Hendra Setiawan Almost Withdraw from Tokyo Olympics Due to COVID-19

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Hendra Setiawan (L) is arguably one of the most respected players in the sport of badminton. (photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Hendra Setiawan (L) is arguably one of the most respected players in the sport of badminton. (photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Jakarta: Indonesia’s World No. 2 men’s doubles pair and the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist – Hendra Setiawan, almost pull out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after he was infected with COVID-19 just weeks before his departure to Tokyo.

According to Kompas.id, Setiawan was tested positive for COVID-19 about three weeks before the Indonesian badminton team’s departure to Japan on July 8, 2021. Setiawan was feeling uneasy while waiting for the results for his Covid-19 test on July 4, 2021, as all athletes must be confirmed Covid-19 negative before they could board the plane to Japan.

He admitted that he was worried at that time because according to Japanese government regulations, all athletes had to undergo COVID-19 PCR tests for three consecutive days before departure. He was uncertain if he could make the trip to Tokyo despite he already underwent two weeks of self-isolation.

“I followed all the advice from the doctor, such as sunbathing, taking vitamins, and resting,” said Hendra to Kompas.

“On that Sunday (July 4, a day before the deadline for confirming the names of athletes going to Tokyo), I was very nervously waiting for the test results. I was afraid what if the results were still positive,” explained Setiawan.

“If I was tested positive, PBSI can still remove my name from the list although they have submitted my name for Tokyo Games,” added Setiawan.

Besides Setiawan, his wife, Sandiani, was also tested positive at that time. She said it was a very difficult time for them as she could not be with Setiawan because he had to undergo self-isolation.

“I immediately cried when Hendra left. I was alone in the room because I was still sick and there were no children at home,” said Sandiani.

“I was only accompanied by a maid (household assistant),” added Sandiani, who had just recovered after 21 days of self-isolation.

Despite the infection, Setiawan and his partner, Mohammad Ahsan proved they could still compete at the highest level of badminton despite they are currently 36 and 33 years old.

They beat three other pairs in the Olympics group stage to top Group D and managed to advance to the semifinals before losing to Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in the bronze medal playoff.

Prior to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he won the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal with Markis Kido. Although he qualified for the 2012 London Games, Setiawan did not participate at the 2012 Summer Olympics because his pair Markis Kido withdrew from the participation due to personal problems.

Setiawan and Ahsan however couldn’t advance to the knockout stage in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In addition to the Olympics, Setiawan had won four World Championships titles, two-time Asian Games gold, and two-time All England champion. He also won 2014, 2019 All England with Mohammad Ahsan.

Surprisingly, Setiawan has not won any team badminton tournaments. His best achievement in team tournament was winning the 2007 Sudirman Cup silver, and also silver for the 2010 and 2016 Thomas Cup.

It’s reported that Setiawan is looking to represent Indonesia in the upcoming Thomas Cup which will take place in Denmark from Oct 9, 2021, to Oct 17, 2021.

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