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Sepak takraw team finally break SEA Games medal jinx in coach's farewell
Monday, December 30, 2013

Who will take up the hot seat for the national sepak takraw team in the new year?

The national sepak takraw coach position is now open despite a good year for the sport.

Ittiphol Chomchaissak ended his 12-year reign as the national coach in style after bagging two bronze medals at the recently concluded 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

It was the first time in six tries at the biennial Games that the Thai saw his charges finish on the podium.

They started out their campaign with a shared bronze in the hoop event at the Wunna Theikdi Indoor Stadium in Naypyidaw, but with only four teams, the Sultanate was already guaranteed a medal before kick-off.

They finished third in the event with 430 points, beating out Singapore who had only 230 points.

The team continued their good form and followed that up with a joint-bronze medal in the men's team double event as losing semi-finalists.

They started out with a 2-1 victory over Singapore before cruising to a 3-0 win over Cambodia to finish top of Group A.

However, they were stopped in their tracks 2-0 by Indonesia in the last-four.

Tired legs showed in the men's double event as they failed to advance past the group stages after losing all their games.

It was bittersweet for Ittiphol as his reign concluded with a 2-0 loss to Laos in Group A.

Ittiphol will move on to coach Vientam's women team, but what will happen to sepak takraw in Brunei?

The Thai national highlighted areas which require improvement and will definitely help the sport in the future.

"The Bruneian players need to go out to compete more," said Ittiphol previously.

"They don't have enough exposure and require more experience in the game.

"Also the management needs to improve. The release of players working from the police or army for training is also slow," he added.

"During my 12 years here, sometimes I even had to pay for food (for the players) because there is no allowance for attending training since not everyone is working," continued Ittiphol, who won gold at the SEA Games with the Thai national team back in 1993.

That is exactly what parties involved have to look into should they want to see more success.

There were indeed some golden moments for the Sultanate earlier in the year too.

The Under-21 team finished with one gold and one silver at the 5th Borneo Games in Labuan in September.

They finished at the top of the podium in the regu event after defeating Sabah 3-0 in the final while the silver came from the men's double event, where they were second best after losing 3-1 to Sabah in the final.

Brunei also contested the 28th King's Cup Sepak Takraw Championship 2013 in Thailand the same month.

They bagged silver in the team event of Division 1 after losing to the Philippines in the final and the squad also netted bronze in the 14-team hoop event after beating Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam in the process.

The Sultanate competed in all three rounds of the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013. It wasn't smooth as they managed ninth placed finishes in the first two legs in India and Thailand. With the seniors having to prepare for the 27th SEA Games, Brunei went to the final leg in Kota Kinabalu from Oct 31-Nov 3 with a junior team - and they pulled off a great surprise to finish sixth.

Courtesy from Brunei Times