INDONESIA’S newly crowned Asian Games men’s singles badminton champion Jonatan Christie showed he has a heart of gold.
The 20-year-old pledged to donate part of his 1.5bil rupiah (RM420,000) windfall to Lombok earthquake victims shortly after defeating Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen 21-18, 20-22, 21-15 in 73 minutes to win the gold infront of his adoring fans at Istora Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta yesterday.
The monetary incentive is given by the Indonesian government for every gold medal won by the home athletes at the Games.
“I’ll keep some for savings. I’ll also treat my friends, family and my supporting team members, who helped me in my preparation,” said the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games champion.
“But, I’ll not forget those in need. I want to share the blessings I received from God with the earthquake victims in Lombok.”
Jonatan became the sixth Indonesian to win the Asiad men’s singles title after Taufik Hidayat (2002, 2006), Hariyanto Arbi (1994), Liem Swie King (1978), Ang Tjin Siang (1966) and Tan Joe Hok (1962).
The 28-year-old Tien-chen, who failed to become the first Taiwanese men’s singles champion at Asiad with the defeat said he would keep trying.
“I remember vividly the final in Guangzhou in 2010 where Lee Chong Wei lost to Lin Dan in the final,” said Tien-chen.
“Chong Wei has not given up until today. He’s my inspiration, my role model.”
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying kept Taiwan’s flag flying when she brushed aside P.V. Sindhu of India 21-13 21-16 in the women’s singles final.
“It’s a proud day for me to become the first gold medallist from Taiwan in badminton in Asiad,” said Tzu-ying.
The defeat was a big blow to Sindhu as she has now lost in all the four major finals – the 2016 Rio Olympics and the World Championships in Glasgow (2017) and Nanjing (2018).
The all-Indonesian men’s doubles final saw Marcus Fernaldi Gideon-Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo claim bragging rights and 1.5bil rupiah (RM420,000) pay cheque after defeating Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto 13-21, 21-18, 24-22.