Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indonesia's Greysia Polii finds new lease of life in badminton doubles partner Apriyani Rahayu

·2 min read

Tokyo: Indonesia's Greysia Polii wanted to quit badminton five years ago, but a fresh-faced partner has given her a new lease of life and taken them to an Olympic final.

Polii, 33, and Apriyani Rahayu, 10 years her junior, beat South Korea's Lee So-hee and Shin Seung-chan 21-19, 21-17 on Saturday to move within one win of an unlikely women's doubles gold medal.

Polii was ready to quit the sport in 2016 after her partner Nitya Krishinda Maheswari needed knee surgery following the pair's quarter-final defeat at the Rio Games.

But her coach persuaded her to stay on and team up with rising star Rahayu, and the decision has paid off in spades.

"She was still very young, just into the national team, and I was like 'oh my god, I need to run again for another four years'," Polii said of her junior partner.

"I was just like, keep it going, day by day, time by time. She really wants to be a champion."

Rahayu describes Polii as "my role model", and said the veteran did not need much persuading to go back on her retirement plans.

"I just kept telling her 'don't quit €" just play with me'," said Rahayu.

"But Greysia herself felt convinced through her hard work, her motivation, her grit and her desire to be a champion."

The unseeded Polii and Rahayu will play China's Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan in the final, after the number two seeds beat South Korea's Kim So-yeong and Kong Hee-yong 21-15, 21-11.

Polii and former partner Meiliana Jauhari were thrown out of the 2012 London Games for deliberately losing a group match to secure a more favourable draw in the knock-out round.

Now Polii is looking for redemption at the Tokyo Games with a gold medal for badminton-mad Indonesia.

"So many people, not only me, have been through adversity and unforgettable moments," she said.

"I guess the London Olympics has taught me to never give up on your dreams."

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