Jun 20, 2016

STL 2016 RETURNS WITH NEW COMPETITIVE FORMAT

Local sepaktakraw fans are in for some exciting times with the revamped SepakTakraw League (STL) Malaysia 2016 edition, with all matches to be broadcast live for the very first time.

Viewers can tune into Astro Arena (Channel 801) on Astro TV and Astro on the Go from 23rd September 2016 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for live sepak takraw action, which will culminate with the grand finals on 11th December 2016.

Nishant Sehgal, General Manager of Asia Sports Ventures said, "We had over 4 million viewers for the 2014/15 inaugural league and in 2015, this went up to 5.1 million. This is a sure sign of progress in our quest to make STL the best sepaktakraw league in the world. ASV also aims to enhance fan participation and create a stronger connection over the league’s rebranding exercise with the   introduction of the #inimilikkita campaign.”

With all eight teams from the previous season returning this year, the quest for the ultimate sepaktakraw glory in Malaysia will be even more challenging as the league's talent pool is further consolidated with only eight fixed players per team roster. The competing teams are Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Malacca and last year's STL Malaysia champions, Armed Forces (ATM).

To rev up the thrill factor, a new format will be introduced where each team will play against their opponents twice during the regular season. The top four teams with the best win-loss record will move on to the semi-finals.

Lee Choong Khay, Astro Vice President of Sports Business, said, “We are continuing our efforts to increase the popularity of sepaktakraw. To this end, Astro Arena will be doubling its live broadcast of STL to 90 hours in season 2016, as well as providing match highlights, behind the scenes coverage and in-depth reporting on the teams and players. With such extensive coverage of STL, our sponsors and partners will have a more effective platform to reach the growing number of STL fans.”

He added, “Since 2010, Astro has been investing in Astro Arena, Malaysia’s first and only dedicated 24/7 local sports channel that showcases local sports and our athletes to a larger TV audience in Malaysia and beyond. This has certainly come true for sepaktakraw with every season of STL.”

A grand cash prize of RM40,000 awaits the winner, while the runner up will walk away with RM20,000. The third-placed team goes home with RM10,000, while RM5,000 goes to the team finishing fourth.

"The joint decision between ASV and PSM to consolidate the teams into a single Regu squad is targeted at increasing the level of competition in the league which in turn will help the development of our national team by having our players play with only the top sepaktakraw players in Malaysia in preparation for our quest for gold in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games 2017," said Dato’ Haji Ahmad Ismail, President of Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM).

Running in tandem with STL 2016, will be the STL Division I, which will consist of the remaining PSM affiliated teams, where the top 2 teams will be promoted to STL in the next edition while the 2 teams with the worst win-loss record will be relegated to STL Division I. Division I updates will be available exclusively on all STL social media platforms.

Dato’ Haji Ahmad added, “With the creation of STL Division I, we have created a platform which will enable all our players to continue honing their skills. The prospect of moving up into STL for the next season will definitely increase the skills level of our Division I team players.”

Jun 7, 2016

MHC adds another feather to its cap


The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) officially launched its 1MAS coaching website at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Information on the website comes mainly from the wealth of knowledge and experience picked up by MHC Technical Director, Terry Walsh from coaching in Europe and Asia.
   "It is a new initiative and visual learning programme which will help all players and coaches from around the country," said Walsh at yesterday's launch. "It is not meant to be prescriptive but information sharing.

"We are trying to make it as open as possible for anyone and everyone to go online and have a look at what we have produced. It is basically an education process as we look forward to going into the inner depths of the country's hockey fraternity."

  The website's content is mostly on the development of skills into the highest level, simple playing concepts, what they mean and how to go about it," added Walsh. Also present at yesterday's launch were MHC Deputy President, Prof Dr Shamala Subramaniam, independent member Ahmad Najmi bin Abdul Razak, Chief Executive Office, Logan Raj, 1MAS Director of Development Tai Beng Hai and 1MAS coaches.

   Prof Dr Shamala was all praise for the exceptionally good work Walsh has done into producing a great platform for the future of Malaysian hockey.

