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Takraw team off to Thailand
Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The national sepak takraw team are off to train with the best.

They departed for Thailand yesterday in preparation for next month's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

According to national sepak takraw coach Ittiphol Chomchaissak, upon arrival they will spend a week at the Suphan Buri province to spar with the Sports School team there.

They will then head to Bangkok to train with the Thai national team before returning to the Sultanate on Nov 20.

"We are there to train with the best in the world and main reason is for sparring purposes," said Ittiphol in an interview with The Brunei Times before departure at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday.

"Progress is good and we hope to raise the standard of our game.

"I know that Malaysia and Indonesia are currently there to train with Thailand as well.

"Our focus is on the hoop event because I feel that we have a better chance at winning a medal," continued the Thai national.

It didn't come as a surprise considering that they bagged bronze in the discipline at the 28th King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championship 2013 in Thailand in September.

With the participation of 14 teams, they even beat out the likes of Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam in the process.

The trio of Md Shukri Jaineh, Ismail Ang and Marzuki Munap are the returning players from the previous edition in Indonesia two years ago.

They are joined by Humaidi Brahim, Abd Hadi Ariffin Matazi and Mohd Hafizzuddin Jamaludin.

Centralised training for the Dec 11-22 Games began earlier last month and the team trains twice a day, six times a week at the Multipurpose Hall of the Menglait Sports Complex.

The team will take part in three out of the five events on offer at the biennial multi-sport competition.

They will compete in the doubles, team (doubles) and hoop events.

All six players will see action in both the team and hoop events, though the players in the doubles event have yet to be confirmed.

Ismail, the national captain, feels that everything is going smoothly and he is also hopeful of doing well in Myanmar.

"Everything is alright at the moment," said Ismail.

"We are hoping to gain a medal in the hoop event, and as for the doubles, we do hope that we can enter the semi-finals.

"Sparring is important for us because we haven't had enough games together.

"There are also not enough teams to play here... We just want to learn from the best in Thailand," added the 27-year-old.

Thailand have long proven their supremacy in the sport - last week's 3rd International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013 a case in point.

The Thais won both the men's and women's division in the tournament in Sabah, Malaysia - beating the hosts for the men's title and Vietnam for the women's.

Brunei - which only sent a men's team - finished sixth after losing 2-1 (15-11, 10-15, 15-7) to Singapore, the country's best finish in the competition having come in ninth in the first two legs in New Delhi in August and Bangkok last month.

None of the players who are now in Thailand competed at the Super Series as Ittiphol opted out of the competition since Brunei is not taking part in the regu event at the SEA Games.

Courtesy from Brunei Times