NAY PYI TAW (1 NOVEMBER 2014): Malaysia broke the hearts of hundreds of fans at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium here today when they defeated Myanmar 21-11, 21-14 in the ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 semi-finals.
The national team, who will meet Thailand in the final, had sailed into the semis without losing a game in their three group fixtures and kept the momentum going in the first set. Tekong Mohd Syahir Mohd Rosdi led the charge with pin-point service winners and three aces while striker Khairol Zaman Hamir Akhbar and Syazreenqamar Salehan both attacked and defended the net with a vengeance.
Mohd Syahir’s performance, however, fluctuated in the second set. The gangly 21-year-old made seven service errors to allow Myanmar to match the second seeds point for point. But poor play from Myanmar tekong Aung Myo Swe undid the host’s good work and allowed Malaysia to forge ahead after the score was level at 11-11 to come out worthy winners.
“This was the best performance to date by the boys in this tournament and I’m proud of them,” said coach Najib Iman. “Everything came together, especially in the first set, and their play was matched by their determination to win.”
He added, however, that Malaysia would have to be near perfect if they wanted to challenge top seeds Thailand, who come into tomorrow’s final with three consecutive ISTAF SuperSeries titles under their belt.
The defending champions cruised to a 21-11, 21-9 in their semi-final against Singapore and are favourites to win the tournament, which showcases eight of the world’s best men’s teams and six of the women’s.
ISTAF SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15, which ends November 2, kicks-off the 2014/15 season. Three other legs are scheduled to be played in South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The tournament 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 SuperSeries MYANMAR 2014/15 is 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.
The tournament is also televised to over 70 countries. 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.
* SEMI-FINAL RESULTS (MEN)
Malaysia bt Myanmar 2-0 (21-11, 21-14)
Thailand bt Singapore 2-0 (21-11, 21-9)
* At Press time
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