Ex-national doubles chief coach Rexy Mainaky has improved the performance of the Indonesian junior shuttlers since his return to his home country last year. - Filepic
ALOR SETAR: The return of Rexy Mainaky over a year a ago has done Indonesia a world of good, especially for their junior shuttlers.
The Indonesian, who won the Olympic men’s doubles gold medal with Ricky Subagja in Atlanta in 1996, was once attached to the Malaysian national team as doubles coach for seven years before sensationally quitting just months before the London Olympics in 2012.
He then had a brief stint with The Philippines before moving back to Indonesia early last year.
“Since he came on board, he’s managed to improve on how we do things here. There’s a lot more structure now. He’s really gotten us on track, enforced a lot more discipline among the players,” said coach Bambang Suprianto, an All-England men’s doubles champ with Rudy Gunawan in 1994.
“He’s big on improving the physical aspect. Previously we’ve had only one fitness coach, now we have three or four to help with building strength, endurance and conditioning,” he added.
Suprianto also revealed that even the preparation and selection criteria has improved under Mainaky as they have been able to pool together the best juniors to make up the 20-member squad for the on-going World Junior Championships.
“Last time, we’d probably prepare for a tournament a month prior, but this time around we’ve been at it since December last year. So it’s really been great to have him back,” said Suprianto.
Indonesia have yet to win the mixed team event, but seriously fancy their chances of winning the boys’ singles title through Jonatan Christie when the individual competition starts on Saturday.
“I think we’ve got a better chance in the individual competition compared to the mixed team. We’re expecting a gold from Jonatan in the boys’ singles. We’ve also got Rosyita (Eka Putri Sari) in the girls’ and mixed doubles,” said Suprianto.
“She’s had a lot of experience playing in GP Gold events, so hopefully, she’ll be able to bring some pedigree to her partnerships (with Aprianti Rahayu and Reinard Dhanriano).”
“As for the girls’ singles, it’ll be tough because we’ve got China, Japan and Thailand ahead of us in the pecking order. They’ll be hard to beat. And I think there’s a very good chance we’ll meet one of their players in the opening rounds and so it’s more of letting the players get more exposure playing higher-ranked players.”