Female athletes contributed the first three gold medals to the Indonesian team in the 2018 Asian Games. Defia Rosmaniar grabbed the first gold by coming on top in women’s individual Taekwondo Poomsae sport; “the Queen of Wushu” Lindswell Kwok secured the gold in women’s Taijijian competition; and Tiara Andini Prastika earned hers in downhill cycling. In addition, Sri Wahyuni earned a silver in weightlifting, and Nining Purwaningsih secured a bronze in mountain bike, downhill cycling alongside Tiara.
With the total of 42 sporting disciplines being contested in this year’s Games, Indonesian female athletes are emerging to compete for the top spots. These are some names that we can look forward to throughout this competition:
- Aries Susanti Rahayu (Sport Climbing)
Born in 1995, the “Spiderwoman” Aries Susanti first got into the sport after her high school Physical Education teacher introduced her to wall climbing. She drew everyone’s attention after beating Russian climber Elena Timofeeva at the 2018 International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) World in Chongqing, China, when she reached the top of 50 feet wall in just 7.51 seconds.
In an interview with the BBC, Aries said that the key to winning a match is by staying calm while keeping the goal intact.
“Since I was first introduced to it, I found sport climbing both exciting and challenging. When I am competing, I keep one thought in mind: Only if I stay composed that I can eventually see the red and white flag raised!”
Focusing on speed climbing category, Aries grabbed her gold at the 2018 World Cup at Chongqing, silver medal at 2017 World Cup in Xiamen, bronze at World Cup 2018 in Tai’an. Ranked 4th at both 2018 World Cup in Moscow and 2017 World Cup in Wujiang. At Asian Championships 2017 in Tehran, she won 3rd place. So far, she placed 5th in the World Ranking as of July 30th, 2018.
- Maria Natalia Londa (Athletics, Long Jump)
Mary began competing in long jump and triple jump competitions at 12. She took up the sport while she was in primary school in Bali. She becomes more passionate about athletics since her father took her to watch National Training Program under coach I Ketut Pageh, who later took notice of Mary and began coaching her during her teenage years.
In an article on the Straits Times, Mary suffered from “restricted blood flow” in her legs as a child which required her to undergo a tissue surgery. It resulted in her left leg being slightly longer than her right leg. However, her accomplishment throughout the years proved that it doesn’t stop her from giving out her best performance.
Among some of the medals she collected were a gold medal in long jump competition at Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, South Korea, and received an Achievement Award from the Indonesian National Sports Committee. She earned four other gold medals at the 2015 South East Asian (SEA) Games 2015 in Singapore and the 2013 SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar.
Photo by ANTARA FOTO/INASGOC/Hafidz Mubarak A. PON XIX, Bogor
- Dellie Threesyadinda (Archery)
Archery runs in Dellie’s blood. Her mother is national archery athlete, Lilies Handayani. In an interview with The Star, Dellie recalled how she followed her mother practicing when she was a little, until, eventually, her mother gave her a tiny bow and arrow to try out a 5 meters target in their back yard.
“I was just five, and from that moment, I told her, ‘Mum, I want to be just like you.”
Dellie has earned a lot of medals, including gold in compound women’s team category and silver in compound individual category at SEA Games 2013. In the World Cup 2017 in Shanghai, she ranked 4th in compound individual category. As of August 1st, 2018, she ranks 68th in the World Ranking for compound individual category.
A trivia: At Asian Archery Grand Prix in 2017 in Isfahan, Iran, 17-year-old Dellie met her mother at the final. Her mother won 107-105. In an interview with Antara News, her mother claimed that she played her best although she was competing against her own daughter.
Photo by Antara News, Asian Games 2018
- Wewey Wita (Pencak Silat)
Wewey was introduced for the first time to pencak silat martial arts when she was in fifth grade of primary school in Ciamis. She was actively doing other sports then, including basketball, athletics, and swimming, but eventually channeled most of her energy to pencak silat. Wewey has won a gold medal in SEA Games 2017 and silver medals in SEA Games 2015 and SEA Games 2013. The 25-year-old earned her degree in Sports Science at the Jakarta State University.
