Sunday, November 14, 2010

Indonesian Shuttlers and Lifter Fall Short at Asian Games

With Eko Yuli Irawan settling for bronze, Indonesia might have seen its best chance at a weightlifting gold slip away. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
With Eko Yuli Irawan settling for bronze, Indonesia might have seen its best chance at a weightlifting gold slip away. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Indonesia felt China’s full might on Sunday, as the country collected four bronze medals on the second day of competition at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, on Sunday.

The Indonesians were swept out of the semifinals in the men’s team event in badminton, with Lin Dan’s victory over Taufik Hidayat setting the tone for China’s 3-0 rout.

Eko Yuli Irawan, Indonesia’s top prospect for gold in weightlifting, was good only for third place in the men’s 62-kilogram class behind an emphatic triumph by China’s Zhang Jie.
Indonesia’s third bronze of the day came from the women’s team in badminton, after Indonesia lost 3-1 to Thailand in the semifinals.

Irsal Nasution accounted for a fourth bronze late on Sunday, as he lost to Malaysia’s Ibrahim Amir 7-5 in the semifinals in men’s 8-ball singles.

Taufik had beaten Lin to win the men’s singles gold medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar.

But Lin wouldn’t be denied victory in front of the home fans, as the reigning Olympic champion came away with a 21-13, 23-21 victory in Sunday’s first singles match in Tianhe Gymnasium.

Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng made it 2-0 for the hosts after beating Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan 23-21, 14-21, 21-10, before Chen Jin completed the whitewash with a 21-11, 21-15 rout of Simon Santoso.

China will face South Korea for the men’s team gold.

Indonesia’s women’s team put up a stiffer challenge against Thailand but still joined the men’s side out the door.

Adriyanti Firdasari, Maria Febe Kusumastuti and the pair of Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Pia Zebadiah Bernadet lost their respective matches.

Greysia Polii and Meiliana Jauhari were the only winners against Thailand, which takes on China in the gold-medal game.

In badminton, teams that lose in the semifinals are automatically awarded bronze.

“We really need to work harder to make sure we have better results next time,” national badminton team manager Yacob Rusdianto said. “I apologize for the loss, but we have to deal with this and move forward.”

Earlier on Sunday, Eko, who was considered Indonesia’s best bet for a gold in weightlifting in Guangzhou, settled for bronze after Zhang blew away the field at Dongguan Gymnasium with a total lift of 321 kg.

Eko, a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was a distant third with a total lift of 311 kg. North Korea’s Kim Un-guk, who lifted 317 kg, took the silver.

The three had met in August during the world championships, where Kim, Zhang and Eko finished 1-2-3 respectively among the Asian participants.

Zhang had lifted 3 kg more than Eko, a difference that didn’t look too hard to overcome at the time. But Zhang has since recovered from an injury and cruised to the gold in Guangzhou.

Eko, whose third-place finish could mean the end of Indonesia’s quest for weightlifting gold in China, is now simply looking forward to the next major tournament.

“I’m not really satisfied with the results, but at the same time I’ve never beaten either one of them so maybe I still need to work hard,” he said. “I hope I can do better in the Olympics.”

Zhang was 2 kg behind Kim after the snatch, but left the North Korean behind by 6 kg in the clean and jerk.

The 23-year-old Zhang was not entirely happy with his gold medal effort, as he failed in his first attempt at a world record of 182 kg in clean and jerk.

Zhang said the world record was on his radar and he might make an attempt in the first half of 2011 before tuning up for Olympics in 2012.

“I might attempt 327 or 328 maybe next year if I stay fit,” Zhang said in an Associated Press interview.

After the weekend action, Indonesia hiked its medal total to six — one silver and five bronze.

On Saturday, weightlifter Jadi Setiadi took the bronze in the men’s 56-kg class, while Ivana Irmanto picked up a silver in the women’s nanquan-nandao all-around category in wushu.

Ivana’s silver came as a surprise for sports officials. China’s Lin Fan took the gold, while Malaysia’s Tai Cheau Xuen earned bronze.

“We’re more than satisfied,” said the national wushu team manager, Ngatino. “Her victory is a good start for our squad.”

Jadi’s total lift of 271 kg was good enough for third place behind gold medalist Wu Jingbiao of China (285 kg) and silver medalist Cha Kum-chol of North Korea (276 kg).

In tennis, Indonesia’s women’s team suffered an early exit after it lost 3-0 to Thailand in Sunday’s quarterfinals.

Ayu Fani Damayanti, Indonesia’s top-ranked player, lost 6-3, 6-1 to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn.

Lavinia Tananta, the reigning Southeast Asian Games champion, fell 6-2, 7-5 to Tamarind Tanasugarn.

The pair of Yayuk Basuki and Jessy Rompies failed to complete a spirited rally as it was defeated 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 by Nudnida Luangnam and Varatchaya Wongteanchai.

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