Asian Games: Sepak takraw earns Indonesia 31st gold medal

Nurni Sulaiman | The Jakarta Post | Palembang, South Sumatra

Jakarta   /  Sun, September 2, 2018  /  07:42 pm

Indonesian sepak takraw players try to to return the ball during a match against South Korea in the Regu semifinals of the Asian Games in Jakabaring Sport City, Palembang, South Sumatra, Aug. 27, 2018.(JP/Jerry Adiguna)

The Indonesian sepak takraw’s men team presented the 31st gold medal for the host country in the 2018 Asian Games on Saturday. Indonesia defeated Japan in the men’s quadrant category with 2-1 (15-21, 21-14 and 21-16).    

The Japanese team of Seiya Takano, Masanori Hayashi, Yuki Sato and Takeshi Terashima bagged the first set, but after Muhammad Hardiansyah Muliang, Saiful Rijal, Rizky Abdul Rahan Pago and Nofrizal of Indonesia improved their coordination, they secured the second and third sets.

Sepak takraw has contributed one gold medal, one silver and three bronzes to the Indonesian medal tally.

 “I saw Japan use a strategy of two killers on the wings and two feeders to take the lead in the first set, but I changed the strategy [in response], and here we are as the winner,” said Indonesian coach Asry Syam.

Singapore and Vietnam shared bronze in the men’s quadrant category.

In another match, Thailand defeated Vietnam 2-0 (21-8, 21-10) in the women’s quadrant final, while the Indonesian women’s quadrant team shared the bronze medal with Laos.

When asked what the future had in store for sepak takraw in Indonesia, coach Asry said the government had begun to take [the sport] seriously and thus had provided a solid environment for the sport to grow.

“What is also important is that the government is starting to think about the sepak takraw athletes’ future, like their jobs and future career,” he said.