Jakarta. Female athletes are leading in the Indonesian team at this year's Asian Games, having secured the country's first three gold medals with spectacular performances in taekwondo, wushu and cycling.
Indonesia hopes to win at least 16 gold medals to finish in the top 10 of the prestigious multisport event it is hosting.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Indonesia had five gold medals, two contributed by men — Khoiful Mukhib in the men's downhill race and Eko Yuli Irawan in the 62-kilogram men's weightlifting.
Taekwondo Athlete Defia Rosmaniar
Defia Rosmaniar won Indonesia's first gold in women's individual poomsae, defeating Iran's Marjan Salahshouri with a score of 8,690 - 8,470 in the final match on Sunday (19/09).
The 23-year-old from Bogor, West Java, began training taekwondo in 2007, after being encouraged by her brother to take up the sport. This is her first appearance at the Asian Games.
Defia won a gold medal at the 2018 Asia Taekwondo Championship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in May.
"I am grateful to all Indonesians who have shown their support for me, now I've become a champion. Thank you," Defia said, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
She said she dedicated the victory to her father, who has shown his relentless support for her to purse taekwondo. She added that her training in South Korea helped her win the competition.
Defia's win was witnessed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who attended Sunday's match at the Jakarta Convention Center.
Wushu Athlete Lindswell Kwok
Indonesia's second gold medal was won by 26-year-old Lindswell Kwok, who gave two winning performances in wushu.
She finished with 9.75 points in the taijijian and taijiquan event.
Shortly after the win, Jokowi called her "queen of Asia."
"Lindswell, Southeast Asia's wushu queen, has now become the queen of Asia," the president said on Twitter.
A native of Medan, North Sumatra, Lindswell started training wushu in 1999. She is one of Indonesia's best athletes, having won five world championship titles and four Southeast Asian Games championships in a row since 2011.
Lindswell, who won a silver medal at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, said she has been planning to retire, however, she wanted to win a gold medal for Indonesia at the 2018 Asian Games.
"This will be my last Asian Games … I've been doing wushu since I was a small child, so I can't just simply let go. Whenever I see someone training or competing, I want to do it too, but now I need to rest," Lindswell said.
She said she hopes the time off will help heal her wounded knees. She also plans to become a coach to help Indonesian wushu athletes triumph on the international stage.
Mountain Biker Tiara Andini Prastika
Tiara Andini Prastika presented Indonesia a gold medal in the women's downhill event on Monday, finishing in 2 minutes and 33.056 seconds.
"This is my first gold at the Asian Games. I am very happy, all my hard work has paid off," Tiara said after the competition.
She took up the sport as a 16-year-old living in Semarang, Central Java. According to team coach Benny Setyawan, Tiara is considered the best female downhill athlete in Asia.
The Union Cycliste Internationale, the world governing body for sports cycling, ranks Tiara as 16th in women's downhill cycling.
The 22-year-old won a gold medal at the 2015 Asian Championships in Malaysia and finished third at the 2018 Asian Continental Championships in the Philippines, despite being injured during the competition.
Tiara only decided to become a professional cyclist last year, when she left her studies in accounting and signed a contract with Indonesian bike maker Patrol.
Tiara hopes her victory will help inspire younger Indonesian athletes.
"I want junior athletes to be motivated further to rise up in the ranks, continue to practice diligently and be inspired to catch up with their seniors," she said.
Additional reporting by Amal Ganesha.