KUALA LUMPUR – The national men’s sepak takraw squad kicked off their campaign with a winning start in the 2014/15 International Sepak Takraw Federation (Istaf) Super Series Finals at the Nakhon Pathom Municipal Gymnasium in Thailand, yesterday.
The country’s top regu; Muhammad Syahir Mohd Rosdi (tekong), Farhan Adam (feeder) and Khairol Zaman Hamir Akhbar (killer) only took 37 minutes to beat Japan’s regu of Sho Hasegawa, Ikki Mito and Toshitaka Naito;22-18, 21-14 in their Group B opening match.
Malaysia will play two preliminary group matches against Singapore and South Korea tomorrow to decide which two teams from Group B will advance to the semifinals on Thursday.
National sepak takraw head coach Abdul Talib Ahmad said he was delighted with the victory while acknowledging the decision to replace Muhammad Syahir with another player, Ahmad Aizat in the second set was made to give the latter a chance to acclimatise with the hall conditions.
“We could have won fairly easier against Japan but the important thing is we have crossed our first hurdle with three points in the bag,” he was quoted as saying in the tournament’s website www.istafsuperseries.com.
Meanwhile, the national women’s squad will only play in the 5th/6th classification match on Thursday after suffering back-to-back defeat, losing both Group B matches to Myanmar and defending championd, Thailand.
They lost 11-21, 21-8,11-21 to Myanmar in the opening match before going down in straight sets; 11-21, 11-21 to Thailand in the second match.
Based on the tournament format, the top two teams each from Group A and B in both men’s and women’s category advance to the semifinals on Thursday.
The tournament is the culmination of three Istaf Super Series legs of 2014/15 season, starting in Naypyitaw, Myanmar in November 2014;Melaka, Malaysia on February 2015 before Gunsan City, South Korea hosted the third leg in April. – Bernama