PETALING JAYA: Women’s doubles shuttlers M. Thinaah-Pearly Tan are inspired to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics after watching the exploits of Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu of Indonesia at the Olympic Games.
Greysia-Apriyani ended Indonesia’s wait for a women’s double Olympics gold after upstaging China’s Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan 21-19, 21-15 in the final in Tokyo on Monday.
Indonesia had won gold in every other event since badminton was introduced at the 1992 Barcelona Games except for the women’s doubles.
Thinaah said she was in awe with the 33-year-old Greysia’s determination to get it right in her third Olympic Games.
“I’ve learnt that one should never give up... what an amazing achievement,” said Thinaah.
“It took Polii three Olympics and a third partner (Apriyani) to finally win a medal, and best of all, she got a gold!
“Polii definitely showed to everyone that age is just a number. You can reap success as long as you stay passionate and persevere.”
Thinaah also learnt how a partner stand for each other in times of difficulties as shown by Japan’s world No. 1 pair Sayaka Hirota-Yuki Fukushima.
“Sayaka-Yuki were able to play so well although Sayaka was down and injured. So when they lost to Qingchen-Yifan, they cried. I couldn’t hold my tears too knowing the pain Sayaka had to bear.
“It’s just wonderful to see how far athletes can push themselves to give a good performance at the Olympics.
“The two pairs hugged after the match, it was an emotional moment.”
Pearly echoed Thinaah’s sentiment, and was happy they have had the experience playing against world No. 6 Greysia-Apriyani twice before the latter emerged as the Olympics champions.
Their last meeting was in the quarter-finals of the Thailand Open 1 in January. Pearly-Thinaah lost 15-21, 12-21.
“I have watched their matches too and always pictured myself playing against them. Hopefully Thinaah and I can turn our Olympics dream into reality in Paris!” vowed Pearly.
Pearly added that Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik’s bronze medal achievement had also motivated her.
“Aaron-Wooi Yik has made us all so happy. They’ve really inspired me to do the same as I want to make my family and country proud too.”