SEA GAMES – Indonesia awash in gold and silver

The SEA Games XXVI will soon be over but the main event, for badminton fans, has just concluded, with Indonesia, host of this biennial event, collecting 4 golds in the […]

The XXVI will soon be over but the main event, for badminton fans, has just concluded, with Indonesia, host of this biennial event, collecting 4 golds in the individual events and allowing Singapore to leave with one, in the hands of Fu Mingtian.

Story and photos: Ira Ratnati, live in Jakarta

The first and second gold already belonged to Indonesia before the matches begin, as Vita Marissa / Nadya Melati faced off against Anneke Feinya Agustine / Nitya Krishinda in the first of two all-Indonesian gold medal matches.  Anneke/Nitya beat the runners-up of the Indonesia Open Premier Super Series in straight games 21-19, 21-17.

“We never expected that we could win the gold medal.  We just trying our best,” Nitya said after the game. Anneke/NItya joined the squad only two weeks before the SEA Games opening ceremony.  Their inclusion was to replace Indonesia’s number one pair, Greysia Polii / Meiliana Jauhari who were unable to compete due to an injury to Greysia Polii.

The war between brothers was the feature of the second match of the day. Bona Septano, who only a few months ago overtook his older brother, Markis Kido, in the world rankings, did battle for the gold medal, playing  with Muhammad Ahsan against Kido and his long-time partner Hendra Setiawan.

Kido and Setiawan had previously shown they could keep up with young upstarts as they’d won their grudge quarter-final over Thailand’s Jongjit/Isara, who had embarrassed them in the team semi-final. They then followed that up by edging young Malaysians Goh/Lim in three.  Moving right along, the 2008 Olympic Gold medallists had a really hot start to the final but they failed to clinch the first game, as the younger brother won 25-23.  Then in the second game, Septano/Ahsan won easily  21-10.

“Maybe they were losing their stamina at the second game, so we won the second game more easily,” Bona said.  “I am really happy with this win because this is our first time to reach the gold medal final at this tournament, but no matter who won, my mom would be happy.”

The third gold was to belong to Singapore.  Fu Mingtian, the only finalist not from Indonesia or Thailand, beat Adriyanti Firdasari by 14-21, 21-12 and 22-20, thus becoming, by the narrowest of margins, the only non-Indonesian player to beat an Indonesian opponent for a gold medal.  More importantly, though, it was Singapore’s first SEA Games individual gold in nearly 30 years.

In the last two matches, Indonesia began to romp over Thailand. World number 4, Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir sent Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungtongkam home with silver medal; they won it easily 21-7, 21-14.

It was then up to Simon Santoso to defend his title.  He had won gold in Laos in 2009 and of course he would be keen to do it again at the fabled Istora.  However, he had to beat the 21-year-old Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, who was coming off his second win in a week over two-time gold medallist and crowd favourite Taufik Hidayat.

After Santoso clinched the first game 21-10, he lost the second 11-21. But he finally brought out the loud shouts and cheers, for which Jakarta crowds are so famous, when he won the third game 21-19.

Individual final results:
WD: Anneke Feinya Agustine / Nitya Krishinda (INA) bt Vita Marissa / Nadya Melati (INA) 21-19, 21-17
MD: Bona Septano / Muhammad Ahsan (INA) bt Markis Kido / Hendra Setiawan (INA) 25-23, 21-10
WS: Fu Mingtian (SIN) bt Adriyanti Firdasari (INA) 14-21, 21-12, 22-20
XD: Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) bt Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungtongkam (THA) 21-7, 21-14
MS: Simon Santoso (INA) bt Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (THA) 21-10, 11-21, 21-19

Medals Standing on Badminton
1.       Indonesia 5 Gold, 4 Silver, 2 Bronze
2.       Thailand 1 gold, 2 silver, 6 bronze
3.       Singapore 1 Gold, 0 Silver, 4 Bronze
4.       Malaysia 0 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

Click here for complete results

About Ira Ratnati