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Jakarta Post

SEA Games: Greysia celebrates first gold after 14 years as young guns shine

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, December 11, 2019   /   11:32 am
SEA Games: Greysia celebrates first gold after 14 years as young guns shine Indonesian women’s badminton doubles pair Apriyani Rahayu (left) and Greysia Polii pose atop the podium while carrying the red-and-white flag after winning a gold medal at the 2019 Southeast Asia (SEA) Games in Manila on Monday. The medal is Greysia’s first SEA Games gold since making her SEA Games debut in 2005. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

Veteran shuttler Greysia Polii has won her first Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold since making her SEA Games debut 14 years ago.

In Monday’s women’s doubles final Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu defeated Chayanit Chaladchalam and Phataimas Muenwong of Thailand 21-3, 21-18.

Greysia, 32, the senior of Apriyani, 21, went one better than her previous SEA Games best of silver. In her SEA Games career, Greysia has now picked up one gold to go with her three silvers, which she won at 2013 Games with Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and at the 2007 and 2005 Games with Jo Novita.

“After 14 years, I have finally won a gold medal. I’m really happy about it, and I hope it can motivate us to play better in the future,” Greysia said in a statement.

“I have been keen [to win gold] as I have competed at the SEA Games for so many years. I’m glad I’ve achieved it,” she added.

Greysia and Apriyani’s gold was Indonesia’s third badminton gold at the 2019 Games after Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti’s gold in the mixed doubles and the men’s squad’s gold in the team competition.

Indonesia has also won two silver medals from Ruselli Hartawan in the women’s singles and the women’s squad in the team competition.

Rounding out Indonesia’s badminton medal tally are two bronze from Wahyu Nayaka and Ade Yusuf Santoso in the men’s doubles and Rinov Rivaldy and Phita Haningtyas Mentari in the mixed doubles.

Men’s doubles national coach Herry Iman Pierngadi said his shuttlers had competed to the best of their abilities.

“In terms of the technical side, [Wahyu and Ade] did their best and put on a good show. The drift on the court was their main challenge. I know they lost, but they have grown a lot in terms of how they play,” said Herry of the youngsters.

Indonesian has long counted on its men’s doubles duos when it comes to international competitions, being blessed world-class pairs such as Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon as well as Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan.

For the 2019 SEA Games, however, Indonesia decided to give the seniors a spell on the sidelines so some rising stars players could take the main stage. Wahyu and Ade are among the shuttlers being groomed to take their seniors’ place when the time comes.

Herry said Wahyu and Ade had the potential to be as good as their seniors.

“Their play has almost caught up with their seniors. However, they, especially Ade, need to increase their power and endurance to be more consistent,” he added.

The coach, however, was not happy with the Games’ top seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, who exited the competition in the quarterfinals.

“Fajar and Rian's performances declined during the Games. They need to fix everything – technically and mentally. If they don’t immediately get themselves together, Wahyu and Ade, and even Leo [Rolly Carnando] and Daniel [Marthin], could surpass them.

“[Fajar and Rian] are already ranked in the [world’s] top five, but they did not play like that at the Games. I’m really disappointed in them,” he added.