"Shuttlecock" in SEA Games, Vietnam

Discussion in 'South East Asian Games 2003' started by Loh, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Those of us from Southeast Asia are quite familiar with the SEA Games currently held in Vietnam. But I'm not sure how many of you out there know something about these Games, which include badminton as one of the more popular sports.

    Initially known as the Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, the 22nd SEA Games as is now called, had a 44-year history and was first held in Thailand in 1959 with only 6 countries and 600-odd athletes participating in 12 sports which offered 32 gold medals. Today, more than 3,700 athletes from 11 countries are fighting for 442 golds in 32 sports. East Timor or Timor Leste, which recently gained independence from Indonesia, is the latest member.

    Vietnam was visibly absent from the initial Games as it was engaged in the infamous Vietnam War and was not admitted as a member. After decades of war and isolation, Vietnam joined the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1989 when it won only 3 gold medals. By the last Games in KL again in 2001 (the Games are held every 2 years), Vietnam amassed 33 golds and proved that it is a strong sporting country. Its target as host nation is at least 100 golds. But I'm sure none of these will come from badminton as in the past, for the kingpins in this sport are world-class nations like Indonesia and Malaysia, with Thailand and Singapore hoping for a medal.

    However, Vietnam may yet be able to win another "shuttlecock" game which it has the prerogative to introduce as the host country. Here instead of using the racket to hit the bird you use your legs and maybe your head, but certainly not your hands. This is a rather indigenous sport and may not have been played in all the other participating countries.

    I have not actually seen how they play this game officially, but as a boy, I used to kick around with my peers a home-made shuttlecock made of 3 hen or duck feathers stuck on to about 3 or more pieces of rubber tyre tube sheets (sometimes cut papers) of about 2 inches in diameter to form the base. I'm sure some of our friends from SE Asia must have encountered this game which is called "Capteh" by the Vietnames or "Cakteh" (?) by the Malays. The idea is not to let the shuttlecock drop onto the ground but to continue to kick it either to yourself or your team mates and trying to avoid any interception by your opponents. I suspect that the official rules that the Vietnamese adopt may come close to those for another game familiar to this part of the world and also included in the SEA Games: "Sepak Takraw" - Kicking the rattan ball. Coincidentally the court measurements are identical to those for badminton with some modifications. But three players form a team and they can use flying kicks and their heads.

    Coming back to Vietnam, it was reported that the new sporting and supporting facilities like those for the TV stations of the various participating countries, which are making daily broadcasts to their home countries, are in excellent condition with few hiccups. Patronage of the daily sporting events are phenomenal despite the fact that they are held in different locations! People support is definitely apparent and this marks a tremendous change from the long days when Vietnam was divided into North (Communists) and South (Democrats) and torned by the ravages of war. Today's Vietnam, although still under military rule, has allowed capitalism and the entrepreneurship of its people to slowly emerge. The grand showing at the Games opening at the brand-new My Dinh National Stadium, before a capacity crowd of more than 40,000 was a "massive, musical extravaganza featuring 4,000 singers and dancers, with the country's top 22 singers leading the theme song "For The World Of Tomorrow", and apparently had surpassed all the other Games opening before this. Some reported that such grandeur, such greatness were not far from those seen at the Olympics or the World Cup Finals!

    I hope Vietnam can continue to be a responsible and contributing member of ASEAN and open up more opportunities for its people. Indeed, Vietnam has improved on its economic development as the current Games have demonstrated. With more economic success, hopefully the Vietnamese government will allow more liberties to its people so that the region can prosper together. Southeast Asia is touted by some economists to be the next region that will see the highest growth rate in the world.

    However, in badminton, Vietnam will have no chance to earn a medal, at least not for now. Contenders for the men's gold team event have to be between long-time rivals Indonesia and Malaysia. Thailand may have a chance of getting the bronze in the men's team event and Singapore, maybe a silver or at least a bronze for the ladies' event. The individual gold medals will still be a hard fight between Malaysia and Indonesia for the men. Whether Wong Choon Hann can defeat Sony in the singles is left to be seen. Singapore's Ronald Susilo may spring a surprise. The ladies individual events are more even with all these four better known countries having a chance at the gold, silver and bronze, depending on their form on the day.

    But I think it is hard to take the gold away from Vietnam for being such a fantastic host and the "shuttlecock kicking" gold should rightly go to them for the reward. Even communist China and Russia have changed and allowed capitalism to help raise the livelihood and prosperity of their people. I guess Vietnam has no other alternative but to follow or be left behind.
     
