Official Website of Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council
A win away from medal
Sunday, November 20, 2011

Brunei's sepak takraw player Md Shukri Jaineh (L) blocking the ball during their doubles team match against Vietnam at the SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia, yesterday. Picture: Infofoto

The crowd supporting the Brunei
takraw team in Palembang
yesterday.Picture: Infofoto

Finally a good news for Brunei in Palembang, Indonesia.

The national doubles team are just one win away from a medal after splitting their games yesterday in Group A of the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games sepak takraw competition at the Jakabaring Promotion Centre here.

The national team didn't have the brightest of starts after getting hammered 0-3 (11-15, 7-15, 9-15) by Indonesia in their first match in the morning.

However, with the backing of a largely pro-Brunei crowd, the team bounced back with a 3-0 (15-9, 15-7, 15-12) win over Vietnam in the afternoon to keep their hopes of making it into the semi-finals alive at the Nov 11-22 event.

The team made up of captain Md Shukri Jaineh, Ismail Ang and Nur Alimin Sungoh proved to be too much for the Vietnam side.

The Bruneians served the ball well to give their opponents plenty of problems.

It was mostly one way traffic in the first two sets, but the Vietnamese buckled up in the do-or-die third set.

The Vietnam team had opened up a 9-6 lead midway through the set, but with the support from the crowd the Brunei team managed to pull level with three straight points.

But Vietnam would keep their cool and stayed in control of the match.

Brunei, meanwhile, were always on the backfoot and it looked like Vietnam were going to make a comeback.

Vietnam extended their advantage to 12-9, but their poor service game let them down gifting easy points to their rivals.

That helped Brunei to get back into the game scoring on every remaining possession to seal the vital victory.

It was an extraordinary scene with the super loud noise from the crowd and Md Shukri was the favourite.

The Brunei team's killer was mobbed by fans after the match resulting in the sign boards being knocked down. Security had to step in and ask the players to leave.

"I have no idea how we got so many fans (on Saturday), but they definitely made us play with a lot more confidence," said Md Shukri during an interview with The Brunei Times after the win.

"Now we are just looking forward to the next match and hopefully we can put in another good performance," he added.

The national sepak takraw coach Ittiphol Chomchaissak was happy with his team's performance and was thankful for the backing of the fans.

"The crowd was definitely a big factor. This morning the venue was full of Indonesian supporters, but this afternoon the players were a lot more confident thanks to the support," said Ittiphol.

"It was difficult against the Indonesians. The main problem was that the players had stomach upset from eating the wrong food just the day before. But they managed to get more rest and recover before the second game. This helped them to focus better," added the 44-year-old Thai coach.

"The team have really improved considering that we lost to the same team (Vietnam) just last year in the King's Cup in the same event. The team's service game was good today (Saturday)," he added.

The Bruneians will now have to overcome Laos to ensure a spot in the final four which will give them at least a bronze medal.

"It will be another 50-50 game because all teams are quite equal in the doubles event," said Ittiphol.

"I just hope that the team can continue to serve the ball just as good tomorrow (Sunday). If they can do so, I believe that it will give us a better chance of winning," he concluded.

Courtesy from Brunei Times