Indonesian Team Sweeps 4 Events at 2015 Butterfly Badger Open
by Barbara Wei
For most players, attending the Butterfly Badger Open requires a 2-3 hour flight or an extended road trip. However, for Bima Negara, Arif Irawan, Ismu Harinto and Steven Gunawan, the trip involved a 16 hour flight from Jakarta, Indonesia and months of planning.
More than 6 months prior to the Butterfly Badger Open, the Indonesian Table Tennis Association contacted Linda Leaf, Badger Open tournament director, to ask about entering the event. Having never received entries from Indonesia before, the Badger Open team quickly put together a plan to bring the four players to Wisconsin.
Unknown to almost all North American table tennis players, Bima Negara (Indonesian National Junior Team Member) and Arif Irawan (Top 10 Men’s Player in Indonesia) caused havoc in both the Open Singles and Open Doubles event. Bima Negara, an 18 year old who moves as swiftly and as lightly as a sparrow, caused the first upset in the Open Preliminary round robins, overcoming a 0-2 deficit against Tong Zhang (2450 – MS College) before winning the match 3-2 and advancing to the round of 16. Arif Irawan also did not disappoint, taking out the 3rd seed Jianhao Sun (2579 – LYTTC) in the preliminary round robin to advance into the main draw. Unfortunately, the two Indonesian players met each other in the round of 16, with Arif deciding to default and allow Bima to move forward. Bima then had a very hard fought quarterfinal match where he lost 3-4 against Rajat Hubli (2471) after being up 3-2 in the best of 7 encounters.
Although the Bima did not make the semi-finals of the Open Singles event, the Indonesian team of Bima Negara/Arif Irawan did win the Open Doubles event over Wei Qi/Michael Tran from Minnesota 4-1 in the final. En route to the final, they also beat 2015 Collegiate Doubles Champions Cheng Li/Tong Zhang in a very close 4-2 encounter, where almost all 6 games were won by only a two point margin. Bima then dominated the Under 18 age event, winning the championship title without losing a single game. Ismu Harinto and Steven Gunawan also played well, winning the Over 40 and the Recreational events respectively.
The Indonesian contingency looks forward to future appearances at Butterfly events and hope to use the experiences they’ve gained at this year’s Butterfly Badger Open to help compete in the Indonesian National Championships and the Indonesian Super League events later this year.