Defending champions Malaysia bounced back from a preliminary round defeat against Singapore to turn the tables on their neighbours following a 2-0 victory in the third-fourth placing playoff match in the ISTAF SuperSeries KOREA 2-14/15 at Wolmyeong Arena.
National head coach Abdul Ahmad Talib benched Sahidan Ali (tekong) and KhairolZaman(striker) in the starting line-up and instead introduced HairulHazizi(tekong), team captain ZuleffendiSumari(feeder) and MohdZamree as striker against the Singaporeans.
On the opposite end, Singapore replaced AfifSafiee(striker) who played in the shocking win over Malaysia on Thursday with AsfandiJa’al but maintained FarhanAmran as tekong and FarhanAman in his feeder role.
The strategy worked in Malaysia’s favour, which emerged champions in ISTAF SuperSeries MALAYSIA 2014/15 - the second round of the series in Malacca two months ago but ran into troubles here in Gunsan, coasting through 21-18, 21-9 wins in 42 minutes.
“It was not what we had targeted for but to beat Singapore and finish third is a good achievement as the players had learned from earlier mistakes,” said Malaysian head coach Abdul Ahmad Talib. “We will return study our performance here to avoid similar situations in the Kings Cup.”
The Malaysians will next compete in the Thai King’s Cup World Championship from May 4-10 and the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) from June 6-15 in Singapore while the fourth leg of the ISTAF SuperSeries is scheduled in September.
Meanwhile, defending champions Thailand won both the men and women’s championships against Korea with identical scores of 2-0. The men’s team won 21-10 and 21-19 while the women were stretched to the limits before winning 21-12, 21-18.
The Mayor of Gunsan City, Moon Dong Shin presented the ISTAF Super Series Trophy to the Thai men’s team.
SittipongKhamchan’s near perfect service accounted for almost 40 percent of the points gained while ThawisakThongsai once again played the leading role as striker, punishing the Koreans with his powerful bicycle kicks.
Nevertheless it was a proud moment for the Korean men and women teams in Gunsan City after both were knocked out in the semi-finals stages at the last series.
“Overall we are very satisfied with our performance here,” said coach Yoo Dong Young. “I believe the men and women’s teams have improved tremendously since the last series in Malacca and now look forward to the Thai King’s Cup World Championships in May.”
Men’s Final: Thailand bt Korea 2-0 (21-10, 21-19); 3-4th: Malaysia bt Singapore 2-0 (21-18, 21-9); 5-6th: Indonesia bt Myanmar 2-1 (21-10, 16-21, 21-17); 7-8th: Japan bt China 2-0 (21-17, 21-15)
Women’s Final: Thailand bt Korea 2-0 (21-12, 21-18); 3-4th: Indonesia bt Vietnam 2-0 (21-16, 21-13).