The Jakarta Post
Indonesian athlete Alexander Elbert Sie’s goal of winning a gold medal in soft tennis was thwarted on Wednesday by South Korean Kim Jin-woong in a final match that ended 2-4.
Instead, Elbert will be going home with a silver medal.
“I have asked for gold and God gave me a silver instead. This has been God’s will. I thank you for the opportunity to finally reach the final round,” he said after Wednesday’s match.
Elbert’s injury became more apparent in the fourth set, when he was unable to reach the ball several times because of difficulties with his leg.
However, he was able to give his opponent a hard time, especially when he forced Kim to play extra time in the second and third sets.
Elbert then tried to bounce back in the fifth set, which he won 5-3, but conceded to Kim in the sixth set.
Commenting on his condition, Elbert acknowledged that he had to deal with cramps in his right leg.
“The cramped leg ruined my match. I apologize for not being able to present the gold medal for Indonesia,” he said.
Kim praised Elbert for his persistence and techniques, which had forced him to work hard and struggle for his victory.
“Elbert is a high-spirited player. I needed to work very hard to win the match,” he said.
The bronze medal in soft tennis went to Indonesian athlete Prima Simpatiaji and South Korean Kim Dong-hoon.
In the women’s side, Dwi Rahayu Pitri, who competed in the women single’s category, secured a bronze after being defeated by China Taipei’s Cheng Chuling with 2-4.
Indonesia Soft Tennis Association chief Martuama Saragih acknowledged that the results from this year’s Asian Games actually surpassed the association’s target.
“We won only one silver medal during the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, and today we earned ourselves a silver and two bronze medals. This is great,” he said.
He said that the country’s chances to win a gold medal was still wide open in the group category.
Soft tennis became an official competitive sport in Indonesia in 2013, and a year later the country sent its soft tennis athletes to the Asian Games.
Martuama acknowledged that another huge target for the sport is to have it competed in the next 2020 National Games (PON) in Papua.
“The 2016 National Games in West Java accommodated soft tennis for the exhibition. We expect that it will be competed in the next National Games,” he said.