JAKARTA - A senior Indonesian badminton official has slammed shuttlers Tommy Sugiarto and Simon Santoso and accused them of being mentally weak after the duo quit the national side earlier this year.
"Experienced players like them are expected to be the role models for the youngsters," Rexy Mainaky, the head of athlete development at the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI), was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Globe.
"In the future, the PBSI should be more selective in recruiting players to join the camp." Mainaky said the two had lacked the ability to handle the pressure of playing for their country.
"Once you lift that racket, you have to be ready to play for the country one day. You have to stay positive in mind," he added.
World number 37 Santoso said he had quit in order to spend more time with his family but his former coach Hendri Saputra shared Mainaky's view of the 29-year-old.
"I've trained him since he was a kid. I saw him practise all-out at the club, because he had the freedom to set up his own goals," he was quoted as saying by the daily.
"But at the national camp, he feels the pressure as a senior player, and he can't handle it. His preparation wasn't optimal."
World number 10 Sugiarto said he was quitting because he and Santoso had been ignored by the PBSI in favour of others in the domestic set-up.
"Whenever a junior player wins a tournament, they always talk about it," he said in January. "But they often forget they have a men's singles player in the world's top ten."
Sugiarto, who beat double Olympic champion Lin Dan in the quarter-finals of the Indian Open on Friday, did say he was willing to return in future.
Mainaky appeared to firmly close that door.
"We have to trust the players who are currently training at the national camp, that they have the skills. We must give them the chance," he said.