Indonesia's Jonatan Christie takes the men's badminton gold at the Asian Games in Jakarta in August, 2018. 'Jojo', as he is known, was knocked out of the second round of the China Open tournament yesterday. Photo: AFP

Indonesian Jonatan “Jojo” Christie, recent winner of the Asian Games Men’s badminton gold medal, has been knocked out in the second round of the China Open tournament.

Christie beat Japan’s Kanata Tsuneyama two sets to one in the first round of the World Tour 1000 event, currently being held at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre in Eastern China. The Indonesian then went on to meet Ng Ka-long in the second round and was beaten in straight sets. Ng, from Hong Kong, will play the tournament’s second seed, rising star Shi Yuqi from China, in the quarterfinals.

Christie became a household name in Indonesia after he won the Asian Games gold in front of a hometown Jakarta crowd in August.

Badminton, probably Indonesia’s most popular sport, has certainly brought the country its most success. Indonesian athletes have won a total of 32 Olympic medals with twelve coming from weightlifting, one from archery and nineteen from badminton. All seven Olympic golds won by Indonesia have been in badminton. Christie’s team says they are now eyeing gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The 22-year old changes his shirts often during games and, at the Asian Games, as Christie progressed through the rounds, his giant-killing performances on the court – in the first round he beat the tournament’s top seed Shi Yuqi – together with his jubilant fist pumps as well as his ultra-toned and often bare torso, sent the home crowd, largely filled with exuberant females, wild.

Despite Christie’s early departure from the China Open, Indonesia retains strong interest in the tournament most notably from the men’s doubles team of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, who because of their below-average height are popularly known as “the Minions”. Many in Indonesia say Gideon and Sukamuljo are the best badminton doubles pairing the country has ever produced.

Tomorrow the Minions meet another successful medal-winning Indonesian team, Ricky Karanda Suwardi and Angga Pratama, in what promises to be a close-fought clash.

The game is scheduled for 19.00 (both Indonesia Western Standard Time and Beijing time) and our Indonesian readers can watch the game live, courtesy of Asia Times here.

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