Hidayat off to a flier at Olympics

Taufik Hidayat, the former Olympic champion aiming for a gold medal-winning climax to a great career, began the last lap of his long and colourful journey with a fast win over an unusual opponent.

The 30-year-old Indonesian who expects to retire later this year prevailed 21-8, 21-8 against Petr Koukal, a determined Czech who is accustomed to facing difficult obstacles.

Koukal, who appears to have recovered from testicular cancer diagnosed two years ago, was on court Saturday despite staying up until around 2:00 am carrying the Olympic flag for the Czech Republic.

This may have taken the edge from his performance, and Hidayat generously said so. "I'm not sure what happened to Petr today," he said. "I've seen him before and he was good. But today he was below par."

Hidayat was not however. He was quick in the mid-court exchanges, deft at the net, and resilient in defence. He was also more pro-active in attack than he sometimes is, though perhaps he was allowed to be.

Asked if he could still beat anyone if he played his game at his best, he said: "When I was young - yes. But now I am old."

Earlier Hidayat had said: "I know everyone is talking about Lin Dan (the defending Olympic champion from China) and Lee Chong-Wei (the top seed from Malaysia) but I will try my best."

Although Koukal too was disappointed with his performance, he acknowledged he had done well even to be here. "A year and a half ago I wasn't sure I would be alive," he said. "So this is all extra.

"I think it would have been better for my badminton if I had not gone to the opening ceremony, but this was a life experience, and one I will always remember."

Hidayat will qualify for a last 16 place if he now beats Pablo Abian, the capable world number 34 from Spain.

Earlier Li Xuerui, the 21-year-old All-England champion who unexpectedly squeezed into the draw at the last moment instead of her Chinese compatriot Wang Shixian, the former world number one, began with a 21-5, 21-6 win over Claudia Rivero Modenesi, the world number 95 from Peru.

Meanwhile the gossip intensified as to whether the top seed Lee Chong Wei, would be fit enough to make a full-blown challenge for the title after admitting that he was not fully recovered from his ankle injury.

"I'm training better, and it's about 90 percent recovered," said the Malaysian, who is due to start on Monday against Ville Lang, the eight-times Finnish champion.

"Ville Lang is not a very tough opponent," he said. "In the second round I'll play Simon Santoso, whom I've not played since the Super Series finals (eight months ago).

Lin Dan, the titleholder and many people's unofficial favourite for the title, also starts on Monday, against Scott Evans, the world number 76 from Ireland.

The other man in the big four, Peter Gade, the former world number one from Denmark, begins on Monday against Pedro Martins, the world number 57 from Portugal.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia and Philippines end losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Monday with stocks in Indonesia and Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. The Indonesian stock index closed up ... …

  • 2 coast guard men, village chief, abducted in Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Police say gunmen clad in military uniform have abducted two Philippine coast guard personnel and a village chief on a southern island then sped away in two motorboats. …

  • Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military
    Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military

    A Filipino on the United States' list of most wanted "terrorists" has been killed in a firefight in the southern Philippines, Muslim rebel leaders and the military said Monday. Abdul Basit Usman was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's biggest rebel group, its vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said. Security forces had been hunting Usman since he escaped from a January police raid that killed Malaysian …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia ends 7-day losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares mostly traded mixed on Monday, with Indonesia and the Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. Indonesian stock index rose 1.3 percent after ... …

  • Philippines says Islamist militant was killed by followers

    The Philippines' most wanted Islamist militant, whose death at the weekend could boost peace efforts in the country's south, was killed by his own bodyguards in pursuit of a bounty offered by the United States, the head of the military said on Monday. Abdul Basit Usman, a militant with strong al Qaeda links who was blamed for numerous bomb attacks in the southern Philippines, had been hunted by security forces since 2002. "There was in-fighting among his group," General Gregorio Pio Catapang …

  • EM ASIA FX-Firm dollar, weak China factory survey hurt Asia FX

    * Won falls on weak exports, PMI; mkt wary of intervention * Rupiah down on bonds, NDFs; Indonesia's Q1 GDP eyed * Philippine peso lowest in more than a month (Adds text, updates prices) By Jongwoo Cheon ... …

  • Philippine military chief confirms wanted militant killed

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military chief confirmed Monday that wanted Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman, who has links to the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and is a suspect in deadly bomb attacks in the south, has been killed. …

  • PSC sports venues deteriorating – COA
    PSC sports venues deteriorating – COA

    The Commission on Audit (COA) has noted the sorry state of the country’s sports venues despite supposedly receiving sufficient funds from the government. It reported that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) got an additional budget of P626.563 million in 2013 alone but failed to maintain and upgrade the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Malate, Manila and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City. This, according to the COA report, is already a disadvantage to the country’s athletes. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options