Jakarta. Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu won Indonesia’s first ever Olympic gold in badminton women’s doubles on Monday, completing the country’s success in all categories since the sport became a medal event at Barcelona 1992.
It was also the country’s first gold medal in Tokyo 2020 with the chance looking slimmer after Indonesian two men’s doubles pairs failed to advance and Anthony Ginting also lose in men’s singles semifinal.
In earlier Olympics, the best achievement by Indonesian women’s doubles pairs was quarterfinal spots.
It took 57 minutes for the Indonesian pair to beat China’s Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 21-19 21-15 at Musashino Forest Sports Plaza.
Greysia said she never expected to triumph in the sport’s biggest stage in the face of the Chinese duo who have beaten her and Apriyani six times in nine previous encounters.
“To be honest I still cannot believe that we are now Olympic champions. We only focused on winning every point we could, although we really wanted to write history in the Indonesian badminton,” a jubilant Greysia said.
When the final shuttle went wide, the Indonesian pair erupted in celebration but their opponents asked for a challenge.
“We were very nervous when they requested a challenge. But it was wide indeed and the last point was confirmed as ours. We hardly believed that and it was a mixed feeling because Korean and Chinese pairs are the strongest opponents,” she added.
President Joko "Jokowi” Widodo went to Instagram to congratulate the pair and describe their success as national celebration ahead of the country’s anniversary in a fortnight.
“The wait for the gold ends this afternoon. Indonesian women’s doubles pair Greysia Polii/Apriyani Rahayu won the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold in a fierce and nail-biting game,” Jokowi wrote above the photo of the players holding the Garuda symbol on their shirts in jubilation.
“This victory is a gift to Indonesia’s anniversary of the independence day two weeks from now. Congratulations and thank you Greysia/Apriyani!”
Badminton is Indonesia’s only source of Olympic gold medals so far, with Susy Susanti becoming the first medalist in women’s singles at Barcelona 1992. Her future husband, Alan Budikusuma, won the men’s singles title at the same Olympic.
Men’s doubles pairs were the most successful with three gold medals earned by Rexy Mainaky and Ricky Subagja at Atlanta 1996; Tony Gunawan and Candra Wijaya at Sydney 2000; and Hendra Setiawan and Markis Kido at Beijing 2008.
Taufik Hidayat won men’s singles title at Athens 2004 and Liliyana Natsir and Tontowi Ahmad triumphed in mixed doubles at Rio 2016.
The only Olympic Indonesia failed to win a badminton gold medal is London 2012.