30 May 2017

Could Indonesia be the next big thing in table tennis?

by Wade Townsend

Indonesia is not a fixture on the international stage, only competing in maybe two or three events a year. But here in Düsseldorf Ficky Santoso and Muhammad Negara are looking to make an impact while they have the chance.

The Indonesia duo took down the Belorussian pairing of Aliaksandr Khanin and Gleb Shamruk 3-1 in the Men’s Doubles preliminary rounds at the Liebherr 2017 World Table Tennis Championships.

It’s an impressive win, but even morse so when you dig a little deeper.

“We have only been playing together for two months. This is actually our first time playing a tournament together.” Ficky Santoso

Indonesia is not the hotbed of Asian table tennis like some of their neighbours, but it is still has an active scene. Santoso and Negara practice five teams a week, but said with a smile that they keep the weekend free for other pursuits.

While Negara is playing at his first World Championships, Santoso is a veteran, having competed five times before.

“The first time I played was in 2008 in Guangzhou. But my best performance was in Moscow in 2010. There I won twice against a top 60 player in the world. After this I was even invited to attend national training in Japan.” Ficky Santoso

With a population of over 250 million, Indonesia has the capacity to become one of the top table tennis nations in the world. That’s if they can take players away from some of the other sports.

“Badminton and Football are the two biggest sports in Indonesia. Table tennis still has a lot of room to improve.” Ficky Santoso

But in Düsseldorf the best thing the duo can do to promote the sport back home is to go deep in to the draw.

“We both are out in the singles, so we just hope to keep winning in doubles.” Muhammad Negara

Liebherr 2017 World Championships

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