Indonesia is giving a pair of gold medalist athletes a slew of gifts, including cash and cows, after they upset China in badminton women’s doubles final in the Olympics.
Greysia Polii, 33, and Apriyani Rahayu, 23, captured the first gold for Indonesia in the Tokyo Olympics after defeating former world champions China’s Chen Qing Chen and Jia Yi Fan 21-19 21-15 on Monday.
The government will give 5 billion rupiah ($349,000) cash prize to the winners – a reward that was put in place as Indonesia’s badminton association reported a COVID-linked drop in people taking up the sport, Reuters reported.
According to the report, the district head in Apriyani’s hometown of Sulawesi island promised her five cows and a house. While a chain of meatball restaurants vowed to give them both a venue.
In her Badminton World Federation profile, Greysia’s sporting ambitions included being an Olympic gold medalist. She nearly retired from the sport after the Rio Games where she reached the quarterfinals, but was convinced by Apriyani to compete in another Olympics.
“I am so humbled by this achievement, words still cannot express how grateful i am, how thankful i am to the one who actually gave this opportunity, God,” Greysia wrote on her Instagram page, adding that she hopes the win can “lift the spirt” during the pandemic.
Apriyani, who with Greysia are ranked No. 6 in the world, expressed gratitude toward Indonesian people.
“Thank you also to the Indonesian people who have always supported us, prayed for us, and gave us positive energy.
WE LOVE YOU!,” she said on Instagram.
Badminton is the only sport where Indonesia has won gold. Following their victory, Indonesian president Joko Widodo tweeted that the pair had a “tough and thrilling match” and their win was a gift ahead of Indonesia’s independence anniversary.