PBL 2018-19: Indonesian shuttler Tommy Sugiarto loses focus and match as tsunami causes destruction back home

Mumbai: It was well past Tommy Sugiarto’s dinnertime when a tsunami, triggered by an eruption of the Mount Krakatoa Volcano, hit the tourist beaches and coastal areas around Indonesia's Sunda Strait on Saturday night. Only a couple of months ago, Sugiarto had spent a brief holiday with his family in Anyer, a coastal town which faces the strait.

Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in action. PBL

Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto in action at the PBL. PBL

Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) is a small volcanic island located in the Sunda Strait, between the islands of Java and Sumatra. It emerged from the ocean half a century after Krakatoa’s deadly eruption in 1883, hence the term anak (child) in the name. The tsunami has reportedly killed more than 220 people and left 843 injured.

The volcano has been particularly active since June and had been on a high-level eruption watchlist for the past decade. Indonesia has a deadly and unlucky history with earthquakes and tsunamis. In September, at least 2,000 people lost their lives when a powerful earthquake struck just off the central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, setting off a tsunami that engulfed the coastal city of Palu. On 26 December, 2004, a series of huge waves, triggered by a powerful earthquake in the Indian Ocean, killed about 2,28,000 people in 13 countries, mostly in Indonesia.

Unaware of the mayhem caused back in his home country, Sugiarto was only informed about the devastating news on Sunday morning. “I saw the news this morning,” the World No 9 says. “It’s a piece of sad, sad news for Indonesia. I pray for Anyer and the whole country. I was there just two months ago. The news is devastating.”

The same evening, 4, 529 km away from the affected region in Indonesia, the Delhi Dashers’ shuttler was scheduled to take the court to play against Mumbai Rockets’ Anders Antonsen in the first tie of the Premier Badminton League.

Sugiarto’s approach towards the match looked subdued, as his strokes and movements didn’t trouble the big Dane. He earned a few points with elan till the mid-game break of the first game before letting his opponent score consecutive points. In no time, Antonsen took the lead and eventually pipped the former World No 3 to clinch the opening game 15-13.

In the second stanza, Sugiarto looked far from focused, as if something was on his mind. Troubled by the barrage of attacking shots coming from the other end, the 2018 Thailand Masters winner succumbed to pressure. “After the first game, I couldn’t focus on the match. I didn’t have the right mindset to play the match today,” he admits after the match.

With Antonsen dictating the pace of the rallies, the Indonesian just couldn’t deal with the mental pressure. The Dane took the second game and the match with a scoreline of 15-13, 15-7. “It wasn’t the best of me on the court. I lost my rhythm in the second game,” the World Championships bronze medallist says.

Sugiarto, who was bought by the Dashers for Rs 70 lakh, became the highest-paid foreign non-icon player at the PBL auction earlier this year after going under the hammer and being picked for double his base price.

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Updated Date: Dec 23, 2018 23:23:55 IST

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