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Tuesday, September 18, 2001

M-Cup - Malaysia Cup matches at Penampang

By Francis Xavier

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Football Association (Sabah FA) has no other choice, but to name Penampang Stadium as the home venue for the Rhinos in the Malaysia Cup campaign.

Confirming this to New Sabah Times Sport yesterday, its executive secretary Harry Baking however said that kick off time remained unchanged (at 4pm).

The Rhinos, who towards the end of their league campaign switched their home venue from Penampang to Likas, have had a good run playing on the Likas turf in their last three home outings in the league. They won all the three fixtures (4-2, 2-1 and 3-1 against Armed Forces, Melaka Telekom and Kelantan JKR respectively).

"The Likas Stadium is under renovation in preparations for the Sukma 2002. The authority concerned doesn’t want to put any delay on the renovation works, so we have no other choice, but to play in Penampang," Harry added.

In the Malaysia Cup competition, Sabah have been drawn in Group D, alongside Premier I league champions Penang, Perlis and Kedah. Sabah need to finish second in the group to make the quarterfinals.

The country’s most prestigious tournament will kick off on Tuesday and Sabah play the opener away to Perlis.

Upon returning from Kangar, they will play their first home tie against Kedah JKR on September 22, and then take on Penang at the Batu Kawan Stadium to complete their first round campaign on September 25.

The Rhinos will kick off the second round campaign against Penang at home on October 2, followed by the Perlis clash on October 6, also at home before completing the group stages away to Kedah JKR on October 9.

Source: New Sabah Times

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Saturday, September 15, 2001

SEA GAmes Football - Battle for gold, pride and honour

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) - The men's football final between Malaysia and defending champions Thailand today promises to be an interesting battle as more than gold is at stake. For Malaysia, it is a match they want to win badly to redeem their battered pride.

Malaysia last played in a SEA Games final 12 years ago when they beat Singapore 3-1. Incidentally, the 1989 Games was also held in Kuala Lumpur.

On the other hand, Thailand are out for revenge for their 1-2 defeat against Malaysia in the Merdeka tournament last June. Thailand, who have won four gold medals in a row since 1993, are also just a match away to equalling Myanmar's five consecutive titles.

Malaysian players, according to skipper Hairuddin Omar, are hungry for success and intend to put Malaysian soccer back on the golden trail.

"The tremendous home crowd support is just the right tonic for us. We really want to repay the crowd with a golden outing," he said.

Team manager Datuk Dr Ibrahim Saad said it would be a real cruncher as Thailand were out to avenge their loss in the Merdeka tournament.

But the "Malaysia Boleh" spirit and crowd support would lift Malaysia to great heights, he said.

"The crowd has not seen Malaysia win for a long time, even in other football tournaments, and I do hope they can watch it tomorrow," he said.

His main worry is that the Malaysian players tended to fumble in front of goal after a promising build-up, as evident in the group match against Vietnam and last night's semi-finals against Myanmar.

Malaysia's coach Allan Harris has predicted a hard match as Thailand have strong players in every department and their strikers can turn half chances into goals.

"They have seen us play, and have played against us before and will be definitely out to avenge their defeat in the Merdeka tournament recently," he said.

He said the Malaysian players could not afford to waste any goal-scoring chances against a team like Thailand.

"Our team spirits are high. Commitment and fighting spirit are there," he said.

Thailand's coach Dolejs Otakar said Malaysia are the 60-40 favourites as crowd support will be a telling factor in the final.

"But I have something up my sleeve, and I believe in my players' ability," he said.

"My players are also raring for a revenge after their defeat in the Merdeka tournament. I hope the defeat will be a blessing in disguise that will push my players to play much better tomorrow night," he said.

He said Malaysia also have another advantage as they beat Myanmar 1-0 in regulation time while Thailand had to slog for 105 minutes to edge Indonesia 2-1 in the semi-finals.

Thailand's leading goal scorer Manit Noyvach, who has five goals to his credit, said Malaysia have a good defence and a safe pair of hands in goalkeeper Kamarulzaman Hassan who has let in only one goal so far.

The final will be played at the Shah Alam Stadium at 8.45pm.


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SEA Games Weightlifting - Sabahan bronze debut

JOHOR BAHARU: Malaysia yesterday earned their last medal on the final day of the weightlifting competition when rookie Jerry Nonong took bronze in the 105kg Snatch/Clean & Jerk category at the Multi-Purpose Hall in Taman Johor Jaya here.

The 21-year-old Sabahan who lifted 312.5kg for third placing said he was satisfied with his achievement considering that this was his first SEA Games appearance.

