JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Ambassador to Great Britain Desra Percaya has blasted the Badminton World Federation [BWF], following its controversial decision to abruptly end Indonesia’s run at the All England Open in the English city of Birmingham last Thursday.
Just as Indonesian netizens conveyed their displeasure towards the BWF on social media, the envoy’s parting shot did not mince any words.
“The BWF has shown itself to be incompetent in enforcing health protocols during the 2021 All England Open," he said in a virtual press conference Friday, March 19.
"Although the BWF’s policies are not discriminatory in itself, their incompetence led to the discrimination and unfair treatment of the Indonesian team,”
Desra’s comments came in the wake of intensive intergovernment negotiations between Indonesia and Great Britain, starting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and her British counterpart Dominic Raab, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and British Ambassador to Indonesia Richard Jenkins.
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“Aside from the aforesaid parties, we also negotiated with the British Badminton Association, BWF President [Poul Erik Høyer Larsen] and the NHS, all of which failed to bring the Indonesian team back to the tournament.”
Desra added that he will head to Birmingham to support the Indonesian squad in the wake of the fiasco. “The Indonesian team will promptly return to Indonesia. Until then, I am obliged to keep [the Indonesian badminton team] safe and secure,” he asserted.
“I will also hear out their allegations of discriminatory treatment at the hands of the [BWF].” Desra also offered the BWF the option of halting the All England tournament, noting that "there is no urgency" in holding a tournament in the middle of a pandemic.
The manager of the Indonesian badminton team, Ricky Subagja, reiterated Desra.
“Indonesia has no chance of continuing in the 2021 All England Tournament,” the 1996 Olympics gold medalist sighed. “We are now focusing on returning to Indonesia.”
The team is currently staying at the Crowne Plaza Birmingham City Centre, where they are self-isolating until March 23. The Indonesian Badminton Association reported that the players and officials in the team are still in good health.
Indonesian doubles player Marcus Fernaldi Gideon first broke the news about the team’s forced withdrawal from the All England tournament in Birmingham.
The UK’s National Health Service or NHS ordered the Indonesian squad to self-quarantine though they tested negative for Covid-19, after a passenger on their flight from Istanbul to Birmingham tested positive for the coronavirus.
The controversy provoked an outcry throughout Indonesia.
(Writer: Dian Erika Nugraheny | Editors: Dani Prabowo, Bayu Galih, Bernadette Aderi Puspaningrum)
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