Palembang, MINA — The 24-year wait was not in vain. Malaysia Tuesday won the coveted inter-regu sepak takraw gold medal of the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, beating host Indonesia 2-1 in the final.
Malaysia last won the Asian Games gold in 1994 in Hiroshima, Japan. It won the gold one other time, at the 1990 games in Beijing.
In today’s match, the Malaysian regu overcame the tremendous home-crowd support for the Indonesia regu at the Ranau Hall of the Jakabaring Sports City to serve excellence on the court.
The first set was more or less an even match, but the Malaysian Team of Muhammad Zulkifli Abd Razak (tekong), Farhan Adam (feeder) and Mohamad Azlan Alias (attacker) made some mistakes towards the end of the set and went down 18-21.
The second set was more intense with the Malaysian team knowing it had to win to stay in the race for gold. It was trailing 11-17 at one stage but fought back to level the score at 19 and went on to win 22-20. In the decider set, the Malaysian regu seemed to have read the opponents well and raced to a 21-11 victory to secure the gold.
The victory has taken Malaysia’s gold haul at the games to four. Malaysia has to win three more golds to reach the target of seven golds at this Asian Games.
Meanwhile, chief coach Abdul Talib Ahmad said he was grateful for the victory and thanked all those who had worked hard to prepare the squad for the games.
“I shed tears after Malaysia achieved the victory after such a long time.
“In the game just now, I saw the commitment of the players at the highest level. They gave their best for the country,” he said to Bernama.
Abdul Talib also thanked all Malaysians who had prayed for the success of the team.
“I also thank the Sepaktakraw Association of Malaysia, National Sports Council (NSC) and National Sports Institute for having worked together to raise the game of the national team,” he said. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)