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Simon: Give Indonesia two years

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SIMON Santoso believes Indonesia will be on par with China as the world's leading nation in men's singles in two years' time.

Under the new leadership of Gita Wirjawan, the All Indonesian BA (PBSI) has embarked on a systematic training programme to produce quality players.

With the near-retirement of two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan, China already has able replacements in Chen Long and Du Pengyu with World No 1 Lee Chong Wei being the only one capable of stopping them from dominating the singles events.

The sport, however, could become boring and predictable once Chong Wei retires as except for China, there are no sign of players from other nations coming through the ranks.

Simon, however, believes Indonesia's upcoming players will stop that from happening.

"We have several talented shuttlers who are training diligently but will only be ready, I believe, in two years' time," said Simon on the sidelines of the Axiata Cup launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Simon singled out rising stars Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka and Tommy Sugiarto as two of Indonesia's brightest prospects.

"I do not believe China will dominate easily after Chong Wei retires. Other nations will definitely produce quality shuttlers," said the World No 8.

Simon, who has almost recovered from a throat infection, will resume his international career in 'Open' tournaments in next month's Australian Open.

The 28-year-old has not played in tournaments since the French Open last October.

"I came down with a throat infection in Paris and was advised to rest. I've missed so many events and my ranking has dropped three rungs to eighth.

"However, I hope to make a promising return and my target is to make an impact on the World Championships," Simon added.


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