Greysia’s farewell party is at Istora on the last day of the Indonesia Masters – the rumours are true; she is finally hanging up her racket. It is a chance for Indonesian badminton fans to celebrate her successes and for her to put an official full stop to a wonderful career.
“I was born to be a badminton player…I wanted to make history for Indonesia”Greysia Polii
GreyAp’s Gold medal match at the Olympics was dazzling; they played their best game at the perfect moment and wrote themselves into Indonesian badminton legend.
2021 was the Golden Year but there have been countless twists and turns in a lifetime of badminton achievements. There have been critical moments along the way when she could have given up the sport and found a conventional job. The thing about Greysia is that she really does live the motto #Comebackstronger: she is brave and resilient. If she gets knocked down, she just gets back up again, greets the hard tests with a smile and continues the fight
It must have been tempting to walk away from the sport following her harsh treatment at London 2012. The black card was a shocking sanction especially with a suspension on top, but she endured this and then rekindled her career with Nitya Krishinda Maheswari.
Between 2013-2016 the duo stepped up a level and proved that Indonesia’s WD had the quality to compete against the best. Their 2014 Asian Games gold was evidence they relished testing themselves against the world’s finest pairs. Over the next 2 years they consistently reached finals and semis; as the Rio Olympics loomed, they were ranked 2 in the world with every hope of a medal. Disappointingly their 100% record in the group stages was shattered in the QF, and they returned home empty handed.
Nitya’s injuries meant her career was at an end so for a second time Greysia contemplated her own exit. It was a pivotal moment; her 30th birthday was on the horizon, and there was no obvious partner for her to continue with. At this point fate took a hand in the form of Eng Hian who persuaded her to defer retirement so that she could help to mentor some of the juniors. In 2017 along came a young, raw Apriyani Rahayu. Success together came quickly (2017 Thailand Open and 2017 French Open) but it was a sector full of high caliber pairs and they were never able to totally dominate , after a couple of years some analysts believed they were reaching the limit of what they could achieve together.
History tells us that the analysts were wrong and they completely underestimated Greysia Polii’s fighting spirit and commitment to her sport. She is an athlete who is strong and smart and will always be remembered as Indonesia’s first WD Olympic Gold medalist. I still cry when I watch the end of that match, don’t you? Thanks for everything Greysia and Happy Retirement.
If you enjoyed this then read my article about the Olympic campaign https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2021/08/12/brilliant-polii-and-rahayu-win-olympic-gold/ or watch the match on YouTube
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