Agatha says greatness achievable after Indonesia’s two Asian Games podiums

Recurve archers Diananda Choirunisa and Riau Ega Agatha won individual recurve silver and bronze medals to give Indonesia two podium finishes in the archery competitions at the 2018 Asian Games on home turf in Jakarta.

Choirunisa fell to Zhang Xinyan of China, 7-3, in the first Asian Games recurve women’s final not to feature a Korean archer, while Agatha beat Kazakhstan's Abdullin Ilfat, 6-2, to the men’s bronze.

“I feel happy about my first appearance at the Asian Games and getting the bronze,” said Agatha. “Honestly, our focus was the mixed team, but competition can be unpredictable.”

Agatha and Choirunisa seeded seventh in the pairs event, with a combined score of 1311 out of a possible 1440 points over the 70-metre ranking round. After a bye through the first match, the Indonesian archers lost to DPR Korea in the second round, 5-3.

The victors subsequently went on to secure silver.

“During training, we had to improve our individual skills, too. We did a lot of [mixed team match] simulation every day. I hope this can be the first step of Indonesian archers’ dream [of success at the Olympics],” said Agatha.

That individual improvement was evident.

Agatha won five matches on his way to collecting individual bronze: first Idrees Majeed in straight sets; second Muhammad Akmal Nor Hasrin in a tiebreak; and then an upset over high-scoring Bangladeshi archer Md Ruman Shana, India’s star Atanu Das and, eventually, Ilfat in the bronze.

He only lost one match, to the (at-the-time) world number one, event-winner Kim Woojin.

“Before the event started I knew that if I wanted a medal, I had to realise that the best archers in the world are Kim and his teammates,” said Agatha.

“So I needed to prepare myself so well to face not only Kim but all archers that I knew they could be a tough opponent.”

The semifinal between Riau Ega and Woojin was a rematch from the Rio 2016 Olympics, where the former upset the latter – the favourite – 6-2 in the biggest shock of Games.

In Jakarta, the outcome was different.

Kim instead beat Agatha, 6-2, to advance to a gold medal match against teammate Lee Woo Seok, in which the two-time World Archery Champion delivered the goods again.

“When I faced Kim in the semis, everyone hoped that I would win the match and their support was amazing, but I ended with bronze, which is good, too,” said Agatha.

“Kim shot good and my points weren’t good enough to catch him. Overall, I’m happy with my performance.”

Agatha’s teammate Diananda upset Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin and the experienced Lei Chien-Ying from Chinese Taipei on her way to the recurve women’s final – which she lost, but only after taking it the full five sets.

Young, and talented, this Indonesian duo has high expectations for the immediate future.

“Next year will be tough because the Olympic qualifier will be open. Tokyo 2020 is our goal, to be there and win gold. [It would be] something special for me and the Indonesian archery team,” said Agatha. “Wish us luck!”

After such a strong showing at these Asian Games, his goal doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.

“I know that I can be one of the greatest,” Agatha added. “I need to stay focused, stay strong and believe.”

The archery competitions at the 2018 Asian Games took place on 21-28 August in Jakarta, Indonesia.