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Why Badminton Is Indonesia's Favorite Sport And What It Means To Me

by The Nerd Habit 10 months ago in culture
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Bonus: Movie Review Of Susi Susanti: Love All

Written By Hani Masry

When asked to discuss badminton, I get excited because it is my favorite sport. How fascinating, you may say! Isn't that a sport you play in your backyard or at family reunions? Yes, the very same. However, I live in Indonesia, where badminton is the top celebrated sport. America loves their football, and other countries are obsessed with fútbol (soccer), the differences in which I find so silly, but in Indonesia, badminton reigns supreme.

So why did I choose to discuss badminton today? And what does it have to do with The Nerd Habit?

First of all, my fiancé requested I write some content discussing things many people outside of Indonesia might be surprised to learn about my country. Secondly, since the Olympics are currently taking place, badminton was the first thing that came to mind.

Third of all, internet technology brought my fiancé and me together. Internet technology is relevant to this article because it provided a way for us to watch a movie about one of Indonesia's most beloved badminton players.

I will work backward and start with a summary of the third reason for this article. Then, I will explain Indonesia's history and my own in regards to the sport of badminton.

Internet Technology & Badminton Movies

Streaming Only On Hotstar Indonesia...VPN Saves The Day

My fiancé and I met each other 13 months ago through the Tinder app. Unlike routine Tinder meetings, we were not local to each other. Using the global search inside Tinder, I met an American named Christopher, who swept me off my feet from 9,300 miles away.

While being in a long-distance relationship is not ideal for most people, it has been easy with Christopher's know-how in internet technology. Using the Discord chat app, we can communicate and watch movies together just as easily if we were in the same room. Also, using a VPN, we can watch movies only available in Indonesia on his computer, which allowed us to recently watch the film Susi Susanti: Love All, a story about one of the most beloved badminton players in Indonesian history.

If you want to know more on the ins and outs of why a VPN was needed to watch a movie in my home country, stay tuned to The Nerd Habit for a future article about long-distance relationship internet tools and how to avoid roadblocks along the way.

Now, on to the second part of my article. I will explain badminton history in Indonesia, my personal history with the sport, and briefly review the movie mentioned above.

Badminton's Place In Indonesian History

How did badminton make its way to Indonesia in the first place? Indonesia participated in many sports in the old days before its independence. These sports were introduced to us by the various nations that we encountered in our history. Badminton is the one that struck a chord with our country.

Britain introduced the sport to us back in the 1930s. The sport rapidly popularized and led to the Indonesian Badminton Association being established in 1951. With Indonesia gaining its independence in 1945, Badminton was used to introduce Indonesia to the world.

Soon after, Indonesia participated in the 1958 Thomas Cup championship (learn more here), where we showed the world our talent! Tan Joe Hok and Ferry Sonneville defeated the reigning champion British Malaya team that established Indonesia as a powerful player in the BWF (Badminton World Federation.) The same duo defended their title three years later against Thailand, cementing Indonesia's place in Thomas Cup history and the ranks of the world's elite badminton players.

Around this time, these legendary players left a distinct impression on my young dad. My dad’s influence led to my love of the game. More on that later.

Rudy Hartono, considered one of the greatest badminton players of all time, was the All England champion for a record eight times straight! After his retirement, he became a coach for our up-and-coming young players. One of the players he inspired, Susi Susanti, became the most dominant female player in badminton history.

Susi Susanti During Her Emotional Gold Medal Ceremony

Susi has the distinct honor of being the first Indonesian to win a gold medal in the Olympics. Her future husband, Alan Budikusuma, followed suit, winning gold in men's singles a few days later in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Susi's historical career was brought to the big screen in the 2019 movie Susi Susanti: Love All. I got curious while writing this article, so I told my fiancé, a badminton fan himself (I'm pretty sure he can play too), how about we watch the movie together, and he was excited to watch it! So he worked his internet magic (Ah, I do adore this man), and we watched the movie.

Quick Movie Review

I got to see what life was like for Susi, a Chinese Indonesian. The movie showed her humble start, strong will, hard work, and her training for the national team—most of all, the spirit of playing what she loves most, badminton. At the same time, dealing with the pressure of an anti-Chinese regime and still fighting for her country to win.

I thought the movie was quite good, and Christopher agreed. The emotions were beautifully captured. The romance was in the air. We loved it! Some scenes brought back memories of when I was young, and I, yes, got teary-eyed too.

Badminton Keeps On Growing

The Popularity Of Badminton In Indonesia Is Massive

Watching the movie brought back memories from my childhood. As mentioned, my father helped me develop my love for the game. While I was never a serious player like Susi Susanti, I have always loved badminton because of my father's love for the game.

When I was a kid, so many of my friends loved to play. We would play in front of our houses. We had no nets back then so we would draw lines on the ground, and it was game on! To hit the shuttlecock the hardest and the farthest in the air was the goal.

Another exciting part was trying to get the shuttlecocks down every time they got stuck on the roof or trees! Throwing the racket probably wasn't our best idea, but hey, it worked! My dad eventually bought us a case of shuttlecocks because we smashed them pretty hard, scattering them all over the place!

This very popular sport has grown since my childhood. With the construction of more indoor and outdoor courts, more kids can practice and start playing seriously in competitions. The government fully supports the players.

Things are better for the athletes now as they got more than just medals. Sometimes we see them on tv in commercials. For example, Susi Susanti now advertises a pain reliever. Jonathan Christie won the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games and now has endorsements for Herb Meds, Smartphones, and Coffee. This man is a star in and out of the games!

And so that's how Indonesia continues to produce champions. Inspired kids are working hard to get further in their badminton careers with the promise of representing their country and as a means to support themselves and their families.

Indonesia takes badminton seriously, winning gold medals and more championships! We are a proud country. As a nice bow to top this story, our women's double team won the gold medal in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics! This is the first time for Indonesia in Badminton Olympics History! Congratulations to Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu! Bravo Ladies!!

My fiancé and I will soon be playing too. I can't wait!

And you should too! All you need is to start! Let's do this!

Good Game, Everyone!!

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About the author

The Nerd Habit

The Nerd Habit is a collaborative group of writers who love all things nerd. We write about the latest happenings in nerd/geek culture as well as short fiction.

Our 2022 Team:

Christopher D. Horton, Hani Masry, Jerah Rose, Whitney Thompson

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