   "This website will serve as the digital platform for the hockey fraternity to harness the knowledge and resources that  Terry has developed and so willingly shares with players and coaches." said Prof Dr Shamala. "It is intended to serve as a critical and complementary partner to the existing avenues of knowledge transfer."

   This platform will be a huge advantage for the younger generation who are keen on picking up the game and for coaches who can add to their knowledge of skill development and understanding what the coaching concepts are all about.




Thailand breaks down Malaysian wall to win inaugural Nations Cup

Thailand defeated Malaysia 2-1 in an epic final to clinch the inaugural Nations Cup 2016 at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca tonight.
Malaysian head coach Frank Bernhardt made two changes in the first eleven from the squad that defeated Singapore 3-0 in Friday’s semi-finals. The German left out striker Adam Nor Azlin and midfielder Muhd Shahrul Hakim Rahim and introduced midfielder Muhammad Arif Anwar and defender Irfan Zakaria against the Thais.
On the opposite end, Thailand coach Worrawoot Srimaka made only one change in his starting line-up – resting midfielder Baramee Limwattana for Suradet Klankham.
Thailand showed great tenacity going in the final, displaying awesome speed and playing a more progressive game in front of a partisan crowd who had packed the Hang Jebat stadium 30 minutes before the 10pm kick-off.
Midfielder Suradet Klankham set the tone in the third minute for an explosive night by turning in a cross from the right flank. The ball struck the woodwork and rebounded near the boots of Worawut Namvech who made no mistake for Thailand’s opening goal with a blistering shot past goalkeeper Amierul Hakimi Awang.
The Thais made three more unwelcomed visits to the Malaysian goalmouth after this but none bore results. The early setback turned into a ‘wake-up’ call for Bernhardt’s boys who increased their tempo and enjoyed brief moments of pressure on their supposedly more illustrious opponents.
Safawi Rashid posted a well-timed cross from the left flank to a waiting Mohd Jafri Chew inside the box but the young tiger’s striker failed to make a clean stop with only goalkeeper Apirak Worawong in his way.
Local Malacca fans, however, had wanted more from their young guns who answered this call with the equaliser in the 35th minute from Nur Syamie Iszuan Amin. The midfielder picked a cross from Safawi Rashid inside the box and placed it well.
The second half was a touch-and-go affair though the Thais dominated the fourth quarter of the match with several close calls, especially one in the 68th minute when Worawut’s header in front of the goalmouth grazed the left post and went out.
But the Thais were far more poignant in their attacks and it was only a matter of time the Malaysian defensive wall was to crumble. This proved evident in the 78th minute as the Thais led by the three-man attacking machinery of Tanasit Siripala, substitute Montree Promsawat and captain Chenrop Samphaodi orchestrated their second goal.
Tanasit relayed a cross from the right to Montree, who together with Chenrop, had camped in front of the Malaysian goalmouth. The ball fell to Montree, who dummied one defender, and placed the ball to his captain who stroke home the winning goal.
Chenrop, however, was given the marching orders by referee Xaypaseuth Phongsanit from Laos in the 86th minute for a deliberate infringement. But the night belonged to Thailand who went on to celebrate their first-ever Nations Cup victory.
In an earlier match, Vietnam turned on the power in the second half to come back from two goals down to hold Singapore to a 2-2 draw and then delivered the lethal blow in the penalty shootout to win 5-4 and finish third in the tournament.
The Young Lions took the lead 2-0 with goals from Adam Swandi (41st) and Muhd Hazim Faiz Hassan (50th) but allowed Vietnam to fire on all cylinders through Huynh Tan Sinh (56th) and Ha Duc Chan (90th) to take the match into penalty shootout.
“I was hoping my team could win the match in 90 minutes as the boys were pushing until the end. Nevertheless, I am very happy at their performance today. To come back from two goals to force a draw and then win on penalties is commendable,” said Vietnam head coach Hoang Anh Tuan.
“But we have a long way to go before the SEA Games. I believe the Nations Cup has been a good tournament for the Under-21 players as it was a great experience. We came as underdogs and return with the bronze. This is a morale booster experience,” he added.
The match got off on a steady but cautious note though it was the Vietnamese who had a greater share of ball possession. Tien Linh blew away a 35th minute sitter while on the opposite end Muhd Rusyaidi Salime saw his 20-metre shot sail inches over the bar.
Singapore, however, catapulted to lead in the 41st minute, courtesy of an error by goalkeeper Do Sy Huy following a shot by attacking midfielder Adam. The goalkeeper got into position, sprayed his hand out ready to catch the ball which came at waist length but much to his horror saw the ball slip through into goal.
The Young Lions went 2-0 ahead 10 minutes later via a penalty and Muhd Hazim Faiz Hassan was spot but Vietnam rallied back to earn a penalty in the 56th minute. Defender Tan Sinh packed the ball neatly to the right of the net to reduce the deficit 2-1.
Vietnam, however, pushed Singapore to the limits in search of the equaliser. They came close in the 62nd minute when Tien Linh drove home a 15-metre shot but goalkeeper Hairul was in his element to pave it away.
But it was not over for the Vietnamese as they had the final say following a quick counter attack from the right and Duc Chan jabbed the ball past Hairul to wild celebrations in the Vietnamese camp.
Thai goalkeeper Do Sy Huy emerged the hero in the penalty shoot-out with a brilliant save from Muhd Shahrin Saberin.