  2. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Shuttlecock Kicking

    I just got the Shuttlecock Kicking results today. Indeed Vietnam has won both the Men's and Women's team gold that they deserved with the silver going to Thailand's teams. Looks like they also compete in individual singles and doubles as well as mixed doubles. This appears to be in the format of badminton matches. I wish they will telecast some of these matches so that we know how the game looked and how it is played.

    As for the badminton team events, Singapore lost to Thailand 1-4 in the men's matches, although Ronald Susilo beat Thai No. 1, Boonsak Polsana 14-17, 15-4, 15-10. However, Singapore still won a bronze when they beat Vietnam 3-2 in Saturday's quarter-finals. (I heard that Malaysia lost to Indonesia and may therefore have to share the bronze with Singapore, leaving Thailand to fight Indonesia for the gold.)

    Singapore's women team did much better as they are assured of a silver when they completely outclassed Vietnam 5-0 in the semi-finals yesterday for a gold medal challenge today against Thailand, who overcome Indonesia 3-2.

    The individual events starting thereafter should prove to be more interesting.
     
  3. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Big Blow To Malaysian Badminton

    I just discovered from "The Star Online" that Malaysia, as the SEA Games defending champion, suffered a massive blow in the men's badminton team event, all the more so against a second best team from Indonesia, which is without the services of Taufik Hidayat and doubles pair of Candra Wijaya and Halim Hariyanto.

    In singles, Wong Choon Hann lost to Sony Dwi Kuncoro, 10-15, 7-15, whom he has beaten three consecutive times this year, although Sony has won once during the Swiss Open in March.

    Then Malaysia's current best doubles pair comprising the very experienced Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah unexpectedly lost in straight games to Indonesia's third-ranked pair of Luluk Hadiyanto and Alven Yulianto, 12-15, 5-15, after squandering a 12-5 lead in the first game.

    It was then left to once World Champion, Roslin Hashim, to salvage some pride for Malaysia, but alas, he too succumbed to pressure and lost in three games to 18-year old Simon Santoso, 15-8, 14-17 and 11-15. When Simon participated in the Singapore Satellite Open earlier, I had the oppportunity of watching him play and knew at once that he is geared for better things although he is relatively small in built. But he compensated this by his speed and agility, intelligent play and a powerful smash to match.

    Perhaps many of us thought that Indonesia has been depleted of world-class players with the migration of some of their senior players to greener pastures and the retirement of others. But it seems that that was only a temporary phase as now the juniors are stepping into their shoes as this 22nd SEA Games has demonstrated.

    Very soon, time will tell whether Indonesia can beat Thailand for the SEA Games crown with their second-stringers!
     
  4. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Historic Gold For Singapore's Women's Team

    Boy, am I glad to write this report!

    In an epic final which truly excites every badminton-loving Singaporean, our "foreign talents" quartet of Li Li (Commonwealth singles champion), Xiao Luxi, Jiang Yanmei and Liu Fan survived almost 4 1/2 hours in the court to eke out a 3-2 victory over Thailand to capture the women's team crown.

    This is history to Singapore for our first gold medal in badminton was won by men's singles champion, Wong Shoon Keat, way back 20 years ago but none for the ladies!

    Thailand had edged out Indonesia in the semi-finals while Singapore had an easier task whipping newcomer Vietnam 5-0. So Thailand is no push-over and our girls had rightly adopted a no-nonsense attitude against their Thai counterparts.

    As expected, Li started the battle first and immediately gave a fright to all when she went down 8-11 in the first game against Salakjit Ponsana (sister of Boonsak?). She was on the brink of defeat when Salakjit raced to a 8-4 lead in the second game but only Li's grit and determination prevented her from giving up and she managed to turn the tables around by winning the rest of the points and the game at 11-8. After that, Salakjit's resistance was broken and Li won the rubber and the match at 11-5. This match took 51 minutes and lasted longer than the average women's singles match.

    In the second singles, our tall and pretty Xiao Luxi was unable to outlast Saralee Thoungthongkam and lost 8-11, 11-6, 3-11 in a marathon match that lasted almost one hour! So the teams were now tied at 1-1.

    Third singles, Jiang Yanmei, however, made short work of Duanganong Aroonkesorn whom she beat easily 11-1, 11-2 in just 15 minutes. It was then 2-1 in favour of Singapore.

