Every athlete can tell you that sometimes fate works against you, and sometimes it works with you. No how prepared an athlete may be, he can’t always control the circumstances of the game. For Ronald Susilo, the Sportsman of the Year recipient in 2005, such was his experience at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Scheduled to compete against China’s Lin Dan, then No.1 in the world, Susilo seemed fated to have an early exit from the Games. However, Susilo didn’t let prevailing perceptions stand in the way of his play. The young shuttler from Singapore stunned the badminton world when he defeated Lin Dan.
Although he didn’t reach the semi-finals, Ronald showed the skill and determination of a champion. His fortitude under pressure was enough to win him the Sportsman title in 2005.
Originally from Jakarta, Ronald moved to Singapore when he was 14 for secondary school. He had been playing badminton since he was eight years old, but it was at school in Singapore that he really found his game. He breezed through inter-school competitions and soon went for the National Team.
His career got off the ground in 2001 with a win in the first round of the China Open. He then made it through to the semi-finals of the Dutch Open by beating the top seed at the tournament. Susilo also got through to the semi-finals in the Siam Cement WGP Thailand Open. In 2002, Ronald was runner-up in the Singapore Open, beating four world-ranked players on the way. In the same year, he helped Singapore win the team silver in the Commonwealth Games. In 2003, still showing impressive form, Ronald reached the semi-finals at the SEA Games in Vietnam and also won a team bronze. His first international title also came in 2003 at the Thailand Open.
After struggling with a snapped Achilles tendon for 18-months plus, Susilo is now working his way back through the world rankings. He has been included in the Project 0812 funding program through the SNOC, and he is focused firmly on the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Whether he comes in as a top seed or as an underdog, Susilo will play to his last breath in his quest for a medal for Singapore.