The presidential election at Indonesia’s top badminton body is shaping up as a two-horse race between legendary shuttler Icuk Sugiarto and Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan.
The Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) is scheduled to hold the election on Sept. 20-21 in Yogyakarta. Current chairman Djoko Santoso, who has been under fire because of Indonesian shuttlers’ lack of recent success in international competitions, said he would not be seeking a third four-year term.
Djoko confirmed his decision to not seek another term on Sunday night at his home in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.
However, the retired four-star general asked those who supported him to cast their votes for Gita.
“I’ve been meeting with Gita Wirjawan several times, asking him to be my successor in the PBSI,” Djoko said on Monday. “He told me that he would accept the candidacy.
“As I’ve said many times before, I would be stepping down [from the PBSI chairmanship] if I was able to find the right person to lead the association.”
Gita was not available for comment on badminton matters on Monday.
PBSI secretary general Yacob Rusdianto, who’s also the election chairman, said that Gita officially became a candidate on Monday after providing all the required documents.
Gita, 46, is well known for his love of golf and is the founder of Ancora Golf academy for young players. But his past ties with badminton are not known.
Registration to run for the chairmanship closes next Tuesday. PBSI Jakarta chairman Icuk, as of Monday, was the only other candidate.
Icuk was the 1983 men’s singles world champion and has been touted as a strong candidate for the position.
Many pundits have said that the PBSI needs a chairman with a thorough understanding of the sport, especially after the recent string of poor performances.
For the first time since 1992, Indonesia failed to win a badminton medal in the Olympics, returning from the London Games last month empty-handed.