Men’s team has easy ride into quarter-finals, women face a tougher route
NEW DELHI (28 AUGUST 2013): Malaysia, who are looking to improve on their showing at the recent Four-Nations championship, look set for an easy ride into the quarterfinals of ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 after being grouped together with the United States and Iran in Group B of the elite sepaktakraw tournament.
In their opening match, second seeds Malaysia will take on the United States, who won only one ISTAF SuperSeries match in 15 appearances on court during the inaugural ISTAF SuperSeries 2011/12 tournament. The national team then faces SuperSeries first-timers Iran and are expected to play India or Singapore in the quarterfinals.
“The US and Iran may look like easy wins on paper, but we can’t take either team for granted as we have never played them before,” said head coach Jamaluddin Hassan. “We will focus on our game plan and look forward to improving on our second-place showing from last year’s tournament.”
Jamaluddin, whose charges lost 2-1 to Myanmar in the Four-Nations final, said the team was upbeat after winning the national President’s Cup in Kuala Lumpur last week and was all set to keep the momentum going.
“We will rotate our players during ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 to give all of them a chance to play on the international stage,” he said. The eight-man team is led by captain Norshahruddin Mad Ghani.
Malaysia plays the United States on August 29 and Iran on Day 2 of the tournament.
Defending champions Thailand, seeded No.1, are in Group A with Japan and Myanmar while third seeds South Korea have Brunei and Indonesia for company in Group C. India, seeded fourth as hosts, are in Group D alongside only Singapore and are thus assured of a quarter-final berth.
The Malaysian women’s team faces a much tougher test. They take on number one seeds and reigning champions Thailand on the opening day and Japan on Day 2 as part of their Group B fixtures. There’s expected to be no contest against the Thais, who emulated their male counterparts last year by winning all their ISTAF SuperSeries 2011/12 matches, but a win against Japan will give Malaysia a ticket to the second round.
Group A of the women’s competition comprises second seeds Vietnam, fourth seeds India, Indonesia and South Korea.
In both the men’s and women’s competition of ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14, only the top two teams from each group advance to the play-off stage based on points accumulated. The second round in the men’s competition is a single elimination, 8-team play-off stage while the women’s is a 4-team play-off stage.
Held for the first time in India, ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 will be contested over four days at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here until September 1.
ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 is created by Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) and supported by local organisers Sepaktakraw Federation of India (STFI). The New Delhi tournament will be followed by ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 in Bangkok from September 26-29 followed by ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah from October 31 to November 3.
ISTAF deputy president Datuk Ahmad Ismail, who is also the president of the Malaysian Sepaktakraw Association, said he was pleased with STFI’s preparations for their first-ever international sepaktakraw tournament.
“It is good for the game if more and more non-traditional sepaktakraw countries like India are given the opportunity to host international events,” he said. “By doing so, we can look forward to the game being part of the Olympics in the near future.”
Asia Sports Ventures Director and CEO, Jeff Chue said aside from hosting an ISTAF SuperSeries tournament for the first time, India also had the honour of being the first country to host the elite event outside Southeast Asia.
“India’s hosting of a major sepaktakraw tournament is testament to the game’s growing popularity outside its traditional stronghold of Southeast Asia,” said Chue. “The move to take game outside countries as Malaysia and Thailand is also in line with our strategy to further develop and strengthen the international sepaktakraw footprint on a larger scale in what we see as a growing market for the game.”
He added that ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 will also be televised for the first time throughout the entire Indian sub-continent via Doordarshan and reach over 1.4 billion viewers. Sports fans throughout the region will get to enjoy over eight hours of live TV coverage, as well as selected matches featuring the India men’s and women’s teams.
All in all, ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 will be watched by fans in 70 countries.
Malaysia Men’s team:
JAMALUDDIN BIN HASSAN
NORDIN BIN SABARUDIN
IZURIN BIN REFIN
AHMAD AIZAT NOR AZMI
NORSHAHRUDDIN BIN MAD GHANI
FARHAN BIN ADAM
MOHD KAMAL ALFIZA BIN SHAFIE
TENGKU ADNAN BIN TENGKU BURHANUDIN
MD FIKRI BIN MD NOOR
SITI NORZUBAIDAH BINTI CHE AB WAHAB
ASUMALIN RATTANA A/P SOM CHOK
RAHILAH BINTI HARUN
NURRASHIDAH BINTI ABDUL RASHID
NOR FARHANA BINTI ISMAIL
Established in 1988, the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) is the international governing body for the sport of sepaktakraw and is recognised by the Olympic Movement. ISTAF is officially based in Thailand and has its Secretariat in Singapore. Under ISTAF, sepaktakraw has enjoyed medal-sport status at the South-East Asian Games since 1965 and uninterrupted medal status at the Asian Games since 1990. It was also introduced as a demonstration sport at the 2009 World Games in Chinese Taipei.
ABOUT ISTAF SUPERSERIES
ISTAF SuperSeries is an elite international sepaktakraw competition that brings together the best sepaktakraw players to showcase the sport to a global audience. Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament recognised by ISTAF and therefore plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
The ISTAF SuperSeries is played using a grand prix format, where national teams compete in a series of tournaments during a season. The first season was held from September 2011 to July 2012 and comprised four ISTAF SuperSeries tournaments.
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