The women’s badminton double team from Indonesia sent shockwaves when they won the Gold against China.
Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu beat China’s second seeds Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 21-19 21-15.
It was the first gold for Indonesia at the Tokyo Games. It is also the eighth in the country’s Olympic history.
China has been dominating badminton for decades.
China has won every women’s doubles gold except for two since badminton’s debut at the 1992 Games.
The first was in 1992 when they lost the gold to the South Korean team of Chung So-young and Hwang Hye-young.
The second and most recent time they did not return with a Gold was in 2016 Rio. Besides these two, China has usually dominated the badminton court.
However, the Indonesian team proved to be a formidable opponent against the Chinese “Great Wall”.
The Indonesian duo overwhelmed the former world champions from China by delivering precision strikes against their opponents.
The strikes and flutters left their opponents lunging in vain.
Toward the end of the match, Polii had to race off-court mid rally to change her racket because of a busted string but returned to win.
Indonesia’s first Women Doubles Gold
Indonesia has never won a gold medal in women’s doubles, which China has previously excelled in.
“People said, ‘You’re not going to make it. Indonesia doesn’t have a history in women’s doubles. Indonesia has never won gold in this event.” said a crying Polii, 33, whose Olympic dream began two decades ago.
“Here I am now.”
Polii was on the brink of retiring after the 2016 Rio Games. She reached the quarter-finals with Nitya Krishinda Maheswari. However, her teammate Rahayu persuaded her to continue. Rahayu is ten years her junior.
Polii and Rahayu clutched each other while singing the national anthem as the Indonesian flag was hoisted. In a moment of touching camaraderie, they invited the silver and bronze medallists to squeeze onto the gold podium for a picture.
This win is now South-East Asia’s third Gold this Olympic. The first came from Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz. The second one comes from pint-sized Taekwondo champion Panipak Wongpattanakit.
Above all, this has been a tremendous year for ASEAN. It will undoubtedly bring some cheer to a region that is still suffering from the dreaded Covid pandemic.