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    Default NEWS : Hidayat gets Indonesia its lone badminton gold

    Hidayat gets Indonesia its lone badminton gold
    BY SANDEEP NAKAI
    Associated Press
    Oct. 13, 2002 11:18 p.m.

    BUSAN, South Korea (AP) Indonesia's former world No. 1 Taufik Hidayat defeated South Korean Lee Hyun-Il in straight games Monday to clinch the Asian Games badminton men's singles gold medal.
    Hidayat, 14th in world rankings, won 15-7, 15-9 in the 45-minute duel to claim Indonesia's lone badminton gold.

    "I'm very proud to win the gold for Indonesia, even though our target was more one gold medal," Hidayat said. "It was a personal challenge too, since I had never lost to a South Korean player before the Asian Games."

    Since the 1950s, Indonesia has consistently ranked as one of the best badminton nations in the world. It was facing a gold drought in badminton before Taufik won Monday.

    The sport gave the country of 210 million people its first Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, 1996. It has continued to be the only regular source of honors at the Games.

    "I could feel an intense pressure within myself to win this gold for Indonesia," Hidayat said. "It was no ordinary final."

    South Korea beat Indonesia 3-1 in the team final last week, but the match was marred by controversy when Hidayat walked off the court during his opening singles game against Shon Seung-mo alleging biased line calls.

    Indonesia threatened to concede the final, but it was persuaded by the Asian Badminton Confederation officials to resume the team-event's gold-medal match after a two-hour interruption.

    Hidayat lost the match, but beat Shon in straight games in Sunday's singles semifinal.

    Three international referees took strategic positions behind the linesmen during the singles final Monday to ensure against any recurrence of officiating complaints. But there still was a complaint by Hidayat.

    Seeking to wrap up the match in straight games, Hidayat was leading 9-8 in the second game when he thought Lee's smash had landed wide of the side gallery, but the linesman ruled it in.

    He disputed the linesman's call and an argument continued for five minute before play resumed.

    "I've now got used to some unfair decisions, and that helped me contain myself," Hidayat said. "This was too big a game for me to lose my composure."

    Lee, ranked one spot above Hidayat, seemed nervous as Hidayat seized control of the match by winning 11 straight points in the first game. Lee was leading 5-3 before Hidayat began mixing his smashes and drops with considerable effect.

    Lee, who lost to Hidayat in last year's world championships, said that his game fell apart in the final.

    "Taufik was simply brilliant, while I couldn't get going," Lee said.

    (sn-djp)

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    Wed Oct 9, 6:14 AM ET

    Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat walks off the court escorted by teammate Sigit Budiarto in protest of line calls during his match against South Korea's Shon Seung Mo, during the men's team badminton final at the 14th Asian Games in Pusan October 9, 2002. Taufik lost the first set 13-15 and was trailing the second 9-12 against South Korea's Shon Seung Mo when he protested the lines called and walk off the court.

    Zainal Abd Halim
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