    A tactical switch was made by Singapore in the first doubles. Singapore's weaker second doubles pair of Li and Xiao were made to play Thailand's first doubles, Salakjit and Saralee, and true to form, the Thais won comfortably 15-10, 15-7. So it was all square and now it was really down to the second doubles, the final match for the decider.

    Singapore had played the right cards! Jiang and Liu Fan did not disappoint when they summarily demolished their Thai counterparts, Duanganong and Kulchala Worawichitchaikul, 15-10, 15-7, identical scores to the earlier first doubles tie.

    All hell broke loose after that at the Tan Binh Culture and Sports Centre in Ho Chi Minh City or formerly better known as Saigon! Singapore has broken its own record. Never before have Singapore's women badminton players achieved the gold medal in the SEA Games! But the scene was a disorder of joy, of happiness, of fulfilment!

    Tears of joy were emitted by SBA President, Mr Lim Swee Say, who is also Singapore's Minister for the Environment, barely into his second year of service. He proudly apologized: "Sorry, but this is a dream come true. For the last few years we could not even put together a team. So we developed this group and now they are Southeast Asian champions. I hope all Singaporeans will join us in celebrating this fantastic achievement!"

    Indeed, as a badminton fan, I salute our victorious girls and may they work harder for a place in the Uber Cup final round! Hopefully, this triumph will spur our boys to train harder to be among the kingpins in this region!
     
  5. swijaya0101

    swijaya0101 Regular Member

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    as expected ...

    indonesia's ladies are in their dark period ... worst than the 1980s.

    while singapore are using all their china imported players to get the gold.
     
  6. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Although Indonesia has a huge population, many times more than Singapore's, maybe Indonesia should also scout for foreign or home talents in a more systematic way when they are young, nurture and polish them to a state when they can win medals. We also have Indonesian imports and try our best to help them achieve their ambition. Ronald Susilo is a good example. But the Vietnam SEA Games have shown that Indonesia is not bereft of young men who can bring honours to their country when their second-stringers shocked the Malaysian national team by beating them.

    I just hope that Singapore's small success at the SEA Games will rub off to our youngsters and their parents so that more of our talented young men and women can take up sports as a career. For information, as for now, a prize-money of S$10,000 will be awarded to a gold medal winner in the individual events for the SEA Games. Team events will get less, I think. An Asian Games gold medal is worth S$250,000 and an Olympic gold, a cool S$1 million! However, I think no one can collect more than one individual plus one team prize-money for the same sport.

    Anyway, a serious start has been made by Singapore with the opening of the Sports School in just a month's time. This is only the beginning and much will depend on how successful the system will become in years to come. The final test is how many of our national players will ultimately emerge from the Sports School.
     
  7. Joel_y

    Joel_y Regular Member

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    Re: Big Blow To Malaysian Badminton

    I am a little confused: when did he get world champion?
    I know he was ranked #1 for one week or two, but never heard he is world champion.
     
  8. jump_smash

    jump_smash Regular Member

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    Re: Re: Big Blow To Malaysian Badminton

    Never World Champion. Made Quarter finals in 2003, beating Lee Hyun Il (KOR), 15-10, 13-15, 17-14, then losing to Bao Chunlai (CHN) 7-15, 10-15.

    2003 World Champion being Xi Xuanze (CHN) after beating Wong Choong Hann (MAS) 15-6, 13-15, 15-6.
     
  9. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Re: Re: Big Blow To Malaysian Badminton

    I'm sorry. You're right. What I meant was Roslin was on top of the world at one time as World No. One and he is still one of Malaysia's better singles players, even ahead of his younger brother, Hafiz and Lee Tsung Seng. I suppose that's why he was chosen to represent M'sia in the first team. Therefore his loss against Simon, who is just an upstart (but he is well-behaved in court) must have been a devastating blow to himself and to M'sia!

    Sometimes, the problem could be that a much higher-ranked player is too complacent and thought that he could easily outplay a newcomer whom he has thoroughly underestimated. But once he has lost his guard, and the initial damage has been done, it is very difficult for the 'better' player to find back his rhythm. Sometimes it is a complete lost of form that is the cause of the defeat.

    But it is a tremendous boost for Simon, whose confidence level must have shot up quite a bit when he continued to scalp so many higher-ranked players recently. And also good for Indonesia who can rely less on their senior players.
     

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