Thursday, September 22, 2011

RUGBY SEVENS: Malaysia in easy group

MALAYSIA have been drawn in a relatively kind group, and look good to achieve their top-four target in the Borneo Sevens at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu.
The tournament starts today with the Asia Pacific Women Sevens, where Malaysia is in the same category as China, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
Malaysian men kick off their campaign against Brunei tomorrow, and the others in their pool are Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The Borneo Sevens is the second round of the HSBC Asian Rugby Sevens Series, one of only two events in the Asian circuit where teams can earn points to qualify for the Hong Kong World Cup Sevens Series.
The other is the Shanghai Sevens which was held in August and Malaysia were placed sixth, behind China.
“It was a good draw and Malaysia will be fighting for the top spot in their pool. We have to beat Brunei and Taiwan to be in the running to advance to the Hong Kong World Cup Sevens”, said Malaysian coach Wan Ibrahim Wan Chik.
Malaysia now need to finish among the top four in Kota Kinabalu to confirm their spot in the Hong Kong World Cup Sevens Series.
Malaysian women's skipper Haslinda Salleh, 27, said: "We are a development side and looking for more exposure in this tournamnent. I believe it will be a tough tournament, but my players are game to give their best."
The women's team is made up of students, housewives and even those who hold professional jobs.
"We finished third in the last tournament, and I believe we are the same standard as Singapore while we have yet to play Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
"China are out of our league, so we will be having a tough and bruising tournament where we will try and keep our third spot," said the Malaysian women's team manager Raimi Yusof.
Organising chairman Velayuthan Tan said: "Rugby Sevens has grown tremendously and is now recognised as an Olympic sport. It will be making its debut in the 2016 Olympics and that is why Malaysia need to prepare early so that we have a better chance in the qualifier."
MEN -- Pool A: South Korea, China, Thailand, Sri Lanka; Pool B: Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei; Pool C: Japan, Kazakhstan, Philippines, United Arab Emirates.
WOMEN: Pool A: Singapore, Hong Kong, Cook Islands, Samoa; Pool B: China, Malaysia, Tonga, Papua New Guinea.
TODAY: Women -- Singapore v Cook Islands, Hong Kong v Samoa, China v Tonga, Malaysia v Papua New Guinea, Singapore v Samoa, Hong Kong v Cook Islands, China v Papua New Guinea, Malaysia v Tonga.
Singapore v Hong KOng, Cook Islands v Samoa, China v Malaysia, Tonga v PApua New Guinea.

KLHC and Sapura in control

By Ajitpal Singh

DEFENDING champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC) and Sapura maintained their 100 per cent record in the TNB-MHL Premier Division after both teams recorded their second league victories in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

KLHC cruised to a 7-2 win over minnows UiTM while Sapura edged Maybank 3-2.
KLHC started on a promising note by taking a healthy three-goal lead through Chua Boon Huat (5th minute), Harvinder Singh (26th) and Kevinder Singh (41st).
UiTM, however, fought back with two quick strikes from Tariq Nazir Ahmad (43rd) and Muhd Aslam Hanafiah (46th).
KLHC tightened their game and scored four more times through Ismail Abu (52nd), Boon Huat (56th), Fitri Saari (62nd) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Jalil (68th) for three points.
"I am happy with the win but unhappy with the performances of my players," said KLHC team manager George Koshy.
"UiTM made it difficult at first as they defended well. We need to work on several areas before we play Maybank (tomorrow)."
Sapura, the former champions, defended frantically in the final minutes of the match against Maybank to claim their second league win.
They took a comfortable 3-0 lead through a brace from Azreen Rizal Nasir (first and 21st) and a penalty corner set-piece from captain S. Kuhan.
Maybank forced themselves back into the match with Zulhairi Hashim's two goals in the 26th and 44th minutes.
Sapura then conceded several penalty corners, which Maybank failed to convert.