Sure, the GOAT Lin Dan won all major badminton titles, but that’s just in the singles division. Before him, one doubles specialist achieved the same feat, winning all major international titles at least once. Who’s this player? It’s none other than the Hall of Fame Indonesian great Rexy Mainaky!
Born on September 3, 1968, Rexy Mainaky was one of the most successful men’s doubles players of the 90s. Alongside Ricky Subagja, Mainaky won numerous titles in the International Badminton Federation (IBF) Grand Prix during his ten-year career. Besides his medal wins on the Grand Prix circuit, Mainaky’s achievements also include an Olympic Gold medal, a World Championship title, an Asian Championship crown, and an Asian Cup title. Mainaky is also a two-time Asian Games champion and a three-time Badminton World Cup winner. Mainaky retired in 2000 after winning the 2000 Asian Badminton Championships with Tony Gunawan. In 2009, Mainaky joined the sport’s greats by becoming a member of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Hall of Fame.
That’s right. Mainaky achieved much before he decided to hang up his racket. Join me in astonishment as we revisit the doubles GOAT’s achievements!
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Rexy Mainaky’s Early Badminton Career: From a Lackluster Start To Finding His Rhythm
Rexy Mainaky made his senior debut in 1989. He debuted as a men’s singles player at the 1989 Malaysian Open, advancing no further than the round of 32 stages. Throughout 1989, he had similarly dismal results as he bowed out before reaching the quarterfinals.
Mainaky was equally unsuccessful for the first half of 1990. Luckily, his results improved at the 1990 Indonesia Open as he reached the quarterfinals for the first time in his career.
What changed? It’s simple — he played doubles badminton!
Noticing the improvement in his results, Rexy Mainaky focused on men’s doubles badminton. From there, he began to find his rhythm.
In 1991, Rexy Mainaky began finishing as a runner-up with his new partner Ricky Subagja. At one point, the newly formed duo won bronze at the 1991 Southeast Asian Games and silver at the 1991 Asian Cup.
Title Haul at the IBF World Grand Prix
If you want a snippet of how dominant the Mainaky-Subagja connection was, all you need to do is look at the pair’s World Grand Prix record. Between 1992 and 1999, the duo won 27 World Grand Prix titles, starting with the 1992 China Open. After winning the China Open, Mainaky and Subagja strung together a hat trick of victories that included the 1992 World Grand Prix Finals.
At the start of 1993, Mainaky and Subagja kicked the year off with a title victory at the 1993 Swedish Open. In July, the pair won back-to-back victories at the 1993 Malaysia Open and the 1993 Indonesia Open.
1994 was a successful year for the pair on the Grand Prix circuit. Mainaky and Subagja bagged six titles, including the 1994 World Grand Prix Finals. After the Grand Prix Finals, the pair kicked 1995 off with a bang by winning the 1995 Korea Open. They followed their title victory up with wins at the All England, Japan Open, and Singapore Open.
In 1996, Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja successfully defended their Japan Open title. They did the same with their All-England crown after winning the 1996 All England. Between 1997 and 1999, four more titles became additions to the pair’s trophy cabinet, including two back-to-back Indonesian Open titles.
World Cup Success
Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja participated in the Badminton World Cup on five occasions. The duo won three times at the prestigious badminton championship event.
Mainaky and Subagja took home their first World Cup title in 1993. At the 1993 Badminton World Cup, the pair breezed through the men’s doubles event. Reaching the finals, the duo bested China’s Chen Kang and Chen Hongyong in a match that went the distance.
After winning the World Cup in 1993, Mainaki and Subagja won the title again in 1995. The Indonesian pair defeated Thailand’s Sakrapee Thongsari and Pramote Teerawiwatana, bringing their World Cup title record to two.
In 1996, Rexy Mainaky and Subagja set out to defend their World Cup title. Sadly, they came up short after losing to their compatriots Antonius Ariantho and Denny Kantono in the finals.
Hungry for redemption, Mainaky and Subagja took part in the 1997 World Cup. Breezing to the finals, the pair faced South Korea’s Lee Dong Soo and Yoo Yong Sung. In a match that went three games, Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja proved to be the better team, winning their third World Cup title!
World Championship Performances
Rexy Mainaky won the World Championship with Ricky Subagja in 1995. At the 1995 IBF World Championships, Mainaky and Subagja dominated the men’s doubles event. Upon reaching the finals, they faced the Danish team of Job Holst Christensen and Thomas Lund.
Mainaky and Subagja made short work of their Danish opponents, defeating them in straight sets. The victory made Mainaky and Subagja World Champions.
The pair attempted to duplicate the feat at the 1997 IBF World Championships. Unfortunately, Mainaky and Subagja lost in the semifinals, meaning they had to settle for bronze.
1996 Olympic Gold
Mainaky and Subagja qualified for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA. The pair advanced to the finals, besting other teams in the men’s doubles event.
In the finals, they faced Malaysia’s Kim Hock Yap and Soon Kit Cheah. The match went back and forth as both teams won one game each. However, Mainaky and Subagja dug deep to win the third game.
Winning the finals match, Mainaki and Subagja scored a historic victory by winning the 1996 Olympics.
2000 Asian Championships, Retirement, and 2009 Induction
Mainaky decided to retire in 2000. Before hanging up his racket, he played one last time at the 2000 Asian Championships. This time, he paired up with Tony Gunawan instead of his long-time partner Ricky Subagja.
Gunawan and Mainaky defeated Malaysia’s Tan Fook Choong and Wan Wah Lee in the finals. The victory was the perfect swan song to a decade-long career laden with titles and accolades. After the victory, Mainaky finally bowed out of the sport.
In 2009, Rexy Mainaky was immortalized with his induction into the BWF Hall of Fame.
Rexy Mainaky: Unrivaled in Men’s Doubles Badminton
Not every player can leave the sport having won every major title. By achieving this feat, Rexy Mainaky truly deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame.
Will we see another men’s doubles player match or outdo Rexy Mainaky’s achievements? Time will tell. All we can do is sit back and watch the games and rankings.
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