Time for Self-Reflection, Says Greysia Polii

Things were looking promising for Greysia Polii and women’s doubles partner Apriyani Rahayu before the Covid-19 pandemic caused the suspension of the circuit.

The Indonesian duo were in the semifinals of the Malaysia Masters, captured a memorable title on home soil the next week in Indonesia, and picked up their second title a few weeks later in Barcelona.

After a surprise first round loss at the All England, the world No.8 pair found themselves back in Jakarta and quarantined with the rest of the team at the national centre.

Players have responded in various ways in trying to come to terms with the situation. Like many others, Polii has sought to widen her skills, but she is also focussed on self-reflection as a means to improving her on-court abilities.

“I had a lot of time, especially when we got back after the All England. I spent a lot of time on reflection, on what I have to do, and just thinking on my inner self,” says Polii.

“Then to make it enjoyable, I tried to play music. I tried to learn something new, like reading books on self-improvement, learning languages, learning how to be a gamer. I’m interested in Mandarin and Korean and I’ve been practising those languages.

“I’ve been thinking about how to improve myself, my character and thoughts. There’s more time to pray and feel closer to God. In this period even though we cannot control the situation, I believe I have to improve myself. Because you can only work on yourself. I have to become wiser and take wise choices.

“I have to think about the badminton as well. I need to improve on my weakness and also my strength. I have been listening to my coach. There are so many things to improve my power, and there’s plenty of time to do that.”

With most of the team stationed at the national centre (excepting those with families) for three months now, players have had to get used to being with their compatriots all through the day, weeks on end.

Greysia Polii (left) and Apriyani Rahayu.

“It’s like being 24×7 with teammates,” laughs Polii. “It’s not like earlier when you travelled with the team. Now you are with juniors as well. The training programme has changed; for two months we were doing maintenance. For two weeks now we’ve started hard training to go back to maximum level, so it’s a bit tiring.

“I miss competition. I miss being with the family and being outside badminton. Other than that, for me, the focus is on the Olympics. So my mind is just fixed on that.”

With the Olympics a year away, she acknowledges that her thoughts have strayed over to life after her playing career.

“On the other side, I’ve started to think of the future, what should I do after I retire. I’ve been preparing for a while now. Because it’s about time, so I’m just preparing – to get married, start a family, then to do things other than badminton, maybe some entrepreneurship. I’m just thinking of what I can do with my ability.”

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