Sigit Budiarto, mercurial doubles star who was one of the key figures in Indonesia’s dominance of the 1990s and early 2000s, is currently a coach with Djarum club in Jakarta. A phenomenon at the net, Budiarto – in combination with Candra Wijaya – had several accomplishments to his credit, the most stellar of these being the World Championships gold in 1997 and three Thomas Cup titles.
As a coach, Budiarto now hopes that one of his trainees will eventually accomplish what he could not: a medal at the Olympics.
Short takes from an interview with Badminton Unlimited:
Taking up the Game
I was introduced to the sport by my parents. My father and mother loved to play badminton. There are four of us siblings. The eldest is my sister, my brother is next, then me and I have a younger sister. All of us played badminton. We enjoyed our time with our father and I was taken to the court to train. My father was also coaching in a small club in Jogjakarta but he does not want to coach anymore now. My siblings also went through badminton training and I was also roped in. That’s when I began loving it.
I believe all young players dream of making it into the national team. I was first selected into the national team in January 1995. I was obviously proud because I never imagined I’d go anywhere or get into the national team. I just wanted to play badminton and I started to get results. I figured that in the national team I needed to establish myself and win titles. I only realised this when I was there. Before that I was going with the flow. Before I was selected into the national team, I was with Ade Lukas. When I was finally selected, my partner was Dicky (Purwotjugiono) at first. It was only after that I was paired with Candra (Wijaya). I thank god that we achieved so many things. We won our first tournament together at the US Open. During that time, the Olympics silver and bronze medallists were playing because it was just after the Olympics. When we played against Ricky (Subagja) and Rexy (Mainaky) in China, they had just won the gold medal. They were our opponents in the final and thank god, we won.
Everyone wants to be a world champion. I could never have imagined it at that time because Candra and I were very young. We were just 21 years old.
It does not feel complete if you do not win the All England. I am grateful to have gone there and won it once. I feel so much pride to have won the All England championships. It is the one tournament that all badminton players in the world dream of winning – the All England title. I am one of those lucky few in this world to be a winner at the All England.
Of course, there was one target that I did not manage to accomplish and that was to win a medal at the Olympics but the way I think about it is, hopefully there will be players, who I have guided and coached, who will go on and win the Olympic title.
The most important attribute is self-discipline. You need to prepare yourself in the best way possible. You need to be clear. You need to train to be your best whenever required. You need to set limits for how long you want to spend your leisure time. It does not matter with whom you want to mix but most importantly, you know the limits.
Grooming the Next Generation
My relationship with them is very good. Sometimes I treat them as my own children but there are times you need to treat them like friends and play with them. Sometimes we need to try and accommodate their needs.
Badminton today demands a lot of speed and power. That’s my training emphasis for them.