KUALA LUMPUR (25 OCTOBER 2013): The Sabah chapter of ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14 next week is poised to serve as a wakeup call for the hosts and several other nations amid a trial and tribulation period against well-polished oppositions.
The Malaysians, in particular, have been given top billing in the 10-team men’s competition in this third leg of ISTAF SuperSeries 2013/14 at the Likas Sports Complex in Kota Kinabalu from Oct 31-Nov 3 despite playing bridesmaid in the finals of ISTAF SuperSeries INDIA 2013/14 and ISTAF SuperSeries THAILAND 2013/14 recently.
World champions Thailand, winners of the Bangkok edition held last month, and Japan, have been seeded second and third respectively while the Iranians are seeded fourth. The other unseeded teams are Indonesia, Germany, Singapore, India and Brunei.
However, the Koreans, who stunned the sepaktakraw fraternity by claiming the season-opener India chapter in August but gave a walkover in the play-off for third-fourth placings in the ISTAF Superseries THAILAND 2013/14, will not participate in the Sabah leg of the series.
In the women’s division, the Thais who scored sensational victories in the opening and second legs of the series, are on a hat-trick mission in Kota Kinabalu. The other contenders are Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
The Malaysian women, who lost to Vietnam to finish fourth at both legs, will also be looking to improve on their performance. The squad only managed a single win in New Delhi and Bangkok when they defeated Japan and China, respectively, in their group matches.
Sabah Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Haji Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, said hosting of ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14 in Kota Kinabalu has evoked an immense interest among fans in the state and he hopes this would lead to a larger section of the community playing the game.
“The Sabah state government is honoured to host ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14, an elite sepaktakraw competition that brings together the best players and teams to showcase the sport to a global audience,” said Datuk Tawfiq, adding that efforts by the Malaysian Sepaktakraw Association (STAM) and International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) in promoting the game at the grassroots will certainly take the game to even greater heights.
“I’m delighted to note that the passion for this game is not only limited to traditional takraw-playing countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Today, in India, Japan, Iran, and the United States, sepaktakraw has sparked the interest of thousands,” added Datuk Tawfiq.
Sepaktakraw, he added, is what the Youth and Sport Ministry calls a sport for all, a game which sees no boundaries when it comes to race, age or culture.
“The Ministry promotes such a concept as it not only brings all of us together as a nation, but also encourages all members of society to be involved and actively participate in sporting activities that lead to a healthy lifestyle.”
Malaysian Sepaktakraw Association president, Dato’ Haji Ahmad Ismail, said efforts by Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) and ISTAF in creating the SuperSeries platform and for implementing it for the second year are some of the steps taken by the world body to improve the standards of the game worldwide.
“STAM has been working hard to raise the status of the game and I strongly believe the time has come for sepaktakraw to take its place of pride among sports that we can be truly proud of. STAM, most naturally, is playing a major role in helping promote and grow sepaktakraw in Malaysia. We have had a long history of excellence in the game, and we are committed to bringing back our glory years,” said Dato’ Ahmad.
ISTAF SuperSeries Malaysia 2013/14 will be televised on ASTRO Arena. Sports fans throughout the region will get to enjoy almost eight hours of live TV coverage, as well as selected matches featuring the Malaysian men’s and women’s teams.
All in all, ISTAF SuperSeries Malaysia 2013/14 will be watched by fans in 70 countries.
ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2013/14
October 30th – November 3rd
Group A: Malaysia, Iran, India, Indonesia
Group B: Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Germany
Group A: Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia
Group B: Thailand, Japan, Indonesia
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