Tommy now joins his dad as a Thomas Cupper

INDONESIAN youngster Tommy Sugiarto has taken a big step towards emulating his father Icuk’s feat by winning selection to represent Indonesia for the first time in the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta from May 11-18.

Tommy, who will celebrate his 20th birthday next month, was happy with the biggest breakthrough in his career and has vowed to justify his selection as the country’s fourth men’s singles player.

End of the road: Tommy Sugiarto returns the shuttle toHong Kong’s Ng Wei in the third round yesterday.Tommy lost 21-16, 20-22, 16-21.

The top three are Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat, World Championships runner-up Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Simon Santoso.

“I am happy that I proved myself worthy to be considered for the Finals by winning a selection trial last week.

“Finally, I will get a chance to represent my country in one of the major tournaments. What a big relief it is for me,” said Tommy.

Tommy defeated New Zealand Open champion Andre Kurniawan Tedjono, Andreas Adityawarman and Alamsyah Yunus in the three-day selection trials just before arriving for the on-going Asian Badminton Championships (ABC) in Johor Baru.

“In the last two editions, Indonesia also had a debutant as their third singles player (Wiempie Mahardi at 2004 in Jakarta and Markus Wijanu at 2006 in Japan) but both did not play in the crucial matches. It does not matter whether I am fielded ... I will be ready,” said Tommy.

“I want to be just like my father one day. I want to win the Thomas Cup and become an Olympic and world champion. That is my dream,” added the runner-up in the 2006 World Junior Championships.

Indonesia singles coach Hendrawan said Tommy would not be a mere passenger in the team as they prepare to wrestle the Cup they last won in 2002 at Guangzhou.

“Tommy has earned the right to play in the Finals. In the past, we used to depend only on the top three players but now we have another option. It will help us with our team strategy,” said Hendrawan. “I have told Tommy to be prepared as I may give him a big role to play in the team event. Give him another two to three years, he will make it big.”

Tommy, however, failed to make it into the third round of the ABC yesterday after losing 21-16, 20-22, 16-21 to Hong Kong’s Ng Wei.

The other Indonesians – Sony and Simon – reached the third round.

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