Oct 10, 2015


The journey in the nation’s quest to capture sepaktaktaw gold medal as hosts of the 2017 SEA Games begins tomorrow when the SepakTakraw League Malaysia (STL Malaysia) gets underway at Sports Arena Sentosa, in Petaling Jaya.

Filtered through a comprehensive selection process, 120 players will light up STL Malaysia which runs through a six-week period from Oct 10 until Nov 22. The semi-finals will be held on Dec 12 and final on Dec 13.

A strategic partnership between Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM) and Singapore-based Asia Sports Ventures (ASV), STL Malaysia is a continuation of STL 2014/15. There will be eight teams competing in STL Malaysia 2015.

The 8 teams are Black Panthers (Penang), City Flyers (Kuala Lumpur), Southern Tigris (Johor), East Coast Surfers (Terengganu), Northern Rangers (Kedah), Green Titans (Malacca), Gomo Warriors (Kelantan) and Armed Forces, who emerged champions in the just concluded National Grand Prix.

In Saturday’s opening matches, ATM will play Green Titans while Northern Rangers go into showdown with City Flyers. The matches start at 12 noon.

Speaking at the launch of STL Malaysia 2015 today, Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, made a clarion call to all national players and coaches to work hard towards winning gold medals in the SEA Games and Asian Games.

“We have the talents to achieve this feat. I strongly believe there should be adequate quality tournaments in our own backyards if our players are to gain exposure and STL Malaysia is just one of it,” said Khairy.
The national team, added Khairy, created history by defeating Thailand in the final of ISTAF SuperSeries MELAKA 2014/15 in February. This happened just weeks after the completion of STL. And in the Singapore SEA Games last year, Malaysia won gold medal in the inter-regu event, ahead of the 2017 target. 

“PSM must lead the way with development programmes for our youth teams who will replace our present generation of national players. We have to move forward and regain our pride in this region first by claiming the SEA Games gold medal. We have done this before and we can do it again,” he said.

PSM President, Dato’ Haji Ahmad Ismail, said only 40 out 105 players who had showed up for a special selection process at the Paroi Sports Complex in Seremban under the supervision of former national coach Jamaluddin Hassan made the grade to compete in STL Malaysia while 80 others are state-based players who qualified from the National Grand Prix. 

STL Malaysia, added Dato’ Ahmad Ismail, is a concerted efforts between PSM and ASV aimed at focussing in developing a team capable of winning gold at the 29th Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.

Astro Vice-President Sports Business Content Group, Lee Choong Khay, said this collaboration between Asia Sports Ventures and Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia is aimed at taking the sport to new heights.

“We are proud that STL sepaktakraw matches are aired in High Definition (HD) – a first for sepaktakraw, which includes Ultra-Slow Motion feature to ensure fans are provided the most spectacular replays and action throughout our delayed and live telecasts,” said Choong Khay.

 STL, added Choong Khay, is seen as the pinnacle of Sepaktakraw in Malaysia, ranked at par with Malaysian Super League and badminton’s Purple League. The popularity of Sepaktakraw is growing to its former glory days, engaging existing and new fans via TV screens and social media, with STL Face-Book attracting 34,000 likes.

“The 2014/15 STL season attracted over 4 million viewers, with an estimated reach of over 26 million Malaysians. The highest single rating for a match saw 120,000 viewers, with an estimated reach of over 600,000 in Terengganu. We are extremely happy with this figures and believe we can increase it,” he said.

Each team will consist of three regus (five players in each regu), bringing the total number of players in STL Malaysia to 120, and of which 24 are current national players and trainees. However, the 24 national players will only play in the second regu for their respective teams.

At stake is the winner’s purse of RM40,000 while RM20,000 goes to the second-placed team followed by RM10,000 (third) and RM5,000 to the team that finishes fourth.

 Nishant Sehgal, General Manager & Head of Business of Asia Sports Ventures, said: “STL Malaysia marks the dawn of a historic moment in further enhancing the game of sepaktakraw in Malaysia and it is part of our collective effort to increase the number of quality players who will represent the country in future.”

“There is always a demand for SepakTakraw Leagues in Malaysia by fans and players. However, there has never been a platform for sepaktakraw enthusiasts to showcase their talents and STL Malaysia further develops and enhances their skills,” he added.

 Malaysian sepaktakraw fans and TV viewers can once again look forward to comprehensive coverage of STL Malaysia 2015 with LIVE broadcast on Astro Arena Channel 801 every Saturdays and Sundays from 4pm-7pm during the duration of the League over 6 weekends.

 Match Schedule – Saturday (10 Oct, 2015): ATM v Green Titans (Melaka) 12.00pm; Northern Rangers (Kedah) v City Flyers (KL) 4.00pm.
Sunday (11 Oct, 2015): Green Titans (Melaka) v City Flyers (KL) 9.00am; Southern Tigris (Johor) v East Coast Surfers (Terengganu) 12.00pm; Black Panthers (Penang) v Gomo Warriors (Kelantan) 4.00pm.

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