanjing, Indonesia failed to make any of the finals. In Basel, they are not only hoping to rectify that but to also clinch a title.

And they certainly have players capable of delivering.

Men's Doubles Supremacy

As Susanti pointed out, their best chance of a title will come from the men's doubles.

Indonesia's men's doubles pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo are number one in the world and top seeds in Basel.

The duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan are also in the top five going into the worlds.

Between them, the Indonesian pairs have won the two most prestigious events that have been played on the World Tour this season.

Ahsan and Setiawan won the All England Open in March, while Gideon and Sukamuljo defeated their compatriots on home soil to clinch the Indonesia Open in July.

Indonesia are blessed to have a mix of youth and experience capable of vying for the title.

The more experienced of the two pairs, Ahsan and Setiawan, are in their thirties and have been fondly nicknamed the "Daddies" given their family man status.

But they know what it takes to win a world championship, having done so twice, in 2013 and again in 2015.

Setiawan is the also an Olympic gold medallist, when he took doubles gold in Beijing 2008 with the now retired, Markis Kido.

They bring a lot of depth to the Indonesian squad.

Silver medalist Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia (L) and gold medalist Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo celebrate at the Indonesia Open

Nicknamed the "Minions" by their fans because of their slightly shorter status than the average badminton player, Gideon and Sukamulja are hoping for their best World Championships outing to-date.

The world number one duo are in their twenties, and have secured four World Tour titles this season, beating the "Daddies" in three of the finals.

The pair have been playing together since 2015 and while they've racked up numerous titles and medals, they've not enjoyed the same success when it comes to the worlds.

In the last two tournaments, they were only able to go as far as the quarter-finals. This time around, their coach, Herry Iman Pierngadi believes controlling their emotions on court, will be key.

"This is an important championship that they haven't won yet, and they really want to be able to win it. So they much control their emotions so that the target can be achieved" - Coach Herry Imam Pierngadi to

Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo celebrate winning the 2019 Indonesian Open

He also cautioned his wards against being too over-confident given their past success, as "winning the world title is an achievement that they have yet to accomplish" he told

Indonesia also have a third doubles pair of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto who are seeded seventh.

Unfortunately though, all three pairs are in the top half of the draw, which means that only one pair has the potential of reaching the final.

"The draw eliminates the possibility of an all-Indonesian final like at the Indonesia and Japan Open. It's not ideal but it's the same for the Japanese and Chinese players who are all in the bottom half of the draw" - Coach Herry Imam Pierngadi to

A surprise from the men's singles

It's been 14 years since Indonesia last won the men's title, when Taufik Hidayat defeated Lin Dan in the final to claim the honours.

In Switzerland, the focus is on fourth seed Jonatan Christie and sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting to potentially pull a surprise.

Christie has won two World Tour titles this year but his best achievement has to be reaching the final of the Japan Open where he went down to reigning world champion Kento Momota.

Meanwhile,"The Giantkiller" Ginting has yet to win on tour this season. He came close when he reached the final of the Singapore Open, but was denied by Momota who he stretched to three games.

Leading up to the tournament, their coach, Hendry Saputra, has focused on specific areas in training to ensure that they duo can be at their best in Basel.

"We conducted special training sessions to focus on technique as well as and eliminating mistakes from their game." Coach Hendry Saputra to

At the 2018 Asian Games, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (RIGHT) took bronze behind gold medallist and fellow Indonesian Jonatan Christie (LEFT)

They've also got veteran and 2014 third-place finisher, Tommy Sugiarto, seeded 15th who could surprise the field.

However, just like in the men's doubles, all three Indonesians have been drawn in the top half of the draw which again, limits the possibility of getting more than one person into the final.

But the worlds have always motivated players to reach beyond themselves.

And it'll take just one such performance for the Indonesians to return home with that title.


19 - 25 Aug 2019

BWF World Championships - Basel