Oct 23, 2015

Malaysia join Japan and Philippines in semi-finals

Malaysia strolled to 2-0 victories over Singapore and Korea respectively to advance to the semi-finals of the ISTAF SuperSeriesFinals 2014/15 NAKHON PATHOM here on wednesday.

The Malaysians wrapped up their match against the Singaporeans 21-13, 21-14 in 34 minutes but closed the day’s proceedings by struggling to get past Korea 23-21 and 21-13 in a late match. They had on Tuesday defeated Japan 2-0 at the NakhomPathom Municipal Gymnasium. 

Coach Abdul Talib Ahmad’s boys now go into Thursday’s semi-finals showdown with Philippineswho finished second in Group A after going down 0-2 in a pulsating tie against defending champions Thailand. The Thais, champions in the last two SuperSeries, take on Japan in the other semi-finals.

“We did well to beat Singapore but faced a tough fight by the Koreans. I think the combination of Syahir (Rosdi), Farhan (Adam) and Khairol (Zaman) is improving. There seems to be better understanding now as we go for the early blows,” said Abdul Talib. “Now we will focus on our semi-finals match against Philippines. They (Philippines) are playing extremely well here and we have to look out for them. We cannot afford for any form of complacency in our game.”

Syahir (tekong), Farhan (feeder) and striker Khairol were once again entrusted to demolishthe Singaporean wall.The trio raced to a 12-5 lead in the first set against veteransFarhanAmran and Muzaffarshah Ismail, and RaihanAlladin before winning 21-13.The second set was all over in 17 minutes with the Malaysians winning 21-14.

Abdul Talib, however, replaced Syahir and Khairol with Ahmad Aizat as tekong and Mohd Zamreecoming on as striker in the starting line-up against the Koreans. This new combination saw the Malaysians struggle against a side that has nothing to lose after failing to make it to the last four.

Thailand had earlier in the day brushed off a meekly challenge from perennial arch rivals Myanmar, winning 21-4, 21-8 in 30 minutes but it was the match against the Filipinos that attracted so much hype and attention based on their prolific performances against India and Myanmar in group matches.

After Thailand took the first set at a canter, winning 12-21 through NattaponKraiwan, ThawisakThongsai and RangsirodSirisamutsarn, the Philippines trio of RonsitedGabayeron (tekong), Jason Huerte (feeder) and striker Emmanuel Escotegot their acts togetherin the second set and found their rhythm.

They had everything going after taking a 10-6 lead and were embroiled in a point-for-point battle at one stage but Thailand made sure the night was theirs by quickly racing to a 21-17 victory which lasted 20 minutes.
In the women’s division, defending champions Thailand posted a 21-5, 21-18 wins over Myanmar while Vietnam defeated Korea 2-1. Both teams advanced to the semi-finals.
The Koreans, however,sent Japan crashing to their second defeat in a late match today following 21-13, 21-19 victory to stake a claim in the last four. In the semi-finals, the Thais entertain Korea while Vietnam takes on Myanmar.

