Indonesian women’s badminton duo Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu brought home the gold medal after a win against China’s Jia Yifan and Chen Qingchen at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Gold win: Like the Taiwanese duo in another division, Polii and Rahayu swept the game with a 2-0 victory against their Chinese opponent at the badminton court in Musashino Forest Sport Plaza on Monday, according to NBC Olympics.
- The Indonesian pair won the first game 21-19 but had a mishap on the second round when Polii’s racket broke. Rahayu managed to hold the line as she ran to the sideline to get a new one. The duo still took victory 21-15.
- The win on Monday marks Polii’s first medal since her three Olympic appearances.
- Polii and Rahayu’s gold medal win is Indonesia’s first gold at the Tokyo Games and their eighth total in Olympics history, New York Times reported.
- The duo also made history on Monday as they became the first unseeded players to win women’s doubles in badminton.
- Polii was preparing to retire after the 2016 Rio Games, but her partner convinced her to play one more Olympics before hanging the racket.
- “The wait for gold ended this afternoon,” Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo said on social media. “This win is Indonesia’s independence gift two weeks early.”
- Indonesia’s badminton duo teams often come from mixed religious backgrounds. Polii is a Christian, while Rahayu comes from a Muslim family.
Why are they so good: Badminton is considered Indonesia’s national sport, where shuttlers can play their favorite sport at any place and time.
- Not only has the country produced talented players, but it also has a dedicated fan base that supports its athletes, win or lose, Aljazeera reported.
- “There are times when our national teams do not win as we expected but I will always be there for them,” Cindy Susanti, a 33-year-old photographer, said. “I will always be a proud supporter.”
- “In our country, badminton is the only sport that has a national training center,” Broto Happy, the Indonesian Badminton Association (PBSI) spokesman, said. “We also have dormitories. So our badminton players could train there without any interruption all year long. Even during a pandemic. All they had to do was focus on their training.”
- Indonesia, not just at the Olympics, has also brought home gold medals from other international events, such as the Thomas Cup, badminton’s most prestigious tournament, with 13 victories.
- The Southeast Asian country also ranked fourth in the overall wins at the All England Championships with 48 titles.
Featured Image via KOMPASTV