Sepak takraw team seeks SEA Games glory

April 26, 2023 - 10:18
The competition promises to be tough, with world number one Thailand among the participants, Myanmar, and several other countries that have developed strong teams in the sport.

SEA Games

Trần Thị Vui (left) assists her player in sepak takraw training. Việt Nam expects to win one gold at the 32nd SEA Games. Photo

HÀ NỘI — With their recent 2022 World Championship title in Sepak Takraw, the Vietnamese women's team has set their sights on winning gold at the upcoming 32nd SEA Games.

The competition promises to be tough, with world number one Thailand among the participants, Myanmar, and several other countries that have developed strong teams in the sport.

Despite being a strong force in Sepak Takraw, it has been 20 years since Việt Nam won SEA gold in the sport, with their last victory coming at the 2003 edition on home ground.

Despite having the home-ground advantage at the previous SEA Games, the Vietnamese team could only manage three silvers and three bronzes.

Three silvers of the women's team went to regu (group of three), team regu and quard (team of four), losing to Thailand in all three finals.

The whole team are working hard to end the long-time drought at the Cambodian competition by once again beating the world dominator and SEA Games reigning champion in either doubles or quard event.

"At the 31st Games, we had young talented athletes, but it was their first time at the regional tournament," head coach Trần Thị Vui told reporters. "They faced psychological problems which caused unexpected results."

"A 2-0 win over Thailand at the 2022 King's Cup is a strong push for them to overcome the obsession of losing to Thailand. I hope they will be more confident at the 32nd Games and bring their great ability to bring home victories into play."

In the Hoàng Mai Gymnasium, the team are training hard to improve their serving, blocking and finishing skills.

Vietnamese players (yellow) try to block an attack from Thailand during their 31st SEA Games' team regu final last May in Hà Nội. Thailand won to take the gold medal. VNA/VNS Photo

"We also focus on tactics and combinations between players so that they can work and understand perfectly each other during competing," said Vui. "Currently, they are showing stable performance but still have small details to fix."

"Thailand are very strong in all events. At the last Games, they topped the medal tally with six golds. Their main team and the substitutes are excellent.

"After the King's Cup loss, they made strong actions, replacing all coaches to lift their team. We have not had much information about them and their team for the SEA Games. But whatever changes in their line-up, they are still the biggest challenge of Việt Nam.

"Knowing their power, we understand that making another earthquake against them is really difficult, but we will have to strive hard. By fixing and limiting our errors, we will have the expected results."

According to the former SEA Games champion Vui, in the quard event, Thailand and Myanmar will be the two main opponents of Việt Nam. There is a small gap between participating teams in the doubles, but Thailand is still a strong force.

"Laos are good in doubles," said Vui. "Cambodia have been supported by China and Thailand in training activities. They are a secret at the Games. Therefore we have to work really hard, more than 100 per cent of our ability, to reach the target."

Coach Hoàng Thị Thái Xuân said: "The world championship is our pride but also a pressure for us. As the world champion, we shoulder heavy duty to win at the SEA Games".

"Our athletes are young and lack international experience because we have almost no competition to sharpen our skills. All coaches and players must train and prepare for the Games by themselves. But we will pass this test for victory."

Cambodia organises four events of sepak takraw for men and women from May 6-16 at the Indoor Basketball Hall of the Olympic Stadium Centre in Phnom Penh. VNS