National team goes down in straight sets to Thailand in finals of ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14
BANGKOK, (29 SEPTEMBER 2013): Hosts Thailand, powered by the crack pair of Siriwat Sakha and Pornchai Kaokaew, proved too good for Malaysia in the ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 finals, outclassing the second seeds 3-0 and sending them to their second runner-up finish in this year’s SuperSeries edition.
The national team, who lost to Korea in the first SuperSeries leg in New Delhi earlier this month, went down 12-15, 2-15, 8-15 in just 45 minutes to the Thais, who were seeded fourth as hosts. Team manager Jamaluddin Hassan’s boys were let down by poor service and an attacking game that lacked the bite they needed.
If Siriwat was dishing out service winners and aces at will, Malaysia’s Sahidan Md Ali was playing it safe. National first choice tekong Ahmad Aizat Azmi, who replaced him in the second set, went for the kill but instead found the net most times, chalking up five errors in the third set alone.
Striker Noorshahruddin Mad Ghani was also replaced in the second after sustaining a ligament injury in his semi-final match against Korea. Second choice Mohd Hanafiah Dolah’s attack paled in comparison to World Cup 2011’s Most Valuable Player Pornchai, and the 23-year-old striker could only convert two of his three spikes compared to his Thai counterpart’s perfect 13/13 record.
“We made four service errors in the first set alone, which just goes to show how bad our service was,” said Jamaluddin. “There’s a huge gap between us and Thailand, and we need to further study their attack and variety of serves if we are to get anywhere close to them.”
Malaysia won their semi-final match against Korea after the men’s top seeds were disqualified from the tournament for walking off during their match in the deciding set. With Malaysia leading 12-10, referee Coung Pham Kien awarded a point to them after the Koreans had blocked the ball in their opponents’ court. The Koreans disputed the decision and abandoned the match, leaving tournament officials no choice but to disqualify them. Malaysia was given the set and an 8-15, 15-17, 15-11, 15-10, 13-10 win.
Korea’s disqualification gave the United States an automatic 3-0 win and third place in the tournament, the second leg of the internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries platform and held at Fashion Island, one of Bangkok’s largest shopping malls.
The women’s finals saw top seeds and defending champions Thailand defeat a jittery Korean team 15-7, 15-8, 15-7. Malaysia lived up to their fourth seed billing when they fell to third seeds Vietnam 15-12, 14-16, 15-13, 12-15, 12-15 in the third/fourth placing match. Both teams were evenly matched, but Vietnam made more of their opportunities.
“We gave our opponents a tough fight and took two sets off them compared to only one at the SuperSeries first leg in India,” said coach Md. Fikri Md. Noor. “But we’re still making a lot of mistakes and not taking the chances that come our way.”
The ISTAF SuperSeries platform is created by Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) – ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and development partner. ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 is supported by local organisers Takraw Association of Thailand (TAT).
The second leg in Bangkok will be followed by ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah from October 31 to November 3. The 2013/14 season kicked off with ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA in New Delhi from August 29 to September 1.
ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14
Finals: Thailand bt Malaysia 3-0 (12-15, 2-15, 8-15)
3rd & 4th Placing: USA (automatic 3-0 win over Korea)
5th & 6th Placing: China bt Japan 2-1 (15-12, 11-15, 16-14)
7th & 8th Placing: Iran bt Singapore 2-1 (13-15, 16-14, 15-7)
Final: Thailand bt Korea 3-0 (15-7, 15-8, 15-7).
3rd & 4th Placing: Vietnam bt Malaysia 3-1 (15-12, 14-16, 15-13, 12-15, 12-15)
More information on ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14
ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 is the second round of ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14. Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the elite, internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament recognised 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. Unlike ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA, where each match was decided over five sets, group, play-off and quarter-final matches here will be decided in three sets over 15 points. The semi-finals, 3rd/4th placing and final matches will all be played over five sets.
ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 will be televised on Thailand’s leading network Channel 3. Sports fans throughout the region will get to enjoy almost eight hours of live TV coverage, as well as selected matches featuring the Thai men’s and women’s teams.
All in all, ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 will be watched by fans in 70 countries.
Released by Shekhinah PR on behalf of Asia Sports Ventures.
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