India lose, settle for maiden bronze in Sepaktakraw

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) India's fine run in the ISTAF SuperSeries India Sepaktakraw competition came to an end Sunday when they were defeated 15-13, 8-15, 6-15, 3-15 by Malaysia in the semifinals.

Backed by a loud home crowd, the fourth seeds began well at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex here, confidently taking the first set despite star striker Akash Singh looking a little subdued compared to his Malaysian counterpart Norshahruddin Mad Ghani.

In the second set, India matched Malaysia point-for-point early on but fell back from 4-all to allow the second seeds take the lead and the set.

Malaysia led all the way in the third set -- at one point scoring seven straight points. In the fourth, it was all over for the hosts as their opponents raced to an 11-2 lead in less than eight minutes and sewed up the game in 10.

"This is the first time in Indian sepaktakraw history that we've managed to take a set off Malaysia. We played well but more than that, we had a fine run in the tournament and I'm very pleased with our overall performance," said coach Hemraj.

Hemraj used the same team as he had from Day 1 with Akash, Sandeep Kumar and G. Jiteshor Sharma defeating Singapore twice in their group matches and Iran in the quarterfinals.

Despite their loss, India are assured of a bronze medal whatever the outcome of the third-fourth placing match against Indonesia, who lost 13-15, 14-16, 9-15 to South Korea in the other semifinal.

South Korea will meet Malaysia in the final.


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