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Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, badminton player

Jakarta, IO – Indonesian doubles badminton player Marcus Fernaldi Gideon made an unexpected announcement on his social media. On his 33rd birthday, Marcus decided to retire as a badminton athlete. 

“I am content with my achievements, even though I did not win Olympic or world championship medals. I used to dream of being number one in the world and achieving it in five years,” Marcus told reporters at his badminton academy in Bogor on Sunday (Mar 10). 

“I made this decision quite some time ago, but I announced it on my birthday so I wouldn’t forget. Many people regret my decision, and some compare it with the Daddies. However, I believe this is the best decision. I’m quite satisfied with what I’ve experienced in badminton. Don’t compare me with the Daddies because everyone has their own way,” said Marcus. 

The Daddies is the nickname of the senior badminton athletes Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan, who are older than Marcus. Hendra is currently 39 years old, while Ahsan is 37 years old. Until now, the Daddies still compete with much younger world men’s doubles pairs. 

One of the reasons for Marcus’ retirement was that he was not ready to pair with a new partner, as he would have to start from the bottom again and participate in small, often far away, tournaments. “Starting from the bottom is too challenging,” said Marcus. 

Marcus’ next reason is his recent absence from tournaments despite being on the national training team. “It’s better to open my spot for younger players,” he said. 

Marcus admitted that resigning was in his mind for quite a long time. “I announced it on my birthday so I wouldn’t forget,” he said smilingly. 

When undergoing surgery in Portugal in July last year, Marcus was already thinking about retiring. “Before the surgery, I discussed with Fadil Imran (Secretary General of the Badminton Association of Indonesia or PBSI) whether I should have surgery. Mr. Fadil suggested surgery and continuing my career, and I followed his advice.” 

In December, Marcus was paired with a young player, Muhammad Rayhan Nur Fadillah. They played in the India Open, but the results were not up to expectations. “After the unsatisfactory results in India, I was perplexed whether I wanted to continue playing as I already got older. I believe there would be too much to sacrifice,” he said. 

“I didn’t have partners. I also had no option to swap partners when I asked the coach. When I asked him, he didn’t have the answer. That made me feel bad. My spot should be used by other athletes. In the national selection, only one player passed. It will be better if my spot is awarded to young players,” explained Marcus. 

Marcus has suffered injuries to both legs and has had two surgeries. The first operation was for his left heel in 2022, and the second was for his right heel in mid-2023. 

“Why not just do both? There was an option to (get surgeries on) both, but the doctor said I could not play for a year if both feet were operated on. There’s no support. He told me to have the procedure done on the worst heel. Who knows, the right foot may not need to be operated. That’s what he said,” Marcus recalled. 

“Eventually, my right foot was also in pain, and I went back to the same doctor,” said Marcus. 

Marcus said he had spoken to his partner, Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, before the second operation. “I told Kevin not to wait for me because I don’t know if I could play after the surgery,” he said. 

Marcus also conveyed his intention to retire to his father, Kurniahu, who had been his first coach, from the time he was eight. Kurniahu, a former Indonesian national badminton player, actually asked Marcus to continue playing. 

“He can survive and compete at world level, for the next three or four years. Nonetheless, starting from the bottom with a new partner is tough,” said Kurniahu. 

Marcus’ father once proposed two names to PBSI management, to partner with Marcus if Kevin, Marcus’s previous partner, has to partner with different players. “However, PBSI has not made a decision. I can’t force it; after all, I’m just an outsider,” he said. 

Marcus has won many titles, especially when paired with Kevin. The Minions, as many call them because of their below-than-average height and fast and agile playing style, dominated world badminton from 2016 to 2019. For five years, Marcus and Kevin became the number one in the world. 

Marcus has clinched 30 BWF titles, an Asian Games gold medal and the Thomas Cup. His most memorable victory was winning the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games at Istora Senayan, Jakarta. 

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“When playing in Jakarta at that time, thousands of supporters crammed Istora Senayan. It wasn’t easy to get tickets for the family. The opponents in the final, Fajar and Rian, were performing their best. We were far behind, but we finally won with the 24th gold for Indonesia,” Marcus recalled. 

Marcus, often dubbed “Sinyo”, will now focus on developing his club, IndiHome Gideon Badminton Academy. With his father, Marcus is determined to train badminton players who can make Indonesia proud on the international level. Thank you for all your achievements that have brought pride to Indonesia. Happy retirement, Sinyo! (rp)

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