Not many knew the burden carried by Hendra Setiawan to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Kompas news today revealed that Setiawan was infected with Covid-19 just three weeks before leaving for Japan(July 8).

The virus could have cancelled Setiawan and his partner Mohammad Ahsan’s participation at this year’s Olympics. However, he did not give up easily and fought for his recovery like he fought his battles on the court.

As reported by Kompas, Setiawan said, “I took all the advice from the doctor, such as sunbathing, taking vitamins, and resting.”

Setiawan was able to recover in under two weeks after testing positive. But he was still very wary.

“All Sunday (July 4, one day before the final deadline for registering the names of athletes), I was very nervous waiting for the test results. I feared if the result was still positive. If that happened, my name could still be crossed out even though it had been registered before,” he said.

The ordeal for the 2008 Beijing gold medalist did not end here, his wife Sandiani Arief was also infected and they were forced to leave their three children with other family members.

“I immediately cried when Hendra left. I was alone in the room because I was still sick and there were no children at home. I was accompanied by a maid (housekeeper) and a dog,” said his wife, who recovered after 21 days.

The two of them communicated routinely after the matches. Sandiani continued to give support to Setiawan and hoped he could play well and be healthy.

Setiawan and Ahsan’s results at Tokyo 2020 may have fallen short of many people’s expectations and caused disappointment. But, in reality, Setiawan completed his mission with a double burden on his shoulders.

“I will play as long as I am strong,” Setiawan has always told his wife.

After Rio 2016, Setiawan uploaded a photo with the following caption “Bye2 Rio2016. My last Olympic Games is over.”

And three days back, he uploaded a similar photo with a very similar caption “Bye2 Tokyo 2020. My last Olympic Games is over.”

Is it for real this time for the evergreen 36-year-old doubles legend?

Players in this article

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