Malaysia strike inter-regu gold after 24 years

Malaysia’s sepak takraw players react on the podium during the medal ceremony. — Reuters photo

PALEMBANG: 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 and at the 1990 Games in Beijing, China.

The national contingent also bagged two bronze medals yesterday in archery and diving events.

In yesterday’s sepak takraw match, the Malaysians overcame the tremendous home-crowd support for the Indonesia regu at the Ranau Hall of the Jakabaring Sports City to bag Malaysia’s fourth gold at the Games.

The first set was more or less an even match, but the Malaysian regu 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 for the Malaysian regu knowing they have to win to stay in the race for gold. Malaysia were 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.

“We have proven that despite being down 11-17, we should not accept defeat,” said Farhan.

According to the experienced feeder, they never gave up and kept on fighting despite being 11-17 down in the second set.

“We played as usual, picking up point by point and won the set,” he told Bernama.

Farhan, 29, who joined the national squad in 2009, had been waiting for nine years to clinch the gold, and he is the only squad player to feature in every match contested during this competition.

Malaysia had won the gold medal twice, at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, China and the 1994 edition in Hiroshima, Japan.

Meanwhile, archery squad finally ended its barren run at the 2018 Asian Games with a bronze medal in the men’s team compound event at Gelora Bung Karno Archery Range in Jakarta.

Mohd Juwaidi Mazuki, Lee Kin Lip and Alang Ariff Aqil Muhammad Ghazalli defeated Taiwan’s Lin Che Wei, Lin Hsin Min and Pan Yu Ping 225-223 in the third-fourth placing match.

At the Gelora Bung Karno Aquatic Centre, Leong Mun Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri bagged another bronze medal for Malaysia after finishing third in the women’s synchronised 10m platform.

The pair garnered 310.80 points behind gold medallist China (361.38 points) and silver medallists North Korea (337.86).

Meanwhile, Malaysia secured a semi-finals place in the men’s hockey after whipping minnows Oman 7-0 in their last Group B match in Jakarta.

The victory saw the Malaysian Tigers set up a last four meeting with reigning Asian Games champions and Group A winners India tomorrow.

Group B winners Pakistan, the eight-time Asian Games champions, will meet four-time winners South Korea in the other semi-final match on the same day.

Malaysia have never won the men’s hockey gold medal since it was introduced in the 1952 Tokyo Asian Games. — Bernama

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