Tontowi Ahmad and a Retirement that Once was Put on Hold
Tontowi Ahmad’s long journey as a badminton player has come to an end. He has officially sent his letter of resignation to PP PBSI today, May 18, 2020.
This letter also answers the speculation that has been circulating for several months. After separating from Liliyana Natsir, his performance was no longer as bright as before.
"It is time for me to say goodbye to something that I have worked on for more than half of my life, something which has made my life colorful," Tontowi wrote on his social media.
Born in the village of Selandaka, Sumpiuh in Central Java, Tontowi is the son of Muhamad Husni and Masruroh. According to one of his closest figures, Koko Pambudi, Owi, (Tontowi’s nickname), likes badminton because he grew up with a badminton court near his house.
Argo Pantes Club in Tangerang was the first club he joined to grow his career. However, in 2002, Owi was recruited by the Semen Gresik. Koko, who is also the club's coach, saw Owi’s great potential. Many do not know that Owi had joined a club that’s sponsored by the state-owned cement company. In fact, many articles do not mention the name of Semen Gresik in the career of the man born on July 18, 1987.
"Owi has also won a medal for East Java in the National Championship in Bali in 2004. He also completed his senior high school in Gresik too," Koko said.
After graduating from high school in 2004 at 17 years old, Owi told Koko at that moment that he wanted to retire as an athlete already. He wanted to pursue higher education in Surabaya.
“I was the one that forbid it. I told him that he had a huge potential and you could still be a national badminton player, '' Koko recalls.
Koko then contacted his colleague to help giving Owi the opportunity to be part of the giant club, PB Djarum in Kudus. The opportunity was there, and Owi continued with the recruiting assessment.
"It was only in 2005 when he was accepted at PB Djarum. There, he continued to show his achievements and a year later he entered the national training center PBSI Pelatnas in Cipayung,'' Koko explained.
After changing partners for several times, Owi finally met the right one, Liliyana Natsir in 2010. The joining of these two athletes soon gained public’s attention. This is because Liliyana was still considered strong and resilient with her previous partner, Nova Widianto, who was her partner in winning the 2008 Olympics silver medal.
The first time they appeared as a pair, Owi and Liliyana immediately surprised everyone by winning the 2010 Macau Open. From then on, the partner stuck with each other and continued to bring pride and prestige to Indonesia. Among them, they won the prestigious All England (2012, 2013, 2014), the Asian Championship (2015) and the World Championships (2013, 2017). The highlight of Owi’s career, however, was when they won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Unfortunately, in 2018, Liliyana retired due to age and injuries. Owi was then paired with Winy Kandouw and finally with Apriyani Rahayu. The achievements, though, are not as great as when he was paired with Liliyana. It was then finally, on May 18 2020, through social media, that Tontowi officially announced his retirement from badminton.
"I had hoped to end my career at the top of the podium. But, this is life where we don’t always get what we wish to achieve, as what it is now” Owi wrote.
Good luck, Tontowi. We hope joy and success follow you in your new path.
Photo Source: BWF