Bittersweet story of Apriani, the Olympic Gold Medalist

Apriyani Rahayu’s success in winning gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics cannot be separated from the role of her parents and hard work. Together with her tandem, Greysia Polii, she got the medal after defeating Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan (China) in the women’s doubles final.

Greysia/Apriyani won two straight games over Chen/Jia 21-19, 21-15 in the match which took place at Field 1 Musashino, Forest Sport Plaza, Monday (2/8/2021) noon. Thanks to this victory, Greysia/Apriyani also made history. They became the first Indonesian women’s doubles to win Olympic gold.

Behind Apriyani Rahayu’s achievements in the Olympics, there is hard work and the role of parents that accompanies it. It is said that Apriyani’s father, Ameruddin, started badminton training at the Unahaa Joint Activities Facility (SKB), Southeast Sulawesi. The building, according to Ameruddin, is nine kilometers from his house.

Every time Apriyani left and came home from practice, Ameruddin always took and picked up the child, but he only followed behind on a motorbike. Meanwhile, Apriyani goes to and from the training ground by running. “So she ran from home to SKB, I rode a motorbike. Likewise, whens he finished training, she came home from SKB every afternoon”, Ameruddin said by telephone.

In 2005, Apriyani started participating in sub-district badminton tournaments. A year later, she participated in a junior badminton competition at the Konawe Regency level. Apriyani continued to train until finally she performed well in several matches at the provincial level. Apriyani then joined the PB Pelita Bakrie club under the guidance of Indonesian badminton legend, Icuk Sugiarto, in West Jakarta, on September 3, 2011. She was rejected at first, but with the efforts of one of the Konawe representative office employees, Icuk Sugiarto finally accepted her.

In 2017, Apriyani, who only had a racket and pocketed Rp 200 thousand in cash, went to trainer Eng Hian to train at the Cipayung National Training (Pelatnas), Jakarta. Since then, Apriyani has started playing at the senior level and is paired with Greysia Polii.

“Only Apri came to me when I entered national training, she only came with a racket and Rp 200,00 (around $20) in hand. She said she wants to be a champion, it’s up to me what program I wanted to give, she is ready,” said Eng Hian after Greysia/Apriyani won the 2020 Daihatsu Indonesia Masters.

Apriyani Rahayu then continued to show her persistence even though she had already won various achievements at the senior level. Eng Hian himself has high hopes for Apriyani and Greysia in order to achieve the highest achievement, namely the Olympics. “My hope is that they won’t just be satisfied, the struggle isn’t over yet. After the match, I won’t say anything because after winning, I’ll start from zero again,” he said at the time.

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