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Five cows and a house: Indonesia shows its love to badminton gold medallists

Five cows, a meatball restaurant and a new house. Those are just some of the prizes promised to Indonesian badminton gold medallists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu when they return home from Tokyo.

Five cows and a house: Indonesia shows its love to badminton gold medallists

Tokyo Olympics women's doubles gold medallists Greysia Polii (left) and Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia pose with their medals at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza on Aug 2, 2021. (File photo: Reuters/Leonhard Foeger)

JAKARTA: Five cows, a meatball restaurant and a new house. Those are just some of the prizes promised to Indonesian badminton gold medallists Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu when they return home from Tokyo.

Southeast Asia's biggest country is badminton-crazy, and the sport has produced all of its golds since being added to the Olympic programme in 1992.

Women's pair Greysia and Apriyani defeated China's Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan 21-19, 21-15 on Monday (Aug 2), giving Indonesia its first gold of the Tokyo Games.

At a time when the country's badminton association is reporting a COVID-19-linked drop in people taking up the sport, the government quickly stepped in with a 5 billion rupiah (US$349,000) cash award - and the pair have since been showered with more gifts.

The district head in Apriyani's hometown on Sulawesi island promised her five cows and a house, while a chain of meatball restaurants pledged to give them both their own outlet.

READ: Indonesia breaks Chinese stranglehold in badminton women's doubles

Celebrations went viral on social media, with a meme in which a Twitter user switches places with Greysia when she changes her racket receiving 37,800 likes.

In a message on Twitter, President Joko Widodo said that the pair's "tough and thrilling" victory was a gift ahead of the country's independence day on Aug 17.

Imelda Wigoeno, a former player and an official at the pair's club, said: "It does take victors like (Greysia and Apriyani) to bring more attention to women's sports."

Broto Happy, a badminton association spokesperson, said that the pair's win came at a time when recruitment of new players had stalled because the coronavirus had shut down competitions.

"This is the sign of love from badminton lovers in Indonesia to the new winners," he said of the nationwide celebrations.

Greysia, 33, said on the Badminton World Federation's website: "I was born to be a badminton player. And I had that faith when I was just 13, that I wanted to make history for Indonesia."

Catch the Olympics Games Tokyo 2020 LIVE with 14 dedicated channels on meWATCH. Sign in now at mewatch.sg/tokyo2020 and get into the action with Mediacorp, Singapore’s Olympics Network. 

Source: Reuters/kg

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