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Nitya Krishinda Maheswari shed tears. The Indonesian national badminton doubles player could not contain her emotions. The Asian Games 2014 gold medal she had just won with Greysia Polii seemed to hurl her back to bitter memories of years past.
"When I was down, the only one who consoled me was my family," Nitya, 25, told Tempo at the Gyeyang Gymnasium, in Incheon, South Korea, on Sunday last week. Of course she did not overlook her partner on the field, Greysia Polii. In two years of spartan workouts at their training center in Cipayung, Jakarta, they faced harsh criticism for their poor performance.
Amid the jubilation over his daughter's victory at the Wimbledon girls' doubles championships, Olivier Grende faces trouble back home in Indonesia. He has been asked by Sportama, an athlete development and management foundation, to pay off loans amounting to Rp528 million. The deadline: the end of August.
The problem began when Tami Grende, Olivier's daughter, stopped participating in tournaments in 2012 due to his inability to pay for them. In early 2013, Sportama came into the picture, offering Tami a three-year contract that would provide for her to compete in various tournaments. In return, Sportama would have exclusive rights to organize her activities. Tami, whose mother is Balinese, would live in Jakarta and train at the Sportama tennis academy. The foundation would also pay for her education and transportation expenses. Olivier agreed, and Tami was back in business.
Unlike other teenagers in Denpasar, Bali, Tami Grende will not be found at the popular franchise outlets many of them frequent after school. As soon as the last bell rings at 3pm, the 17-year-old girl dashes home to prepare for yet another routine: practicing tennis strokes with her father, Olivier Grende. They go until 7pm.
The tennis court Tami and her father use lies just 200 meters from their house in Suwung, Denpasar. In the same field, Tami usually begins her day under the red morning sun with jogging and agility drills. Then she leaves for school. Tami has been doing this since she was eight.
To Pele, there's only one best player in the universe and that is himself. Even Diego Maradona, in his view, is inferior. But Pele has a totally different opinion of Zico, a fellow player in the Brazilian national team. "Alongside myself, Zico was one of the best player in Brazil," said the legend, at one point. Zico himself, whose full name is Arthur Antunes Coimbra, does not mind being called the 'White Pele.'
Long before there was Neymar Jr, who is predicted to be the star at the upcoming 2014 World Cup championship, Zico, 61, was Brazil's beloved footballer. At the 1982 World Cup, he played with other great players, among them Socrates (who died three years ago), and was acknowledged as the player with the most beautiful moves. At the time, the Selecaoas the Brazilian national team is knownwas regarded as the best team on the face of the earth. Before hanging up his cleats for good, Zico played one more time to defend Brazil's 1986 World Cup title.