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Sony the comeback kid

Three-time Asian champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro (below), will make his full-fledged comeback to the international scene at the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold next month.

The Indonesian, who is playing for Indonesia Garuda in the on-going Axiata Cup, said he has finally overcome a long catalogue of injuries which have plagued his career for the past 24 months.

Although he didn’t take to the court on Saturday, he was still cheering on his teammates against Indonesia Rajawali, their opponents in the two-leg finals at the Stadium Tennis Indoor, Senayan.

The two Indonesian teams overcame tough resistance from Malaysia Tigers and Malaysia Leopards in the semi-finals, after the four teams came through the group stages from badminton richest team competition which also involved Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

“I’ve not have much luck with injuries this past two years but I’m still young enough to make an impact on the world stage,” said Sony, when met before the first leg of the Axiata Cup finals.

“I have pencilled in the Malaysia Open at the beginning of May as my comeback tournament. For now, I will continue doing training hard.”

The 28-year-old father of one admitted he was quite disheartened when his bad luck with injuries first struck as he found it difficult to accept losing in the early rounds of big tournaments.

The former Olympic bronze medallist added: “I’m lucky to have the support of my wife (Gading Safitri), who has never stopped encouraging me to continue with my career. I want to win a major tournament for her and also my one-year-old daughter (Divya Amanta Kuncoro).

On the Axiata Cup, which offers US$1 million in prize money – US$400,000 to the winners, US200,000 to the runners-up, US$100,000 to the losing semi-finalists and US$50,000 to the four teams who failed to get past the group stages – Sony said it is a good event which will help encourage more kids to take up badminton.

“The organisers gave away hundreds of tickets to several schools and this enabled many children to witness the matches live for the first time in their lives,” explained Sony.

“I spoke to some of them and they were delighted to have seen people like Simon (Santoso) and Taufik (Hidayat) in action. This will certainly help with grassroots development.”

Asked how the prize money will be shared among the players, Sony replied: “That is secondary for now. It is important for us to win the tournament first before thinking about the money.”

For more information on the Axiata Cup, click here.

AXIATA CUP Finals (first leg)
Indonesia Garuda 3 Indonesia Rajawali 0 (Simon Santoso bt Tommy Sugiarto 21-19, 21-7; Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan bt Ryan Agung Saputra-Angga Pramata 21-14, 21-17; Taufik Hidayat bt Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 21-17, 25-27, 21-16)

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