Friday, November 11, 2011

Badminton coaches turn up their noses at unbearable stench in hotel

JAKARTA: The national badminton coaches received a stinking welcome when they checked into their hotel yesterday.

Walking into their rooms at the four-star hotel, they were assailed by a shocking stench emanating from their units.

Fortunately, swift action by team manager Abdul Rahman Mohd enabled the coaches to be upgraded to cleaner rooms sans the pong.

For coaches Rexy Mainaky and Hendrawan the “smelly” incident rekindled memories of the time when they used to stay at the same hotel as youngsters during centralised training with the Indonesian national team for the Games.

Rexy said that the first four floors of the 12-storey building, near the BungKarno Sports Complex in Senayan, had been used to accommodate Indonesia’s athletes since the 1980s.

“I couldn’t breathe when I stepped into my room. How to sleep here? The stench from the toilet was unbearable. I felt like cutting off my nose,” he quipped.

The others who suffered the same predicament yesterday were national doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her and women’s coach Woon Sze Mei.

“Fortunately, our players are staying at the higher levels where the rooms are well maintained,” said Rexy, who won numerous doubles titles, including the world crown, with Ricky Subagja.

“I used to stay here at the lower level as the Indonesian contingent for the Games was based here.
“It reminds me of the pranks I used to pull off as a youngster ... but, most of all, I remember the things we used to do to forge team spirit.”

Indeed, Indonesia have won the men’s team title 13 times and the women’s 14 times since the event was introduced in the 1965 Games.

Rexy was in the team that won the gold medal at home in 1997. while Hendrawan was the men’s singles champion at the 2001 Games.

Both Rexy and Hendrawan have also been members of the Indonesian Thomas Cup winning teams.
Hendrawan said that Indonesia gave good incentives for their athletes to excel in the biennial Games.
“Gold medal winners get 200 billion rupiah (RM66,000). This is a lot of money and the athletes go all out in the SEA Games,” he said.

Their rooms may stink but Indonesia can scent the sweet smell of success in badminton as they are likely to make a clean sweep of all seven gold medals, especially as archrivals Malaysia have sent their second-stringers.

Malaysia’s squad - Men: Liew Daren, MohdArif Abdul Latif, Chong Wei Feng, Goh Soon Huat, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem, Mak Hee Chun-Ong Soon Hock, Mohd Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid.

Women: Tee Jing Yi-Lydia Cheah, Yang Li Lian, Sonia Cheah, Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo, Lim Yin Loo-Marylen Ng Paou Leng, Sabrina Chong and Lai Pei Jing.


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