S’wak Sepak Takraw Association step up pursuit of takraw gold in 2024 Sukma

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Ismail (seated right) and PSS exco (standing) with Abdul Karim (seated centre) and his wife Datin Sri Zuraini Abdul Jabbar.

KUCHING (April 25): The Sarawak Sepak Takraw Association (PSS) is stepping up to target gold medals in the 2024 Sukma to be held in Sarawak.

Its president Datuk Ismail Abang Saufi has revealed that a number of strategies have been identified including external exposure for state players, a good coach and talent search in the rural areas.

“The results of the post-mortem for Sukma XX exposed the weakness of our team which is the lack of exposure when compared to the teams in the Peninsular who participated in many competitions there and even as far as Thailand.

“Even our neighbour Sabah are now improving because they emphasise on exposure by sending their players to train abroad.

“Thus, we see that exposure aspect is very important and we will give exposure to both the men’s and women’s teams with training locations likely to be held in Peninsular Malaysia or Thailand,” he said when met at the Hari Raya Adilfitri open house hosted by Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at the latter’s residence at Jalan Astana, Petra Jaya on Sunday.

“This exposure training will be carried out for quite some time to ensure that our players possess the skills that will enable them to compete with players from other states in the future.

“We will formulate a comprehensive plan on this matter with the cooperation of the Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC),” he said.

Adding on, Ismail said the Sarawak takraw squad will be strengthened with the hiring of a coach from Thailand.

Meanwhile, he will personally go to the rural areas to look for talented players to be absorbed into the Sarawak squad.

Ismail also made the observation that there are many talented players outside Kuching who need to be exposed to competitive matches to polish their talents.

In that direction, PSS will organise a series of pre-Sukma matches to unearth these back-up players.

According to its president, PSS will ensure that sepak takraw contributes as many gold medals as possible in the 21st Sukma.

As for medal targets, Ismail is confident that the women’s team and doubles squad will be able to contribute a gold medal each.

This optimism is based on the encouraging performance of the women’s squad at the previous Sukma in Kuala Lumpur last year.

PSS, he added, will also try to source funds for the sepak takraw development programme because it does not want to put the entire financial burden on SSC.

“We are aware of the big hope of our Minister (Dato Sri Abdul Karim) to see Sarawak become the overall champions in Sukma XXI.

“Therefore, we will try hard to contribute medals to Sarawak so that the overall champions mission can be achieved later,” he pledged.