A TIMELY return to form has put Indonesian shuttlers Apriyani Rahayu-Siti Fadia Ramadhanti in contention for gold in the women’s doubles in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Apriyani-Siti Fadia had only combined last year and had experienced a slump in form after a stunning start together.
The pair had captured the SEA Games gold in Vietnam, Malaysian and Singapore Open titles last year but struggled for consistency after that.
Apriyani-Fadia only reached the semi-finals twice since their victory in Singapore before rediscovering their form by finishing runners-up in the World Championships in Copenhagen last month and winning the Hong Kong Open title in Kowloon recently.
In a recent interview with the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Apriyani and Rahayu opened up on their struggles and fight to return to form.
“We massively declined, we stopped trusting each other,” said the 25-year-old Rahayu.
“But we had the desire to get out of the rut, so we started looking for solutions.
“We had heart-to-heart conversations on what we should and needed to do.
“We realised our ego held us back and we had to put it aside and improve the way we communicated.
“We took time to get to know each other better and went into the world meet in a much stronger state. We communicated better and were more open with one another and we were able to bring the best out of the pairing.
“We have so much faith in each other now. We are more solid, more confident,” added Rahayu, who had captured gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with previous partner Greysia Polli.
World No. 7 Rahayu and Siti Fadia had beaten national pair Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah (No. 9) in a hard-fought final match in Kowloon and are set to again provide a huge threat to the latter’s medal chances.
Rahayu had won a bronze with Greysia in the 2018 Jakarta Games.
The other pairs who will be vying for medals are reigning world champions and homesters Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan (No. 1), their compatriots Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu (No. 6), South Korea’s Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee (No. 2), Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (No. 3), Japan’s Yuki Fukushima-Sayaka Hirota (No. 4) and Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (No. 5).
Qingchen-Yifan are the defending champions while Fukushima-Hirota had won a bronze in Jakarta.