Badminton: Indonesia’s Justian Suhandinata Bids for the Sport’s Top Office

Ami Afriatni 

With badminton’s status as an Olympic sport on the line, Indonesian sports activist Justian Suhandinata is promising to keep the sport in the Games if he wins the election for president of the Badminton World Federation. 

Kuala Lumpur will host the election for BWF president in May, and Justian said that he has already secured strong support from major badminton countries, including China, India and Japan. 

He said the sport has been facing a stiff challenge to retain its status as a part of the Olympic games, but he has prepared plans to promote badminton across the world. 

“We need to increase prize money and organize more tournaments. We also need to have large-scale promotion where the sport is still unpopular, especially in Africa and North America,” he said on Thursday. 

As a part of large-scale promotion, Justian said he plans to send thousands of shuttlers from the sport’s powerhouse side to promote badminton in other countries. 

With such plan, Justian, who also bid to head the federation in 2001, is confident badminton will gain more followers and stay in the Olympic games. 

Justian is the owner of Tangkas Badminton Club, which has produced top shuttlers for Indonesia, including Icuk Sugiarto, Ricky Subagja, Rexy Mainaky and Simon Santoso. 

His father, Suharso Suhandinata, helped badminton become featured in the Olympics. The Suhandinata name is immortalized as the team event of the Asian Junior Badminton Championships was named the Suhandinata Cup as recognition of great contribution and commitment from the family. Suharso also played an important role in the unification of the International Badminton Federation and the BWF in the 1980s. 

The Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) will support Justian for president, spokesman Ricky Subagja said. 

“He has great commitment to the sport and I’m sure he won’t lose interest for the sport. We support his candidacy as we want badminton to remain in the Olympics,” Ricky said. 

In the election, Justian is expecting a tough challenge from chairman of the Badminton Association of Malaysia Mohd. Nadzmi Mohd. Salleh. There will be 260 voters from 169 members of the association.

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