Jakarta: Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie stunned Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen for Asian Games badminton gold as a home pair affectionately dubbed the “Minions” won the men’s doubles at a rocking Jakarta arena on Tuesday.
Christie said he had never dreamed of being crowned Asian Games champion on home soil after his thrilling 21-18, 20-22, 21-15 against the world No. 6 — his first title of the year.
The delighted Christie ripped off his shirt as fans roared after his win over Chou, which made him Indonesia’s first men’s singles gold medallist since former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat in 2006.
The world No. 15 overcame nerves to edge the first game but after faltering in the second, he regained his composure in the decisive final game.
It capped a memorable run for Indonesia’s men after Anthony Sinisuka Ginting knocked out world champion Kento Momota and Olympic gold-medallist Chen Long en route to bronze.
“I did not expect that I can win a gold at the Asian Games. Actually there are a lot of good players here and I never expected that I could come out as a winner,” said Christie.
“But now I have to look ahead. It doesn’t stop here. A day’s rest and I will start preparing for the next tournament.”
The shuttler began his campaign with a shock win over China’s world number two Shi Yuqi in the opening round — and he felt the omens were good for the final.
“From the first time I shook hands with Chou at the toss, his hands were cold and I felt he was nervous. But he played a good game,” said Christie.
Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon, nicknamed the “Minions” owing to their stature, won an all-Indonesian final against Fajar Alfian and Mohammad Rian Ardianto 13-21, 21-18, 24-22.
In a celebratory atmosphere at the badminton stadium, Sukamuljo and Gideon collapsed to the floor as their opponents’ final shot went wide to settle a gripping final game.