- Greysia Polii (Badminton)
At the age of eight, Greysia Polii, who prefers to be called "Grace", decided that she wanted to pursue a career in sports seriously. Her family moved from Manado to Jakarta to support her ambition. Inspired by Indonesian players Ricky Subagja and Rexy Mainaky, Grace aimed to travel the world playing badminton.
In the semifinal of the 2016 Asian Championship in Wuhan, China, Grace and her former partner Nitya Krishinda Maheswari set a record for the longest international women’s doubles match against Japanese pair, Kurumi Yonao and Naoko Fukuman.
She grabbed many medals at numerous world championships including Asian Games 2014, where she won gold for women’s doubles. More gold medals were earned when she was playing for women’s doubles at BWF World Tour 2018, both in Bangkok and New Delhi; BWF World Tour 2017 in Bangkok; BWF World Tour 2015 in Taipei; MetLife BWF World Superseries 2017 in Paris; MetLife BWF World Superseries 2016 in Singapore, and MetLife BWF World Superseries 015 in Seoul, Korea.
Worldwide, she currently ranks 6th for women’s doubles category as of August 2nd, 2018.
Grace has already earned a bronze in women’s team event early this week, but she will still be playing in individual category.
Photo by Antara News, Asian Games 2018
- Rika Wijayanti (Paragliding)
Born in 1999, Rika started up folding parachutes for money. She mastered ground handling before eventually taking up the sports two years ago at her brother’s encouragement. She mainly practices in her neighborhood area as she lives near a landing field for paragliders, in Batu, East Java.
Earlier this year, Rika claimed the first place at Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC) 2018, beating her idol Marketa Tomaskova from Czech Republic. In the competition, she outplayed total 88 athletes from 23 countries.
So far, Rika ranked 7th at the World Pilots Ranking Accuracy 2018, accuracy individual ranking per August 1st 2018.
Rika has already earned a silver in paragliding women’s team event on Tuesday, but she will still be playing on individual category.
- Diananda Choirunisa (Archery)
Another archer to look forward to is the 21-year-old Nisa. Born in a family of athletes, Nisa initially took up both pencak silat from her father, and archery from her mother. Although she practiced both in her younger years, she eventually decided to focus on archery.
A psychology major at Airlangga University, Surabaya, East Java, she credited her study for preparing her mental condition for competitions.
At SEA Games 2017, Nisa earned gold medals at both recurve individual and recurve mixed team category, and a silver at recurve women’s team. In SEA Games 2013 she also grabbed a gold. As of August 1st, 2018, she ranks 59th for recurve individual category.
- Elga Kharisma Novanda (Track Cycling)
Elga, who lives in Malang, East Java, began cycling at the age of 15. Both of her parents were active in cycling clubs in Malang, so they encourage her to take up the sport. Throughout her sports career, she experienced a few injuries, including a lower spinal cord injury that prevented her from competing at Asian Track Cycling Championship 2018 in Nilai, Malaysia and a fractured right knee back in 2012, which made it impossible for her to train and compete for two months.
However, so far, she has bagged a total of three gold medals at SEA Games 2017; SEA Games 2013; and SEA Games 2011 in Indonesia.
As of August 14th, 2018, she ranks 55th in the women’s category of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world’s governing body for sports cycling. At the World Championship 2016, Medelin, Colombia, she ranked 32nd in the women category.
Check out the schedule of Cycling Track competition, Asian Games 2018, here!
- Sharon Adelina Liman Santoso (Bowling)
Thirty-three-year-old Sharon took up bowling back in 1998 after watching her family participating in a bowling league.
So far she has competed in numerous international competitions. She earned gold medals at SEA Games 2017 and SEA Games 2007. At the World Championships in Las Vegas, USA, she placed 3rd both in trios and masters category. She bagged a silver at Asian Games 2010 in Guangzhou, China, and a bronze at Asian Games 2014.
Photo by Antara News, Asian Games 2018
- Ceyco Georgia Zevanya Hutagalung (Karate)
Born on June 24th 1999, Ceyco was first introduced to karate by her aunt, Jenny Zeannet, who has also competed in karate competition representing Indonesia at the 2003 SEA Games.
In Asian Championships 2018 in Amman, Jordan, Ceyco ranked 3rd in the 68kg category. Earlier, she also won a gold medal at World Junior U21 Championships 2015 in Jakarta.
Did we miss your favorite Indonesian female athlete? Mention in the comments below!