Susy Susanti was introduced to badminton by her father, Risad Haditono, when she was 8 years old. She trained at her uncle's club, PB Tunas Tasikmalaya, for 7 years. She quickly displayed a promising future in the sport and in 1985, she was invited to join the national team at Pelatnas Pratama in East Jakarta. She was only 14 years old at that time. From then on, she dedicated her life to badminton and trained for eight hours a day, six days a week.
A little known fact about Susy Susanti was that before becoming a singles specialist, she also played in the women's and mixed doubles events at the 1987 Bimantara World Junior Badminton Invitation. The tournament held at the legendary Istora Senayan stadium in central Jakarta concluded with Susanti crowned with 3 new international titles: mixed doubles with Ardy Bernardus Wiranata, women's doubles with Lilik Sudarwati and her first international coronation in women's singles. She repeated her success at the 1988 edition with a second consecutive title in women’s singles and another with Sudarwati in women's doubles.
However, 1989 would be the most glorious year of her career. In 1989, she reached her first All England final against Li Lingwei of China. Just two months later, Susanti's incredible stamina and level-headiness under pressure was showcased when she saved the honors of the Indonesian team at the first ever Sudirman Cup tournament in Jakarta.
The Indonesian team had lost its first 2 matches of the final and Susanti lost the first game with the close scores of 10-12. In the second game, Korea’s Lee Young-Suk was holding the match and championship point when Susanti painstakingly clawed her way back from 7-10 to win the second game with a score of 12-10. In the final game, Susanti did not let her opponent win a single rally and dominated with an 11-0 win and thus securing Indonesia's team first and only Sudirman Cup trophy to this date.
A few months after her amazing comeback at the Sudirman Cup, Susanti clinched her first Grand Prix title at the 1989 Indonesia Open held in Pontianak where she crushed Huang Hua 11-7, 11-0. Another week later, the Indonesian legend won her first World Cup title.
In 1990, Susanti won the first of her 4 All England titles and her first World Grand Prix crown. Susanti’s winning streak continued until the 1992 Olympic Games when badminton was included as an official Olympic sport for the first time in history. The Chinese-Indonesian player lived up to her country’s expectations and captured the first ever gold medal for Indonesia by beating her long-time rival, Bang Soo-hyun of Korea, with a score of 5-11, 11-5, 11-3. A few hours later, her husband-to-be, Alan Budi Kusuma, won the gold medal in the men's singles event.
In a repeat of the Olympic final, Susanti met Bang in the 1993 World Championships’ ultimate match. With a similar score line (7-11, 11-9, 11-3), Susanti once again prevailed to win her first and only world championship title.
With 2 of the most prestigious titles under her belt, Susanti was expected to win the 1994 Asian Games individual event but fell short at the semi-final
stage against Hisako Mizui of Japan. Susanti had to settle for a bronze medal and the Asian Games became the only major title in her career to have eluded her. In the 1996 Olympic Games, the player from Tasikmalaya went home with another bronze medal after losing to Bang in the semi-final. After defeating Susanti, Bang went on to win her own first Olympic gold medal.
On the Grand Prix circuit, Susanti has won over 40 titles: the All England 4 times, the Indonesia Open 6 times, the Japan Open 4 times, the Thailand Open 5 times, the Chinese Taipei Open 3 times, the Malaysia Open 5 times, the World Grand Prix Finals 6 times, the German Open 3 times and the Dutch Open and the Swedish Open each twice. These outstanding results guaranteed her position as No.1 in the world for more than 4 years.
She also contributed to the Indonesian team’s victory over China in both the 1994 and 1996 Uber Cup campaigns. Susanti’s last major title was the 1997 World Cup held in Yogyakarta. That same year, she married Alan Budikusumo in a wedding ceremony that attracted Jakarta’s most affluent citizens as well as Indonesia’s top politicians. Despite having plans to play in the Asian Games, she had to permanently retire from the game in 1998 due to pregnancy. She later gave birth to three children: Laurencia Averina in 1999, Albertus Edward in 2000 and finally Sebastianus Frederick in 2003.
In 2004, Susanti and husband, Alan Budi Kusuma, founded a company called ASTEC specializing in badminton equipment. She also founded Fontana, a shop offering reflexology and sport massage services.
In 2008, Susanti briefly came back to badminton competition but this time as a team manager for Indonesia. Susanti successfully lead her team to the
final stage of the Uber Cup against China. In 2012, the PBSI, Indonesia’s national body for badminton, once again called upon Susanti. She was appointed as an expert staff member in charge of development for the period leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The International Badminton Federation (now the BWF) inducted Susanti into the Hall of Fame in May 2004. She was also awarded the Herbert Scheele Trophy in 2002 for outstanding services in badminton. When asked about how she managed to lead such a brilliant career, Susanti preaches about very strict discipline to reach the highest goals in our sport. One only needs to look at her achievements to see that she is a true proponent of talent, self-discipline and motivation, the 3 ingredients essential to become a world class badminton player.
1992 – Tanda Kehormatan Republik Indonesia Bintang Jasa Utama (Star of the Republic of Indonesia)
2002 – IBF Herbert Scheele Trophy
2004 – IBF Hall of Fame
ASPU Marlboro Sports Award - The Best Athlete
BIBLIOGRAPHY & REFERENCES
Apa & Siapa
International Badminton – the first 75 years
Susy Susanti Haditono
World Badminton (Magazine)
-- By Yves Lacroix