NAY PYI TAW (29 OCTOBER 2014): The national sepaktakraw team is aiming to make amends at ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 after their poor showing at the recent Incheon Asian Games.
The second seeds take on Japan in their opening Group A match at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium here tomorrow and are confident of starting their ISTAF SuperSeries 2014/15 season with a win. The team only managed a bronze in both the regu and team events in South Korea earlier this month and even lost a group match to the hosts.
They have, however, fared relatively better in the ISTAF SuperSeries tournament, finishing runners-up in the three 2013/14 preliminary legs and the finals in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year.
To ensure they come out tops, coach Najib Iman is fielding an experienced side comprising players that have participated in previous ISTAF SuperSeries tournaments, the Incheon Asian Games and the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar.
“The boys are in very high spirits,” he said at the tournament’s official press conference today. “They have promised to prove all their detractors wrong and regain the trust of our sepaktakraw fans.”
On paper, the team is a winner against the Japanese. But Najib, who recently took over coaching duties from Jamaluddin Hassan, is not taking things for granted.
“Anything can happen in a tournament, especially at the international level. But I have faith in my players and am confident they will deliver when it matters most.”
Other key Group A matches on opening day will see Incheon silver medallists Korea facing off against Singapore. In Group B, first-time ISTAF SuperSeries hosts Myanmar takes on China while Asian Games gold medallists and top seeds Thailand play Indonesia.
The Malaysian women’s team starts their tournament on the second day when they play Indonesia. Hosts Myanmar, who bagged the doubles gold at the Asian Games, takes on Japan in their opening Group B match on the first day.
Japan will also play top seeds and defending champions Thailand in Group B while Vietnam will face Indonesia in Group A.
The tournament, which ends November 2, kicks-off the 2014/15 season and features eight of the world’s top men’s team and six women teams. Three other legs are scheduled to be played in South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.
ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 is jointly organised by the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF) and Asia Sports Ventures (ASV), ISTAF’s exclusive global commercial and developmental partner. It is being held with the support of host partners the Myanmar Ministry of Sports and the Myanmar Sepaktakraw Federation (MSTAF).
ISTAF Secretary-General Dato’ Abdul Halim Kader was delighted to have Myanmar host their first ISTAF SuperSeries event.
“This is not only good for growing and promoting the game, but is also proof that Nay Pyi Taw has what it takes to host an international-class tournament,” he said. “But it comes as no surprise to ISTAF as we have seen what a great and generous host the capital turned out to be at the last SEA Games.”
ASV Chief Operating Officer Venu Ramadass said ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 would be televised on ASTRO Arena, ASTRO SuperSports, ASTRO SuperSports HD and RTM. A total of 12 hours of live coverage will be aired during the last three days of the tournament.
ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 will be televised to over 70 countries worldwide. For the very first time, fans can also catch all four days of tournament action live on www.sepaktakraw.org.
The ISTAF SuperSeries is the first and only elite platform for regular sepaktakraw competition at the highest level. Alongside the ISTAF World Cup, the internationally-recognised ISTAF SuperSeries is the only sepaktakraw tournament acknowledged by ISTAF and plays a key role in deciding the official ISTAF World Rankings.
OPENING DAY MATCHES (MEN)
Group A: Malaysia vs Japan, Singapore vs Korea, Japan vs Singapore
Group B: China vs Indonesia; Thailand vs Indonesia; Myanmar vs China
OPENING DAY MATCHES (WOMEN)
Group A: Vietnam vs Indonesia
Group B: Myanmar vs Japan; Thailand vs Japan
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