Home crowd support will definitely give national sepaktakraw teams a boost
KUALA LUMPUR, (MARCH 4, 2013): The Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM) wants sport fans to turn up in full force to cheer on the national teams and simultaneously enjoy international-class sepaktakraw action when the ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 kicks off here tomorrow at the Titiwangsa Indoor Stadium.
Although they have made all three finals in the ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 preliminary legs, the men’s team led by coach Jamaluddin Hassan have yet to emerge champions in the second season, losing to Korea in New Delhi and Thailand in Bangkok and Sabah. The national association, however, believes home ground support will make all the difference and boost the team’s morale.
“We urge all sepaktakraw fans to turn out in full force to cheer on the national team,” said PSM president Dato’ Haji Ahmad Ismail. “Both the men’s and women’s teams have promised to go all out to win, but they will need the support and backing of an enthusiastic home crowd to make this possible.”
Grouped together with Singapore and wild-cards France, second seeds Malaysia will take on their neighbours in their first Group B match on the opening day. The women’s team, who has Japan and India for company in Group C, will meet the Japanese in their first match. With easy draws, both teams are expected to reach the quarter-finals.
Entrance to the tournament is free, and Dato’ Ahmad said fans would be in for five days of world-class thrills as only the 13 top men’s teams and nine of the women’s teams have been invited. The FINALS, held for the first time in Kuala Lumpur, marks the end of the ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 season and will determine the overall champions.
“With all the teams expected to field their strongest line-ups and with so much to fight for, the ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 promises to be the ultimate sepaktakraw tournament this year,” said Dato’ Ahmad, who is also the deputy president of ISTAF.
In Group A of the men’s tournament, top seeds and defending champions Thailand are expected to face no resistance from Germany and India. Third seeds Indonesia, however, will find things much tougher in Group C as they have to contend with the formidable Koreans and the fast-improving United States. Fourth seeds Japan is grouped together with Iran, China and Brunei in Group D.
In the women’s tournament, top seeds Thailand will play China and Indonesia while Group B will have second seeds Vietnam, Korea and Myanmar fighting it out. Malaysia is ranked third as hosts.
ISTAF Secretary General Dato’ Haji Abdul Halim Kader said the decision to give Kuala Lumpur the honour of hosting the finals was made due to the popularity of the game, which he hoped would translate to much media exposure to help promote the game.
“The media has always played a key role in helping popularise sepaktakraw,” he said. “With their help, and with the inclusion of European countries as Germany and France, we’re sure the ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 will see the game increasing in stature on a worldwide level.”
The tournament is organised by PSM and supported by the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF). The ISTAF SuperSeries platform was created by Asia Sports Ventures (ASV), ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and developmental partner.
ASV Chief Operating Officer Venu Ramadass said the ISTAF SuperSeries FINALS 2013/14 would be televised on ASTRO Arena, ASTRO SuperSports and SuperSports HD (all in High Definition) and RTM. Selected matches including the men’s quarter-finals, third-fourth placing match and both men’s and women’s finals are to be aired live.
“Even though we’re showing select matches live, there’s nothing to beat the thrill of watching the teams in action at the stadium itself,” he said. “We saw a tremendous turnout in Kota Kinabalu for the third leg in October last year and we’re certain that the audience for the finals will surpass all expectations.”
The tournament will also be telecast to 70 countries worldwide.
ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 kicked off with ISTAF SuperSeries India in New Delhi (August
29-September 1), followed by ISTAF SuperSeries Thailand in Bangkok (September 26-29) and ISTAF SuperSeries Malaysia in Sabah (October 30-November 3).
The ISTAF SuperSeries is the first and only elite platform for regular sepaktakraw competition at the highest level. Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the elite, internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament acknowledged by ISTAF and plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
More information on ISTAF SuperSeries
Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the elite, internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament acknowledged by ISTAF and therefore plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
In both men’s and women’s competition, only the top two teams from each group advance to the play-off stage based on points accumulated. Group, play-off and quarter-final matches will be decided in three sets over 15 points while the semi-finals, 3rd/4th placing and final matches will all be played over five sets.