Mariska - the girl from Wonogiri is Indonesia's hope
At the tender age of 16 Gregoria Mariska donned national colours in the Uber Cup Finals in Kunshan, China in May last year and helped Indonesia reach the quarter-finals.
Mariska defeated the experienced Nitchaon Jindapol in her match although Thailand won the Group C tie 3-2. Despite the defeat Indonesia joined Thailand in the quarter-finals.
Hailed as the brightest spark in women's badminton in Indonesia after Olympic gold medallist Susi Susanti quit the sport in 1997, Mariska has already scalped some of the big names at all levels, both national and international level.
Reigning junior world champion Chen Yufei of China was the latest "victim" added to the list when she beat the Chinese ace 17-21, 21-19, 21-19 in the first round in the recent BCA Indonesia Open Superseries Premier in Jakarta after making the main draw with two wins in the qualifying rounds.
In the process Mariska gained sweet revenge for her 23-25, 14-21 defeat to Chen Yufei in last year's SCG Asian Junior Championships final in Bangkok.
Mariska is Indonesia's hope in this year's Pembangunan Jayaraya Badminton Asia Junior Championships to be held in Jakarta from July 21-30.
The lass from Wonogiri in Central Java, is the top seed in the women's singles and Indonesia's hope of winning the title in front her home supporters. The individual events will be played from July 26-30 after the mixed team event where Indonesia are seeded second behind last year's runners-up South Korea.
In the women's singles Mariska has drawn a first round bye and will play the winner of the first round tie between Sevinch Sodikova of Uzbekistan and Dilmi Dias of Sri Lanka.
Mariska is inspired by her idol Susi Susanti who won the women's singles gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics - the same year Budikusuma won the gold medal in the men's singles. Susi also swept the gold medals in the Asian Games, World Cup and World Championships apart from winning the Sudirman Cup and the Uber Cup.
Mariska won the Indonesian National Circuit in 2015 - the same year she helped her country clinch the bronze medal in the team event in the Singapore Sea Games.
2015 was in fact an eventful year for Mariska and company. Indonesia also won the mixed team silver in the World Junior Championships in Lima, Peru. Indonesia were also the silver medal winners in the world meet held in Alor Setar, Malaysia in 2014.
Mariska was also in the team when Indonesia won the mixed team bronze medal in last year's Asian Junior Championships in Bangkok.
At the senior level Mariska had a bright start to 2017 when she reached the final in the Syed Modi International in New Delhi. Mariska, however, lost 13-21, 14-21 to India's Rio Olympics silver medal winner P.V. Sindhu in the final.
Time is on her side and at 17-years Mariska is prepared to walk the extra mile to achieve her badminton dreams of winning medals at all levels in international competitions like the Sea Games, the Asian Games, the Olympics, the Uber Cup, the Sudirman Cup and the World Championships.
Jakarta could be the beginning of a dream journey and with the home support, Mariska and Indonesian badminton could reach new heights.
"I am prepared to make the sacrifices and I am prepared to scale new heights in my badminton career," says Mariska, who has the right attitude in her game.
Women's Singles Seeds
1. Gregoria Mariska (Indonesia)
2. Yeo Jia Min (Singapore)
3. Pattarasuda Chaiwan (Thailand)
4. Han Yue (China)
5. Aakarshi Kashyap (India)
6. Chananchidda Jucharoen (Thailand)
7. Chasinee Korepap (Thailand)
8. Sri Fatmawati (Indonesia)