Susilo will stick to singles for now
The Straits Times Interactive

By G. Sivakkumaran

HE MAY be a fine badminton player but, for now, Singapore's top shuttler Ronald Susilo will concentrate on singles and put his aspirations in the doubles on hold.

The experimental pair, Lee (left) and Susilo, in action at the Cheers Asian Satellite Championship yesterday.

Yesterday, the Olympic Games quarter-finalist paired up with Kendrick Lee in the Cheers Asian Satellite Badminton Championship for a stab at the doubles event.

But they went down 14-17, 1-15 to the experienced Indian pair of V. Diju and Jaseel Ismail in 42 minutes in the second round at the Singapore Badminton Hall.

Susilo, who was knocked out of the Olympics by Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana, said afterwards: 'That's it for the doubles, man. Maybe, when my singles career is over, I'll give it another try.'

He added that he was supposed to rest after the Olympics, but he decided to have a bit of fun and give the doubles event a shot.

'The truth is that Kendrick and I are not doubles players,' he said. 'Our intention was to just give it a shot and gain some experience.'

This was not the only time Susilo had tried his hand in doubles play.

In February, he teamed up with Denny Setyawan in the Thomas Cup qualifiers and beat Japanese pair Shuichi Nakao and Shuichi Sakamoto 6-15, 15-13, 17-14 - though Singapore eventually went down 2-3 to Japan.

At the South-east Asia Games in Vietnam last December, he played doubles for the men's team who won a bronze medal. He also won a bronze in the singles after losing to Malaysia's Wong Choong Haan in the semi-finals.

At the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002, his partnership with Patrick Lau helped Singapore win a surprise silver in the mixed team event.

But his exertions cost him in the singles, when he was knocked out in the round of 16 by Wales' Robert Vaughan.

Yesterday, even though the Singapore pair stretched the unseeded Diji and Ismail in the first game before losing 14-17, they were outclassed in the second and lost 1-15.

'They are a more experienced pair and they play regularly in the tour,' said Susilo.

After a week of rest, he will leave next Sunday for the US Open and Denmark Open.

'Don't worry, in those tournaments I will only take part in the singles,' he said with a laugh. 'From now, I'll just stick to what I do best.'

Earlier in the day, Singapore's top woman player Li Li advanced to the second round of the women's singles after beating Vietnam's Thai Thi Hong Gam 11-2, 11-5.