The ISTAF SuperSeries platform is created by Asia Sports Ventures, the exclusive long term global commercial and development partner of the International Sepaktakraw Federation.

Malaysia humble Japan but Philippines steal the show

Malaysia registered a fairly easy win over Japan but it was Philippines who hogged the limelight in the first day of the ISTAF SuperSeries Finals 2014/15 NAKHON PATHOM. 

First choice tekong SyahirRosdi, feeder Farhan Adam and striker KhairolZaman took 37 minute to down Japan’s Sho Hasegawa, Ikki Mito and Toshitaka Naito 22-18, 21-14 at the NakhomPathom Municipal Gymnasium.

In the second set, Malaysian coach Abdul Talib Ahmad substituted Syahir with Ahmad AizatAzmi but the replacement did not go down too well as Aizat was constantly placing the ball into the net during service, giving the Japanese easy points from unforced errors.

The Malaysians play Singapore and Korea tomorrow to decide their chances of advancing to Thursday’s semi-finals. A make-shift Singaporean side went down 0-2 to Japan earlier in the day but clawed their way back to upset the much fancied Koreans 21-11, 21-15 to stay on course.

“I played Ahmad Aizat in the second set to allow him to acclimatise to the conditions in the hall,” said Abdul Talib. “We could have won fairly easier against Japan but the important thing is we have crossed our first hurdle with three points in the bag.”

Two-time champions Thailand, cheered on by the Mayor of NakhomPathom Municipality, Mr.EkaphanKuptawat, and an estimated 1,500 fans in this indoor stadium, had the easiest of task in their 2-0 demolition exercise of India. The Thais paraded SittipongKhamchan in tekong,introduced RangsirodSirisamutsarn as captain, andthe ever aggressive strikersThawisakThongsaiand also AnuwatChaichana.

India had Jotin Singh Ngathem(tekong), Malemnganba Singh (feeder) and AkashYumnam as strikerbut the trio were no match against the aggressiveness and accuracy of the far more experienced Thais who won 21-6 and 21-8 in 23 minutes.

In the SuperSeries opening matchtoday, the Indians lost 17-21, 9-21 to the Philippines in 35 minutes.The Philippines and India are new comers to Season 3 of the ISTAF SuperSeries Finals as replacements for Indonesia and China.

The Filipinos, however, have turned out to be the most entertaining and exciting team in the ISTAF SuperSeries Finals hereand the decision of the International SepaktakrawFederation (ISTAF) and Asia Sports Ventures (ASV) in endorsing their participation is loudlyapplauded.

Fresh from packing India off in the opening tie, ArnelIsorena (tekong), Jason Huarte (feeder) and strikers Emmanuel Escote and RheyjheyOrtouste produced one of the most entertaining acrobatic acts coupled with astute defensive strategy to shut out Myanmar 2-1 in a three-set thriller.

Myanmar, one of the toughest teams to beat when at its best form, won the first set 21-10 in 14 minutes but captain Huarte and company turned the tables on their opponents to win the next two sets 21-18 and 21-12 in 35 minutes.
“It has been an amazing day for us here,” said Philippines manager,Karen Claire Tanchanco-Caballero. “I told the players to go out and enjoy the game as we are under no pressure. When you enjoy, you are not pressured and the end results are always positive.”
In the women’s division, while the Malaysian men celebrated an expected convincing victory over Japan, the women slumped to a 2-1 defeat in their opening Group B match against Myanmarbefore ending the day with another 0-2 defeat, this time against defending champions Thailand.

The trio of NorzubaidahChe (tekong), Nor Farhana Ismail (feeder) and NurulIzzatul lost 11-21 in the first set against Myanmar but bounced back in the second to win 21-8 in just 14 minutes to force the match into a tie-breaker.
However, Myanmar regu of El Thinzar, Nan Su Myat San and Kay ZinHtut displayed nerves of steel in the deciding set as they raced to take a 9-3 lead before wrapping the tie 21-17 in under 17 minutes.

The ISTAF SuperSeries platform is created by Asia Sports Ventures, the exclusive long term global commercial and development partner of the International Sepaktakraw Federation.