Anthony Ginting ended up on the podium on his Olympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020.
The Indonesian badminton star defeated Guatemala’s surprise package Kevin Cordon 21-11, 21-13 for bronze, claiming his nation's first men's singles medal since Taufik Hidayat and Sony Dwi Kuncoro won gold and bronze respectively at Athens 2004.
Ginting, 24, also became the first badminton player to win a medal at both the Youth Olympic Games and the Olympic Games, having won bronze at YOG Nanjing 2014.
He spoke to Olympics.com about his historic achievement, and how YOG helped him on his journey to the Tokyo 2020 podium.
Q: How are you feeling after winning the bronze medal?
Anthony Ginting: First of all, I want to congratulate the gold and silver medallists, Viktor Axelsen and Chen Long. Of course, I'm feeling happy with my achievement. It was not easy for me to win the match. It is only bronze but I feel very grateful and happy with my performance.
It means so much to me, for my family, for my friends, for badminton in Indonesia and for all the Indonesian people. It is 17 years since Taufik and Sony in Athens, so I'm happy I could achieve this bronze medal.
Q: What do you think the reaction in Indonesia will be to your medal?
AG: I don’t really know, but I hope all the Indonesian people will be happy with my achievement.”
Q: How would you sum up your overall Olympic experience?
AG: I'm happy because it is a new experience for me. Being in the Athletes’ Village is so different from all the tournaments before. Being here is so meaningful to me because it is one of my dreams. Of course, I really wanted to get a gold medal, but I am grateful to get the bronze.
Q: You also won a bronze medal at the YOG in 2014. Do you think your experiences there helped prepare you for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020?
AG: Yes, actually the atmosphere there was almost the same as here in Tokyo. So, from the Youth Olympics I could learn about the atmosphere, about the protocol and the security – everything was almost the same as this Olympics.
Q: How were you feeling before the bronze medal match?
AG: Honestly, I felt a bit nervous the night before the match so I could not sleep very well. I tried so hard to calm myself down and I prayed.
Q: Chen Long won bronze at London 2012 before winning gold at Rio 2016, and Viktor Axelsen won bronze in Rio before clinching gold here in Tokyo. Having won bronze here, are you hoping that the trend continues, and you win gold in Paris in 2024?
AG: That’s the same thing I was thinking about – I hope so! But of course, I need to improve all the skills, mentally and physically, because the next Olympics will be tougher and more tight.
Every other player will really want to get a gold medal there as well, but the Tokyo Olympics has been the biggest experience for me.