ASIAN GAMES Finals – Christie’s first and the long-awaited gold medal

Jonatan Christie won the biggest title of his career while the “Minions” won gold after an amazing match.  Unfortunately, P. V. Sindhu was still not able to break her jinx […]

Jonatan Christie won the biggest title of his career while the “Minions” won gold after an amazing match.  Unfortunately, P. V. Sindhu was still not able to break her jinx in major finals, as she was beaten by Tai Tzu Ying.

Story: Naomi Indartiningrum, Badzine Correspondent live in Jakarta
Photos: Raphael Sachetat  / Badmintonphoto (live)

Almost exactly one year after making SEA Games gold the biggest result of his career, Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie (pictured above) did one better by winning the men’s singles gold medal in the 2018 .  In the final at Istora Senayan, Christie – who has yet to title at a event above an International Challenge – conquered Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen after a 70-minute battle.

It was not easy for Christie to be the champion.  Five of his previous seven matches in the team and individual competitions at these Asian Games had to be completed in three games, two of them running at least 90 minutes.

There was a little luck for the 20-year-old athlete because some of the top players were already out in the early rounds but he certainly did his part, indeed starting the trend with his ouster of top seed Shi Yuqi.  On the other hand, Christie was more favoured because he had a 4-0 winning record against the world #6 Chou Tien Chen (pictured right).

“Indeed, I know it was not easy but it was apparent from the beginning that my opponent was nervous.  His hand was a bit cold.  Maybe he was under pressure and looked a bit tired because the semi-final match yesterday was hard too,” Christie said.

“The meaning of this victory is that I know this is a blessing from God because before these Asian Games I really felt down.  I’ve tried my best but for some reason it didn’t work and now that I have got out of the rut and won this one, I am very happy and have proven that I can still get a prestigious title,”  he admitted.

With this result, Christie also became the first Indonesian singles player to win gold since Taufik Hidayat won his second at the 2006 Asian Games.  It also became Indonesia’s seventh gold in Asian Games history from the men’s singles category.

Minions’ thrilling win

In the other final match, representatives of Indonesia created another brilliant achievement.  Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo / Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (pictured right) managed to add gold medal, defeating their compatriots Fajar Alfian / Muhammad Rian Ardianto, 13-21, 21-18, 24-22.

Although it was an all-Indonesian final, neither pair was going to let slip the chance at the prestige of becoming Asian Games champions, particularly in front of the home crowd.  Both went all-out and brought high-level games, playing at a fast tempo.  Both pairs took turns in dealing out attacks both steep and flat.

Alfian/Ardianto appeared the most impressive in the opening game.  Besides showing a solid defense, they were also aggressive in attacking their compatriots, who have earned the nickname of the “Minions”.  But in the second game, the world #1 staged their comeback.  Mercilessly, they finished the second game with a 21-18 victory.

In the third game, the All England champions played more tactically.  After the interval, Alfian/Ardianto had a 16-11 lead, but with their experience, Sukamuljo/Gideon forced the match to continue, saving a match point to send the game into extra points, where they closed it out with a 24-22 victory.

“Praise God that We can win today.  Judging from the score in the third game, I felt like I’d lost hope,” Marcus said.  “However, when the match entered the final points, we were more fortunate.”

“Today I was able to win it because of a miracle.  We were far behind in the third game.  They were truly extraordinary, beyond our expectations.  They played very well,” said Sukamuljo.

Sindhu’s silver streak continues

In the other final match, India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured below) again had to be content to win a silver medal at a major final, a third this year after the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships.

This time, the 3rd seed had to cede the gold medal to none other than Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying (pictured right).  The world #1 won the women’s singles final 21-13, 21-16.

Despite having lost many important matches in the final, Sindhu denied that was a factor in her loss: “I felt no pressure.  The result is okay but more important is to give your 100 per cent and the result showed it.  That is all that I felt.  Overall it was a good tournament,” Sindhu said.

“If I had been able to do a better job of keeping the shuttle in, it could have been different.  It was not easy to take points from her because her defense was so good,” Sindhu added.

With this result, China took the most gold from the Asian Games badminton events in 2018 with 3, in addition to 1 silver and 2 bronze medals.  Hosts Indonesia had more overall, as to their 2 gold they added 2 silver and 4 bronze medals.  Chinese Taipei had their best Games ever in badminton, with their first ever gold and first ever silver, in addition to 2 bronze.

Tuesday final results:
MS:  Jonatan Christie (INA) beat Chou Tien Chen (TPE) [4]  21-18, 20-22, 21-15
WS:  Tai Tzu Ying (TPE) [1] beat Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (IND) [3]  21-13, 21-16
MD:  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon / Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) [1] beat Fajar Alfian / Muhammad Rian Ardianto (INA)  13-21, 21-18, 24-22

Click here for complete results

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Naomi Indartiningrum

About Naomi Indartiningrum

Naomi began as a Badzine Correspondent in 2015, while still a Business Management student living in Jakarta. A badminton enthusiast since 2007, she mostly spends her spare time writing about local badminton events and also maintaining one of largest badminton twitter accounts in Indonesia.