Gold for Indonesia on Independence Day.Noc News
Date : 18 Aug 2016
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 17, 2016: A red and black hurricane on the court – supported by a red and white wall of noise in the stands – swept Indonesia, on the republic’s Independence Day, to the gold medal in the badminton mixed doubles at Riocentro Pavilion 4 on Wednesday afternoon. In the process, defeat for Malaysia kept the country waiting for its first gold medal in Olympic Games history.
Indonesia, represented by Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir, needed only 45 minutes to beat Malaysia’s Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying 21-14, 21-12. The Indonesians were much too intense and aggressive for the Malaysian duo, who appeared nervous and could not handle the relentless pressure of the Indonesians.
Clad in red shirts with black shorts, the Indonesians were roared on by a mass of red and white in the stands, many fans armed with red and white thunder stix and the distinctive red and white flag. The Malaysians enjoyed strong support, too, with fan clubs wearing yellow and black football-style shirts and others in the more familiar orange of the Malaysian Olympic team, as Rio was transformed into a proud corner of South East Asia.
Behind the powerful back-court smashes of Ahmad and the whiplash net play of Natsir, the Indonesians kept the scoreboard moving along, pouncing on the Malaysians’ short serve and applying constant pressure to produce unforced errors and occasionally disarray between their two rivals.
The Indonesian supporters sensed victory from an early stage and, as the points mounted, they filled the arena with cries of “O-le, o-le, o-le, o-le, Indo-nesia” as their Malaysian counterparts tried to rally their players. Ahmad paid tribute to the massed ranks of red and white fans in the stands.
“Our supporters were really amazing,” he said. “Today is our Independence Day and their spirit and support really helped us to win the final.” Shortly after their victory, Ahmad took a call from the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, who, as well as congratulating them, informed the pair that their prize money would not be taxed.
With Indonesia taking gold, Malaysia silver and China bronze through Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunei in an Asian 1-2-3, Natsir said it was a fair reflection of the state of international badminton. “I think in badminton the domination is spread out right now,” she said. “China is not dominating this time, and we believe in the Olympic Games anything can happen.
“We played against China in the semi-finals and we did not think about past results and winning or losing. It was the semi-finals of the Olympic Games so we were equal.”
*Malaysia’s badminton silver medal followed a bronze medal the previous day for three-time Olympian Azizulhasni Awang, who finished third in the men’s keirin at the Olympic Velodrome on Tuesday, August 16. Jason Kenny (GBR) won the gold, followed by Matthijs Buchli (NED) at +0.040 and Awang in bronze medal position at +0.085. It was Malaysia’s first medal in cycling at the Olympic Games.
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