Despite the 10-year-gap, the Indonesian women's doubles pair cooperate well, while maintaining the balance of senior and junior status in one partnership.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Champion athletes are not only about their on-field skills but also about how they demonstrate ethos, spirit, perseverance, determination, and hard work while off the field, Jaya Raya Development Foundation Chairman Agus Lukita stated.

Lukita made the statement as she believes it is the key to the gold medal win achieved by the Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu pair at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Monday, Aug 2.

Lukita noted that the two athletes, coached at the Jaya Raya Badminton Association, have a champions outlook to make history as the first Indonesian women's doubles to deliver the highest achievement at the Olympics.

Polii-Rahayu also saved Indonesia from the golden paceklik, or the loss to the gold medal moment.

It was since earlier hopes were pinned high on gold medals being won in the men's doubles, with Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Hendra Setiawan-Mohammad Ahsan as the players.

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Several people had forecast an All-Indonesian Final to take place in the men's doubles after the two pairs were placed on a different track chart in the knockout phase of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Unfortunately, the result was far from satisfactory. The Sukamuljo-Gideon pair got eliminated in the quarter finals after losing to Malaysian pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yok in straight games, 14-21, 17-21.

The Setiawan-Ahsan pair lost to Chinese Taipei badminton duo Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin in the semifinals in two straight games, 11-21, 10-21.

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Indonesia's hopes of winning bronze in the men's doubles were dashed when the Chia-Soh pair gave a tough fight to the Indonesian duo. Setiawan-Ahsan lost 21-17, 17-21, 14-21 in the bronze medal match.

Since then, Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu, as the women's doubles pair, took it upon themselves to register a victory.

They were keen to bag a gold medal from Tokyo for home. The Polii-Rahayu pair was able to fulfill the dream after defeating Chinese pair Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan in straight sets 21-19, 21-15 in the gold medal game.

Solid ethos and accurate combination

Polii-Rahayu's technical abilities are unquestionable, but their success to be on the highest podium of the Tokyo Olympics was owing to have cultivated high ethos since early on.

"We have to say this success is all due to their hard work. Yes, they both started from the Jaya Raya Badminton Association, but after growing up, they rose to the international level. That is the fruit of their persistence," Lukita affirmed.

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Lukita revealed both Polii and Rahayu have always nurtured good ethos. Not only do they demonstrate their principles during play, but they also live by them when off the field.

Jaya Raya Badminton Association, as the club that became their starting point, also instills the values of sportsmanship, integrity, and perseverance in athletes.

"At the Jaya Raya Badminton Association, we also instill high ethos among athletes. We direct them to keep studying at school, so they are diligent not just when they train. We, from the club, have always cultivated it," Lukita pointed out.

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He also viewed the pairing of Polii-Rahayu as the right combination. Polii is a 33-year-old badminton player, while Rahayu, 23, is more junior.

Despite the 10-year-gap, the Indonesian women's doubles pair cooperate well, while maintaining the balance of senior and junior status in one partnership.

"Champions are those who have more values not only from their physical and technical skills but also their attitude," he added.

Lukita believes junior athletes can stand to learn a lot from seniors while competing. He cited the example of Gideon, who at the start of his career had paired with Marquis Kido.

"Gideon's career took off, and after Kido had started to retire in his career, Gideon's skills matured. This beneficial pattern should be applied in Indonesian sports," he pointed out.

Jaya Raya Badminton Association Daily Chairwoman Imelda Wiguna, who is also a legend in Indonesian badminton, echoed a similar viewpoint. In fact, she is optimistic that Polii would continue her career, at least until Rahayu gets the right new partner.

"The process is not fast. It needs adjustment. Polii was paired with other athletes before finally being with Rahayu," Wiguna told Antara on Monday, Aug 2.

Eng Hian's expertise

Wiguna observed that the success delivered by the Polii-Rahayu pair could not be separated from the role of the women's doubles coach, Eng Hian. His expertise in badminton was one driving force that united the two players, with a huge age gap.

Even long before the Tokyo Olympics, Polii was in fact keen to quit badminton or retire after failing to bring home medals from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil in 2016.

At that time, Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, who was Polii's partner, suffered a serious shoulder injury and had to undergo surgery. The incident made Polii think about ending her career. However, Eng Hian forbade her. He convinced Polii to get a new partner instead.

In 2017, Hian chose Apriyani Rahayu as Polii's new partner for the women's doubles. Wiguna praised Hian's patience and dedication to coach them, which eventually culminated in a gold medal win for the pair at the Tokyo Olympics.

"I am grateful to Eng Hian for honing the skills of Polii and Rahayu. We also thank the PBSI (Indonesian Badminton Association). Hopefully, in future sports events, it will be even better. Polii's and Rahayu's victory will certainly offer encouragement to all athletes, especially the Jaya Raya Badminton Association's athletes," Wiguna stated.

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After pairing up in 2017, Polii-Rahayu have encountered numerous challenges in their journey. From Wiguna's observations, they endured numerous difficulties together until eventually becoming harmonious. On the other hand, Hian continues to guide them.

On this occasion, Wiguna praised Rahayu for demonstrating rapid development.

She believes the 23-year-old athlete has tremendous passion and motivation.

"Rahayu has confidence. Her durability is outstanding. The opponents also have difficulty shutting down Polii-Rahayu's game," she remarked.

Rahayu’s performance at the Tokyo Olympics outdid her expectations. The pair really worked together in mutual cooperation with trust to achieve one goal.

"Rahayu's cooperation enables Polii to play freely and to focus on her game or not worry about her pair so much. The two trust each other, so they can focus on each other's performance," Wiguna stated.


It was a historic win. Polii and Rahayu fell to the floor with tears in their eyes. The pair was joyfully moved on having made history by winning the first medal in the women's doubles badminton event for Indonesia.

The two champions received a heroes' welcome. President Joko Widodo, ministers, representatives of the House, artists, celebrities, leaders of political parties, companies’ chiefs, and regional heads celebrated the success.

Material rewards in the form of houses, land, and cash from several parties are awaiting them.

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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