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Ahris Sumariyanto cools down after winning the men’s strokeplay gold.
Indonesian woodball player achieves golden dream

02 Oct 2016
Danang, Vietnam, October 2, 2016: No matter the scale of the games, gold is gold – and Indonesia’s Ahris Sumariyanto was on top of the world at the Asian Beach Games on Sunday. He had just won the men’s woodball strokeplay event at a sun-drenched Son Thuy Beach, and his achievement meant as much to him as Olympic gold.“I love it,” he said, “because I have achieved my dream. This is my third Asian Beach Games and I really wanted to win this gold medal. “I just kept fighting and fighting and praying and praying every time because number one is my God and I am number two.”

When the popular Indonesian completed his final round of six gates (woodball’s equivalent of a hole in golf) in 25 strokes for a total of 138 to clinch top spot, he was congratulated by members of the Hong Kong team before tearful hugs with his Indonesian team-mates. “The players here are all my friends,” he added. “Hong Kong, Malaysia, Korea…they all supported me, and India also. I love India. They are all my friends.”The beach woodball course was quite a spectacle on a baking hot morning, set against the breaking waves of the sea and blue skies. Using a mallet as opposed to a club, but hitting the ball along narrow, sandy fairways with a golf swing as opposed to croquet-style, the aim of the game is to send each gate swinging rather than holing a putt. There were two courses laid out, both of six gates.

Sumariyanto finished one shot ahead of Thailand’s Jetsada Cheenkurd, who took the silver with 139. Korea’s Kim Pyo Hwan was third on 150 after hitting the day’s joint best score of 23. The women’s individual strokeplay title went to Vietnam’s Phung Thi Thuong, who won a countback with Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Fang-yu after both players finished on 147. Indonesia’s Ika Yulianingsih took the bronze with a score of 149.

“I am very excited, very happy, to win this gold medal,” said Phung, after shooting a best-of-the-day 20. “I won the gold medal in the team event at Phuket two years ago, but this is my first individual gold. When I play in other countries I feel quite nervous, but here at home I do not worry and I play better.”

She said she started playing woodball four years ago because it was a sport suitable for all ages, so winning the gold medal at just 18 years old means she will be a force to be reckoned with for many games to come.
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