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September 7, 2000
Teen top-seeded in badminton
The hopes of a nation will rest on the shoulders of 19-year-old Indonesian Taufik Hidayat after he was named top men's seed for the Sydney Olympic tournament.
Asian countries have traditionally dominated the sport and Hidayat's back-to-back titles at his home Grand Prix in July and at the Malaysia Open in August have intensified interest among Indonesia's badminton-mad public.
All three of Indonesia's Olympic golds have come in badminton and the pressure is on the teenage star to deliver another one in Sydney.
If he succeeds he will become the youngest ever player to win a badminton gold medal and delight an army of female fans who follow his every move back home.
"I am aiming for gold. It's the greatest tournament in the world so it will be very important in my badminton career," he told Reuters in an interview at Indonesia's badminton camp in Jakarta.
With compatriot Hendrawan seeded two there is the possibility of an all-Indonesian final, although third seed Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark will provide a formidable test for Hidayat in the semifinal.
The pair have met on five occasions with the Dane winning all but one.
In the women's singles China's Gong Zhichao is the top seed ahead of Denmark's Camilla Martin.
Chinese female players have never reached an Olympic singles final but coach Li Yongbo is expecting gold this time from the world number one.
In the men's doubles, Indonesia's Candra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan are the top seeds, ahead of world championship runners-up Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung of South Korea.
Chinese players top the women's doubles seedings with Ge Fei and Gu Jun gunning for their second Olympic gold.
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