Cash, Cows, Meatball Restaurants: These Olympians Are Getting All Kinds of Rewards

Indonesia won gold in badminton. Now come the (many) gifts.
Apriyani Rahayu; Greysia Polii
Indonesia’s Apriyani Rahayu and Greysia Polii pose with their women’s doubles badminton gold medals at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza in Tokyo on August 2, 2021. OAlexander NEMENOV / AFP

Cows, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and meatball restaurants are some of the gifts being doled out to Indonesian shuttlers as thanks for bringing home gold to the badminton-crazed nation.

Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu upset former world champions and the No. 4 seeds from China in the women’s doubles final on Monday in a victory widely celebrated online, a rare slice of good news for a country that has become the epicenter of the pandemic, with death tolls and new infections hitting record numbers. 

Advertisement

The sport is huge in the archipelago, which has amassed a total of eight gold medals for badminton in Olympic history but only silver and bronze in other sports. Monday’s triumph was Indonesia’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Games and the first ever in women’s doubles.

President Joko Widodo congratulated the pair on Twitter. His government will offer a 5 billion rupiah ($350,000) cash reward, Reuters reported. But more gifts followed from officials and businesses that wanted to show their appreciation. Five cows were promised to 23-year-old Apriyani while both players were offered property and land.

“She has made Indonesia and our hometown proud,” government representative Kery Saiful Konggoasa told local media outlets following Monday’s win.

On Instagram, Indonesian entrepreneur Arief Muhammad celebrated the victory by offering up two of his award-winning bakso restaurants, which serve the local meatball delicacy beloved across the country. “The branches are already waiting for you,” he wrote to the women. “Each of you gets one!” 

In a video posted to her personal Instagram account, Greysia Polii shared a video walking with her gold medal through the Olympic Village. “It has been two years after wearing the sign of Olympic champions….I am so humbled by this achievement, words still cannot express how grateful I am.”

The victory also comes after a spate of bad headlines for Indonesia’s badminton scene. Earlier this year, three players were banned for life and five others fined in a betting scandal.

Follow Annisa Nurul Aziza on Twitter.