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Asian Games 2018

Asian Games 2018: ethnic Chinese wushu glamour girl Lindswell Kwok is Indonesia’s golden hope

The 26-year-old is a five-time world champion and is one of the most popular athletes in the country, along with the badminton players

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2018, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 August, 2018, 12:22pm

“She’s beautiful,” says Jakarta-based journalist Ade Alkausar about Indonesia’s Asian Games medal hope Lindswell Kwok.

The 26-year-old Chinese-Indonesian, a five-time wushu world champion, has captured the hearts of a nation and is among their main gold medal hopes at the Games, which start on Saturday and run until September 2.

Glamorous with movie-star good looks, Kwok is a symbol of unity in multi-ethnic Indonesia where more than a year ago many in the capital took to the streets to help oust former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese.

“She is one of our best medal hopes and the whole country is behind her,” said Ade.

Indonesians usually rally around their badminton players when it comes to the major games but with the sport lacking in quality singles players, the nation is looking to Kwok for glory.

When Abdul Majid, a journalist with Kompas, was asked about Kwok, he repeated the common refrain of “she’s beautiful”.

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He added: “She is very much loved by Indonesians. She has won many gold medals at world level, she is not only good looking but is also very kind. We really hope she can win gold for us in the Asian Games.”

Kwok, who was born in Medan on the island of Sumatra, won taijiquan world titles in 2009, 2015 and 2017, while also collecting taijijian world gold medals in 2013 and 2015.

Taijiquan is the traditional Chinese martial art seen around the world, while a double-edged sword is added to the routine in taijijian.

Kwok has just returned from a training stint in China where the Indonesians trained with the national team. She said she was suffering from a slight cough but will be ready for the Games, in which she identified athletes from China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Macau among her main rivals for gold.

“We trained together with some of the Chinese team,” she said. “Indonesia has never won gold in wushu before at the Asian Games but I think this is our best chance.

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“I hope the Indonesia people can really support their athletes and come together for these Asian Games.”

Kwok is coached by Supandi Kusuma, while her brother, Iwan, is head coach of the Indonesian wushu team and also secretary general of the country’s wushu federation.

She studied psychology at the University of North Sumatra, Medan and can speak English, Bahasa Indonesia and Mandarin.

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She is the leading taijiquan and taijijian exponent in Southeast Asia and is unbeaten in the region’s SEA Games since 2011.

Kwok plans to retire after the Asian Games, saying: “I still want to produce the best and the highest achievement in the Asian Games which is to win the gold medal. I want to end my career on a high.”