Jakarta. Jonatan Christie won a gold medal for Indonesia on Tuesday (29/08) by taking down Thailand's Khosit Phetpradab in the badminton men's singles final at the Southeast Asian Games.
Jonatan overcame his opponent in only 37 minutes, winning in straight games 21-19 and 21-10 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
He encountered a strong challenge from Khosit in the first set, which was a tight display between the two. The Thai was close to leveling up with the scoreboard on 20-19, but the 19-year-old Indonesian sealed the game with a smash his opponent was unable to reach.
Jonatan did not allow Khosit any chances in the second set and left the Thai with only 10 points.
"To be honest, in the first set I was nervous because I knew that I was the only Indonesian in the final," Jonatan said, as quoted on the official website of the Indonesian Badminton Federation (PBSI).
"When I was leading by 20-17 in the first set, the direction of the wind changed and I had to adapt," he added.
Jonatan's gold medal is Indonesia's second in badminton at this year's games. The first was won in the men's team event last week.
Worst Record Since 1977
Thailand has dominated badminton at this year's SEA Games, surprising Indonesia, which has traditionally been superior in the sport since 1977.
The Thais have won four gold, two silver and four bronze medals, making them the best performers in Malaysia, with Indonesia in second place with two gold and four bronze medals.
Thailand's strong onslaught has been unexpected, with the country winning the men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles in the grand finals on Tuesday. Host Malaysia managed to win gold in the women's singles event.
Thailand also won gold in the women's team event last week.
At the 2015 SEA Games, Thailand finished in third place behind leader Indonesia and second-placed Malaysia in the badminton medal tally.
"There's an obstacle; there will always be an obstacle; we can't use it as an excuse," said Susi Susanti, technical and development chief at the PBSI.
"Today we can't be a major winner, but we should look at it properly. Thailand and Malaysia both brought their full teams, while Indonesia, from the beginning, had to divide its players among two teams for the World Championships.
"We achieved our target in the World Championships, but we missed one gold medal at this year's SEA Games."
Susi said she just wants to move on, despite knowing that this has been Indonesia's worst badminton performance in four decades.
"Next year, we have the Uber and Thomas Cups; also the Asian Games. In the long-term, we have the Olympics; we are preparing from now on," she said.
Indonesia was No. 1 in badminton at the SEA Games between 1977 and 2015, before being overtaken by Thailand this year.