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Lucia Francisca Susy Susanti (Hanzi: 王蓮香, Pinyin: Wang Lian-xiang, Hokkien: Ong Lien Hiang, born 11 February 1971 in Tasikmalaya, West Java) is a retired Indonesian badminton player. Relatively small of stature, she combined quick and graceful movement with elegant shotmaking technique, and regarded by many as one of the greatest women’s singles player of all time. Sometimes her name is also spelled Susi Susanti. She is the first Indonesian Olympic gold medalist and the only Indonesian woman until Lilyana Natsir won gold in 2016.
She won the women’s singles gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain and the bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States. She retired from the world badminton circuit not long after her marriage to Alan Budikusuma (who had also won a badminton singles gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics) in February 1997.
Susanti was the most dominant women’s singles player in the first half of the 1990s, winning the All-England in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994, the World Badminton Grand Prix finale five times consecutively from 1990 to 1994 as well as in 1996, and the IBF World Championships in 1993.
She is the only female player to hold the Olympic, World Championship, and All-England singles titles simultaneously. She won the Japan Open three times and the Indonesian Open five times. She also won numerous Badminton Grand Prix Series events and five Badminton World Cups. She led the Indonesian team to victory over perennial champion China in the 1994 and 1996 Uber Cup (women’s world team) competitions.
All of this came during a relatively strong period in women’s international badminton. Her chief competitors early in her prime years were the Chinese players Tang Jiuhong and Huang Hua, and, later, China’s Ye Zhaoying and the Korean Bang Soo-hyun.
Susanti was inducted into the International Badminton Federation (IBF, currently BWF) Hall of Fame in May 2004, and received the Herbert Scheele Trophy in 2002.
Susanti was an extremely durable defensive player who like to instigate long rallies to wear out opponent’s stamina and forcing unforced errors. The style was in contrast to most of the top female players of her contemporaries like, Bang Soo Hyun, Tang Jiuhong, Huang Hua, Ye Zhaoying, who at the time deployed more aggressive style.
Bulks of her points came from opponent’s bad strikes. Susanti’s matches were characteristically slow and long, especially in the era of 15 points system in a player could only get a point whenever she or he held the serve. Susanti’s relied on deep lob to the backline, effectively nullified the chance of engaging in fast pace exchange, and combined it with occasional drop shots near the net which forced her opponent to cover the entire court. Susanti’s frequently covered her backhand side with overhead forehand, many with heavy back-arching overhead forehands. She often stretched her legs very wide and low to take shots at the corners or away from her position. Being a small girl with limited court coverage in her development years had pushed her to develop the wide leg-stretching manoeuvre, a pose that became her signature move and sometimes ended with a full leg split. In later years of her career, Susanti incorporated a little smash in her repertoire, just enough to put her opponent off-balance since most of her opponents barely expected any attacking strikes from her.
She is married to Alan Budikusuma (Chinese: 魏仁芳), a men’s badminton Olympic gold medalist (also in 1992) and one of the top men’s players in the history of the sport, a former Chinese Indonesian badminton player who excelled at the world level from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. Together they have three children Laurencia Averina, born 1999.
1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain
1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States of America
- 1995 IBF World Championships at the Malley Sports Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland
- 1993 IBF World Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England
- 1991 IBF World Championships at the Brøndbyhallen in Copenhagen, Denmark
World Badminton Grand Prix Finals
Southeast Asian Games
IBF World Grand Prix
The World Badminton Grand Prix sanctioned by International Badminton Federation (IBF) since 1983.