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Tommy Sugiarto

Sabtu, 24 Juni 2006 11:11:39
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World champions are a rarity in badminton in badminton and it's even more difficult to see their children following their footsteps. However, Tommy Sugiarto wants to be one of those rare breeds who not only wants to emulate his father but go one better.

The name should ring a bell as Tommy is none other than the son of 1983 world champion Icuk Sugiarto, one of the most charismatic and single-minded shuttlers of his era. Sugiarto Sr. was known for his no-nonsence approach in the game, one of the fittest and a muscle-bound athlete who never knew the word of giving up. Icuk made a name for himself as a 23-year-old when shocked the badminton world when he downed compatriot and hot favourite Liem Swie King in the final in Malmo, Sweden. Tommy has yet to win big but the similarities are there for everyone to see.

Icuk's defensive style, rare but powerful smashes and confidence were evident when he played top Danish shuttler Peter Gade Christensen in the opening round of the Malaysia Open in Kuching, Sarawak today. One towering figure, sitting at Peter Gade's corner, couldn't help smiling at Icuk Junior's physical attributes and the unmistakable way in covering the court. No one knows better about Icuk's ability than four-time All-England champion Morten Frost Hansen and he was impressed with what he saw in the 18-year-old Tommy. My battles with Icuk was memorable. It was hard to beat him in Jakarta but did have my victories in cooler climates. And to see his son playing at this level is exciting, said Frost. He has Icuk's style of play. Not solid yet and the physically not as strong as his father but he is talented. The question of whether he can emulate his father will always be there but we have to wait and see.

Another former world champion, Hendrawan, was in Kuching with the Indonesian national team and said that Tommy still has a long way to go. Hendrawan regarded defence as Tommy's strength but wants him to add more attack into his game and add speed to suit the current 21-point rally format. It's ver y hard to see the son excelling like the father but Tommy has the ability in him. But he has to work harder and to become a complete player, said Hendrawan. He has Icuk's trademark defence and with adding attack, he wil be a player to watch. His attitude is right and he can grow.

Tommy felt that there is no pressure on him although his father is a popular figure fugure in Indonesia. In fact, Icuk is currently the deputy minister for youth and sports in Indonesia. Tommy said that he is gifted to be Icuk's son and even his mother Nina Yaroh was also a national player during the 80s. Some may feel pressured to have a world champion as their father but it is a great previlage for me. I'm proud of him and I want to become like him, said Tommy. I would like to use the situation positively and work hard to achieve my goals. I want to be a world champion like my father and maybe I could do better. Badminton is not in the Olympics during his time but I can go for gold.

As for now, Tommy wants to make a humble beginning and has set his sights on the Asian Junior title. The Asian Junior Championships will be held in Kuala Lumpur next month and the badminton fraternity could hear more about Tommy and witness his inherited talent.

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