The Jakarta Post
In her colorful swimming suit Syuci Indriani waved to the crowd at the Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Center with a big smile after finishing third in the S14 category of the women’s 200-meter freestyle on Sunday afternoon, the second day of the 2018 Asian Para Games.
The 17 year-old Syuci bagged the bronze medal after clocking a time of 2:20.80, Just seconds behind Kitano Amisa from Japan who finished in 2:19.30, and Inoue Mami, a Japanese swimmer who won the gold in 2:17.66.
She also broke her own personal record of 2 minutes 22 seconds, which she set in the morning’s heat.
It was the first medal achieved by the nation’s para swimming team since Asia’s largest multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities commenced on Saturday night.
“I think this is really great. I’ve done my best for my country, and I’m really grateful for it,” Syuci told the media after the final.
She said swimmers from Japan and China were her toughest opponents.
“Japan and China were my competitors, but honestly my toughest opponent is myself,” she added.
Despite her young age, Syuci is not new to international competition.
In 2016 Syuci was named as the Best Young Swimmer by the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) based on her outstanding performance at a competition held by the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS).
Syuci, who was 15-years old at the time, won 14 gold medals at the competition. She is optimistic she can win more gold medals at the Para Games.
“Tomorrow I will compete in the 100 meter breast stroke. This is my favorite category […] I’m fully prepared. I have trained enough to get the gold. The important thing is I’ll do my best for Indonesia,” she said.
Three Indonesians have made it through to finals so far. Besides Syuci, Zulkarnain Zaki and Guntur Guntur both competed in the men’s 50 m freestyle S8 category final.
However both did not manage to win a spot on the podium, with Zulkarnain finishing fifth and Guntur seventh.
Sunday’s competition at the aquatic center was dominated by athletes from China, who bagged six golds, followed by Japan with four golds and Uzbekistan with two golds.
Indonesia was the fifth most successful for the day, collecting one gold, one silver and one bronze. It total, China secured 10 golds, five silvers and three bronzes, followed by Japan with four golds, four silvers and seven bronzes. Uzbekistan finished with two golds and two silvers.