Sri Lanka bags Silver at 26th King’s Cup contest

By Rangi Akbar

Sri Lanka bagged Silver at the 26th King’s Cup World Sepaktakraw Championships in Thailand last week. The men’s team emerged victorious in the Regu Event having overcome Pakistan and Chinese Maccau in straight sets while receiving walk-overs from Australia and Bangladesh. In the final they met the strong Cambodia team and went down fighting at three sets to nil.

The Sri Lanka team which won Silver at the Kings Cup Tournament with the trophy and medals.

Thus Sri Lanka bagged the Silver Medal. This is the first time that a Sri Lankan side had achieved this feat in the history of the game since 1984. The team comprised of brothers Ruwin and Bohar Sarap, L. Elvitigala, K.I. Srimal and M. Anver. The team was coached by Zahiran Hajireen, the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Association and was assisted by T.F. Ousmand. According to the coaches the exposure and the experience gained by both men and women teams will stand in good stead for future events.

According to the President of the Association Nizam Hajireen for the first time a leading sports manufacturer of Thailand “Grand Sports”, who was the main sponsor of the 26th Kings Cup Competition had approached him to explore the possibilities of marketing their products in Sri Lanka through a distributor. They have also agreed to be a part sponsor of the Amateur Sepaktakraw Association (ASTA) of Sri Lanka initially for a trial period of two years.

Nizam Hajireen in turn has invited sports entrepreneurs interested in being the distributor of Grand Sports in Sri Lanka and has requested them to contact him on Tel: 0777-389001. “Grand Sports”, are also manufacturers of quality cricketing gear in Thailand.

Sepaktakraw has been in existence in Sri Lanka since in 1984 by the Malaysians in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports where the then Ministry Sports Official Mr. T.K. Samath, currently a Vice President of the ASTA took the role to engage members of the Malay Community to form a Sepaktakraw Federation for the purpose of spreading the game in the island.

With the help of Malaysian Sepaktakraw Associations and Malaysian Airlines the Sri Lankan teams were initially sponsored to participate in the then organized ‘MAS-Utusan-RTM’ competitions to promote and popularize the game in Sri Lanka. Since then Sri Lanka has participated in many overseas competitions mainly due to the efforts of a band of dedicated sports personalities who formed the ASTA.According to Nizam Hajireen, a double international in rugby and football, the livewire behind the survival and development of the game here, a great deal of work has to be completed in respect of provinces where the game seems to be dormant due to the lack of resources.

Hajireen is of the opinion that merely seeking affiliation to the Sports Ministry is not the answer unless a strong base and foundation of the game is established island wide and thereafter seeks affiliation.
Hajireen also said that he wants to get younger players involved in the game and the older players will be advisors.

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