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Indonesia eyes more Olympic badminton glory

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JAKARTA: Indonesia’s parliament is considering a cash injection for the national badminton team to boost its chances of winning medals at this year’s Olympic Games in London, reports said on Thursday.

Indonesia has a dismal Games medal tally since it began competing in 1952 but has won at least one gold in badminton each Olympics since the sport was introduced in 1992. “Badminton should get special attention during the preparations, compared to other sports,” Zulfadli, a Golkar Party legislator, was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe.

“If necessary, we can disburse lots of money because what is important to us is to regain Indonesia’s glory in badminton.” The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) welcomed the support and proposed a 10 billion rupiah ($1.1 million) budget for the national team to prepare for the Games.

Youth and Sports Ministry secretary Djoko Pekik said Monday, however, said that only 200 billion rupiah ($23 million) was available this year for sports development, which includes the Olympics and the Asian Beach Games.

Indonesia is a former badminton powerhouse but has seen its fortunes on the international stage wane as Chinese shuttlers dominate the sport. But badminton still draws passionate home crowds, with 2004 Olympic singles champion Tuafik Hidayat and Beijing doubles gold winners Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan enjoying celebrity status.