** This NEW SHUTTLENWS report is sponsored by YANG YANG BADMINTON EQUIPMENT and their German agents, SIAM SPORTS (Tel/Fax 9872-93625). **

by Mike Grossman

February 16, 1997 (NEW SHUTTLENWS) - Indonesian players won the four championship matches played today to complete a sweep of the titles at the four-star US$125,000 Air India-sponsored Indian Open badminton tournament in New Delhi.

Current world champion Heryanto Arbi, a joint 3rd-and-4th seed at this tourney, completely dominated Indian national champion Pullela Gopi Chand 15-4 and 15-7 in the men's singles finals. Arbi, who is just coming back from a 3-month injury layoff, continued to show that he is getting close to the form that won him the world title in 1995. As in yesterday's semifinal win over Olympic champion Poul-Erik Hoyer-Larsen of Denmark, the trademark Arbi jumpsmash attack was working with only an occasional miscue here and there.

Gopi Chand who had surprised even the Indian fans by reaching the finals did not have the level of quickness and badminton skills that he needs to contend with players of the caliber of the world champion.

Arbi's win puts him back in the running to qualify to compete in the world championships in May and to chase after the legendary Chinese player Yang Yang's records as the only player to ever hold the world men's singles title twice and the only one to win consecutive world men's singles championships. (Editor's Note - Yang Yang is the managing director of the company that is the major sponsor of New Shuttlenws).

Cindana Hartono, world-ranked on the low 20's but the top-seed in the weak Indian Open women's singles field, defeated Korean junior player Lee Soon Deuk 11-6 and 11-7 to win her first four-star international badminton title.

In men's doubles, another event that had no top-rated entries, the new Indonesian combination of Ade Lucas and Ade Sutrisna clicked together to defeat first-seeds Hadi Sugianto and Aras Razak, also of Indonesia, 15-5 and 15-12. Sutrisna used to partner Chandra Wijaya and was at one point ranked in the top 16s, while Lucas used to play with Cun Cun and was also highly rated.

In the closest match of finals day, Tantri Etty and Cynthia took the women's doubles title with their 15-8, 14-17 and 15-5 win over the Korean pair of Lee Soon Deuk and Choi Ma Ree. Etty and Cynthia were the second seeds in this event which only had one entry that was world-ranked in the top 16s, the top-seeded Hong Kong duo of Tung Chau Man and Ng Ching.

In the mixed doubles finals played last night, Imam Tohari and Ema Ermawati took the first of the five Indian Open titles for Indonesia when they defeated Lee Chee Leong and Lee Yin Yin of Malaysia 15-3 and 15-9.