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Whether we like to admit it or not, badminton is a young athlete’s game. With this in mind, staying in the game past 30 is a feat in itself. However, two players have continued to make a mark on the sport, proving their staying power with each tournament — and they’re none other than Indonesia’s Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan!
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan comprise one of the greatest pairs in badminton. Although the pair had only partnered up in 2013, they had amassed multiple accolades, including three World Championship titles and an Asian Games crown. The duo also won two Badminton World Federation (BWF) Grand Prix titles and almost ten Super Series titles. In the World Tour, Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan also bagged four titles, including a World Tour Final title back in 2019. Setiawan and Ahsan’s success with different partners throughout their careers further highlights what they’ve accomplished together. After just a year of pairing up, they climbed to the top of the Badminton World Rankings, holding the top spot for an astounding 37 weeks.
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan make up one of the most decorated players in the sport’s history. Be amazed as we take a look at their beginnings and accomplishments in my latest edition of Player Profile!
Hendra Setiawan’s Early Life and Junior Badminton Career
Hendra Setiawan was born on August 25, 1984, in Pemalang, Central Java, Indonesia. He started badminton at the tender age of six under the influence of his parents. Setiawan began competing at the junior international level at age 16, with his first outing being at the 2000 Indonesia Open.
A year later, Hendra Setiawan won his first bronze medal. He was a second runner-up in the boys’ and mixed doubles events of the Asian Junior Championships.
He returned at the 2002 Asian Junior Championships to bag gold in the boys’ team event. In the boy’s and mixed doubles events, Setiawan won bronze again.
Mohammad Ahsan’s Early Life and Junior Badminton Career
Mohammad Ahsan was born three years after Setiawan. Ahsan was born on September 7, 1987, in Palembang, Indonesia. Ahsan took to badminton at the age of seven, playing recreationally with family and friends.
Ahsan kicked off his junior career in 2005, debuting at the 2005 Asian Junior Championships. At the tournament, he won bronze in the boys’ doubles event, and it didn’t take long before Ahsan amassed enough court experience to make his senior debut a year later.
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan experienced success with different partners before partnering in 2012.
Setiawan won numerous titles with Markis Kido. Together, they bagged six Grand Prix titles, nine Super Series titles, and three Southeast Asian Games titles. Setiawan and Kido also became Asian Champions and World Champions at one point.
Ahsan experienced his share of success before 2013, too. Between 2007 and 2011, Ahsan amassed multiple men’s doubles titles with Bona Septano. The pair won one International Challenge title, five Grand Prix titles, and a World University Championship title. In 2011, Ahsan and Septano won the Southeast Asian Games — ironically against Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan.
Partnership and Accomplishments
Hendra Setiawan formed a formidable partnership with Mohammad Ahsan following the 2012 London Olympics. The pair debuted at the 2012 Denmark Open just weeks after the Olympics. The partnership showed promise early on as Setiawan and Ahsan advanced to the semifinals in their first outing.
After 2012, the titles came flooding in. At the start of 2013, Setiawan and Ahsan won the 2013 Malaysia Open. They followed up their victory with another impressive title finish at the 2013 Indonesian Open.
Weeks after the Indonesian Open, Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan won the 2013 Singapore Open, and their winning ways on the Super Series circuit didn’t stop there as they bagged another title at the 2013 Japan Open.
Perhaps the duo’s biggest accomplishment came in August of 2013 at the BWF World Championships. Setiawan and Ahsan won their first BWF World Championship title after defeating Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the finals.
The pair capped off their 2013 campaign with another title victory at the 2013 World Super Series Finals.
Super Series Success and More Titles on the World Tour
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan continued to amass more titles after 2013. Most of these were in the BWF Super Series and World Tour.
Following the 2013 World Super Series Finals, Setiawan and Ahsan kicked off 2014 with a title victory at the 2014 All England. From here, the Indonesian duo went on to win another title at the 2014 Hong Kong Open.
After 2015, Setiawan and Ahsan qualified for the World Tour. After a two-year World Tour title drought, they chalked up an impressive title victory at the 2018 Singapore Open.
A year later, the duo added the 2019 All-England to their list of successful conquests. That year, Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan won two more World Tour titles — the 2019 New Zealand Open and the 2019 World Tour Finals.
World Championship Titles
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan are three-time BWF World Champions, winning their first World Championship in 2013. At the 2013 BWF World Championships, Setiawan and Ahsan defeated Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in straight sets.
Two years later, the World Championships came to Indonesia, where Setiawan and Ahsan were hometown favorites. At the 2015 BWF World Championships, the Indonesian duo dominated China’s Liu Xiaolong and Qiu Zihan in the finals to win their second World Championship title.
In 2019, Setiawan and Ahsan set out to win their third World Championship title. At the 2019 BWF World Championships, Setiawan and Ahsan added another World Championship to their trophy cabinet after beating Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi in the final.
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan — Still in the Game and Raising the Bar
Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan have been in the game for a long time. Despite nearing their primes, the Indonesian powerhouse pair continue to hang with the best players in the world. By doing so, not only do they show their staying power, but they also raise the bar for men’s doubles players everywhere.
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