High energy, great defense and beautiful placement are the characteristics of Alvent Yulianto Chandra’s game when he plays on court. His ‘cool’ performance off the court obviously earned Alvent the respect of many fans. Being successful as number 1st of the world with Luluk Hadiyanto in the middle of 2004, his performances alternately stagnated and declined until he finished as runner-up in this year’s Malaysia Open, with new partner Hendra Aprida Gunawan.
By Ferry Irawan, Badzine Correspondent.
Minimum Preparation, Maximum Result
Alvent’s luck changed in last month with his first tournament partnering Hendra Aprida Gunawan (AG). In a phenomenal performance, the pair reached the final of the Malaysia Open Super Series last month. With AG and just two months of preparation, but with neither coach nor sponsor, the two managed to beat world #1 and defending champions, Kido/Setiawan in the semi-finals before losing in the final to then world #2, Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae.
“We had no coach and no shuttlecocks, but tried to do the maximum amount of work with everything that we had” Alvent told Badzine about his preparation for the Malaysia and Korea Super Series events this year. Alvent said that they had minimum preparation before he finally decided to enter those tournaments with AG. “I’m trying practice efficiently and not to waste time during the preparation,” added Alvent.
“I had partnered AG before, around 2001-2002,” Alvent recalled. “We played our first match together about a year after we had entered Pelatnas [Indonesia’s national training centre].” The duo, at that time, managed to break into the top 16 in the world and reached the semi-finals and quarter-finals of some tournaments before Alvent resumed his partnership with Luluk Hadiyanto in the end of 2003. Soon after came Alvent’s most impressive achievement with Luluk as the pair reached the world #1 spot after winning the Indonesia Open in 2004 and beating the best pair in the world at that time, Fu Haifeng / Cai Yun from China.
Their glory days faded as time went on and there were continuous problems between them. They made promising comebacks in the last two winters, taking the silver medal in the 2006 Asian Games and finishing runner-up to China’s Fu /Cai in the Korea Open in January 2008. However, Luluk/Alvent (also known as LuVent) made only one final in 2007 and they struggled again after the promising start last year, having to bury their dream of playing for the Team Indonesia at the Thomas Cup Finals in Jakarta. Then, the following month, at the Indonesia Open Super Series, the pair made an early exit, losing to Korea’s unheralded Ko Sung Hyun / Kwon Yi Goo.
At the Beijing Olympics, they had one last chance to prove their worth and earn the notice of sponsors but it went very badly for them. In the very first round, “LuVent” surrendered to Japan’s Sakamoto/Ikeda, 21-19, 14-21, 14-21.
“There were no hard feelings”, said Alvent when being asked about their loss at that time, adding with confidence, “Everything happens for a reason.”
‘Forced’ To Play Badminton
Recalling his past, Alvent, who was born in Glenmore on July 11th, 1980, has a unique story about the very beginning of his love affair with badminton.
“It’s very funny if I think back,” says Alvent with his sweet smile. “I went to elementary school in the suburbs: SD Inpres. One class had just 12 student. At that time I was in 5th grade and was suddenly forced by my teacher to play Badminton and represent our school at Porseni [a one-week school competition].” Although it was quite far from the centre of the city, Alvent, who grew up in Banyuwangi village, Jember, East Java, maintains that he never lost his spirit for playing the game that he came to love.
‘Little’ Alvent was, at that time, also a big fan of Indonesian football player Hendro Kartiko, a star who came from the same suburb but after that abrupt introduction to badminton, he asked his dad to coach him.
“My father was not even an athlete, let alone a coach and I’d never played badminton before,” said Alvent. He lost his first match but Alvent never stop playing and with his diligence finally Alvent became a winner when he competed in the porseni in 6th grade.
Shortly thereafter, Alvent also took 3rd place at a regional tournament for East Java. From that point on, many clubs tried to entice Alvent to join and train seriously for badminton and Alvent picked Jawa Pos, which had produced many famous players in Jember, as his 1st club and trained there.
“I was doing very well in training there but unfortunate Jawa Pos cut their funds to the club, so it was all over,” explains Alvent. In 1995, Alvent decided to move to Surabaya and join one of the biggest clubs in Indonesia, Suryanaga. After six years in Suryanaga, Alvent finally had his chance to join Pelatnas at 2001.
“In Suryanaga, I rarely won tournaments. I was mostly just a quarter-finalist or semi-finalist,” explains Alvent. “I also got lucky arriving at Pelatnas when I did because right after I entered, Tony Gunawan moved to the United States. Then not long after that, Halim also joined with Tony so I had chance to develop myself because PBSI always sent me for every tournament.”
Asked whether he had an idol he’d most like to be partnered with, Alvent answered without hesitation “Park Joo Bong. He played very well. Kim Dong Moon also played great like him because he had same playing style as Park.”
It is more wide open when it comes to the pair he fears most at this time, however. Alvent said “All of our opponents are very strong now. They have equal power and technique.”
Alvent had no comment on the recent goings-on at the national training centre. Evidently the next statements to be heard from the 28-year-old veteran will be made on the courts in Europe.