Hendrawan: Strong foundational character to become top player

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Hendrawan is disciplined in maintaining his physical condition.(Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics looms, Hendrawan, Indonesian badminton coach from Indonesia, recalls the moment of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when he won a silver medal for Indonesia.

At the time, Hendrawan was defeated by Chinese player Ji Xinpeng, 4-15, 13-15. “Even though I won a silver medal, I felt like I had failed,” Hendrawan said in a release from PBSI. Indonesia’s badminton tradition is winning the gold medal, so I felt like a failure when I only got silver or bronze medals,” he admitted.

Luckily, a friend from another sport consoled him. “He said, being an Olympian is not so easy, let alone being able to get a silver medal,” he said. 

Hendrawan’s spirit returned. His road to the 2000 Sydney Olympics was not easy: in the struggle to upgrade in order to qualify for the Olympics, Hendrawan was stricken with typhus. 

“I lost two tournaments. So the rest of the tournament that I could participate in was only All England, Swiss Open and Japan Open. I was determined to at least enter the semi-finals in each tournament if I wanted to qualify for the Olympics. Thankfully, the results were even better than I expected,” he said.

After recovering from typhus, Hendrawan’s physical condition declined. To tone up, Paulus Pasurney, his physical trainer, set up a training program with Jakarta’s running athletes at that time.

“I practiced running on the Senayan hills where the terrain was up and down. At that time the runners were shocked: how come I could follow their pace? Even though he said it was a preparatory program for a running athletes match. That was the very definition of sacrifice. I realized that when it came to being strong, maybe I wasn’t as strong as other players, so I trained to overcome all my shortcomings, and I tried to put in more effort,” answered Hendrawan.

Not only competing with international badminton players, Hendrawan also had to beat fellow countrymen. At the time, Taufik Hidayat and Marleve Mainaky had already confirmed their tickets for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. “I am competing with Hariyanto Arbi and Budi Santoso for the Sydney Olympic tickets,” he recalled.

Competing in the Olympics was felt by Hendrawan as an extraordinary experience. He was aware that the 2000 Sydney Olympics would be his first and last Olympics. Hendrawan entered national training at the age of 21 years, fairly late. On average, athletes entered the national training in their teens.

“I realized that my time was limited, so I had to be able to manage my peak performance in important championships, including the Olympics. Why was the pressure in the Olympics so great? Because if we don’t succeed, we must wait four more years. The biggest enemy in the Olympics is our situation and will. “You have to be enthusiastic, but you can’t be overly passionate,” Hendrawan said. 

Hendrawan’s discipline when he became an athlete still carries on to this day. In order to maintain his physical condition, he implements a strict diet and rest hours. He always sleeps at 21:00 every night, even now when he has become a coach, this habit is still the same. 

“I used to have to sleep early, because there was an additional exercise in the morning. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning and followed on doing additional exercise at 5 in the morning. I spent the afternoon till evening training and sometimes I would train again at night. In one day, there could be up to three training sessions,” said the 2001 World Champion. 

Hendrawan said that to be a top player, there must be a certain limit that the player passes. Currently Hendrawan is the Singles Head Coach of the Malaysian national team. With decades of training experience, Hendrawan advised the players to be more independent and to sacrifice more to ensure their success. 

“All that comes from ourselves. The coach can take us to one point, but the rest must be the players themselves who must try to find their own way. On the journey to success, the coach will guide, advise, tell them about past experiences, but in the end, it all depends on the athlete, it’s the athlete themselves who decide what they’ll achieve,” he explained. 

“There are frightening coaches, but remember, there are no coaches who can guarantee athletes will become champions. I don’t want to be a feared coach: they’ll only be obedient when in front of us, but talk behind our back when we’re away,” said Hendrawan, who was once the national women’s singles coach. 

As a coach, Hendrawan not only provides guidance on badminton, but also instills life values in his athletes, including when training Lee Chong Wei, Malaysia’s best male singles player. 

“Strong character is an important thing; many athletes now cannot be top players because they do not have a strong character.” (rp)