The event was won by Thai strongman, Therdkhiat Puekkasem who recorded 330kg with Indonesia’s Junaedi at 322.5kg settling for silver. Jerry managed to lift 132.5kg in the Snatch and 180kg in the Jerk.

Malaysia now have one gold, one silver and three bronzes in total with Edmund Yeo contributing the gold, duplicating the feat which his father and national coach William achieved in the 1977 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

National team manager Zainuddin Rashid said he was happy that the team achieved the pre-Games target of one gold, a silver and a bronze.

Meanwhile, Thailand also took gold in the Over-105kg Snatch/Clean & Jerk category through Nopadol Wanwang who lifted 355kg. Second placed was Joko Hanggono of Indonesia with 340kg while Alvin D.Delos Santos of the Philippines collected bronze with a lift of 340kg.


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Friday, September 14, 2001

SEA Games Cycling - Brunei cyclists hope to repeat ‘99 feat

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) - After winning their first-ever medal in the mountain bike event (MTB) in the SEA Games on their home ground two years ago, Brunei hope to repeat their feat in the SEA Games here.

Coach Abdul Ghani Abu Bakar said Chung Kwei Ming, who took the bronze in the Brunei Games, is the their best bet in the men's cross country event to be held at the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) in Sungai Buloh near here, on Saturday.

"We don't set any specific target here. We only hope our riders will be at their best to win medals.

"We want them to gain more exposure in international meets and we hope they could deliver something for the country," he said when met at RRI here Thusday.

Abdul Ghani said at the South East Asia Mountain Bike meet in Cebu recently, Chung took the bronze medal in the cross-country event.

"At the Brunei Games, we had hoped that Hamdani Besar would win the gold in the men's downhill event based on his fine performance before the Games. Unfortunately, during the race, he had a flat tyre.

"This time, we hope the bad luck will not happen again," said Abdul Ghani.

Brunei will be represented by Hamdani, Mohd Samri Rosli and Hamidun Sapar in the men's 1.5km downhill tomorrow, while Chung, Muhammad Shafei Osman and Ali Mustapha Abdul Hamid will take part in the men's cross-country on Sunday.


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SEA Games Football - Malaysia-Thailand final

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia beat Myanmar 1-0 Thursday and advanced to its first Southeast Asian Games soccer final in 12 years.

The hosts will face defending champion Thailand, which beat Indonesia 2-1 with a golden goal in extra time, after the two sides were level after 90 minutes.

In front of a home crowd of 70,000, Mohd Nizaruddin Yusof scored for Malaysia in the 12th minute, latching on a through ball and unleashing a stiff shot outside the box that sailed past the Myanmar goalkeeper.

But the hard-running Myanmar side fought back gamely and launched speedy attacks from both flanks. Forward Ting Naing Tun almost leveled when his attempt went just over the crossbar in the 30th minute.

Source: Associated Press

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Thursday, September 13, 2001

SEA Games - Another tough day for Brunei

By Benny Ang

Brunei continued to find the going tough in the 21st SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia yesterday as several of their contingents were unable to make any inroads into their opposition.

Struggling to match the achievements of the 1999 contingent, there was really very little to smile about as the Brunei contingent continue to find themselves several steps back of the more established nations in this region.

Even the silat team failed to make the impression that it so mightily achieved here in Brunei just two years ago.

Ak Khairul's 5-0 win over Philippines' Anot Vigor in the men's Class A meant that he advanced to the next round but his celebrations proved to be shortlived as he was ousted in the quarterfinals by Malaysia's Ismail Darus.

Following his demise in the quarterfinals were Mohd Sabri Metassan who fell to Myanmar's Myd Aung in the men's class H category, Alidi Alidon who lost to Indonesian Nyoman Yamadhiputra in the class I category and Irwan Hj Ibrahim, who was beaten by another Indonesian Samuel Mallo in the class J category.

Mohamad Amin Ali was dispatched 5-0 by Malaysian Mohd Fajar Subhi Ahmad in class E while Norhayati Othman suffered a similar scoreline defeat in the ladies class A by Le Thi Hang from Vietnam.

The badminton team having suffered a first round exit in the team event failed to get past the first round in the individual event either.

The two top singles players from the Sultanate, Amran Kambar and Huzaini Md Salleh both fell to opponents from Myanmar although the former put up a better fight, going down in three sets.

Amran came back from one set down to tie the match after losing the first set 15-13 to Zaw Win, winning the second set 15-14. But the third set was very one-sided as the Myanmar player raced to a 15-1 win.

Huzaini was given his marching orders from the tournament after losing 15-7, 15-7 to Lwin Aung.

Brunei's two doubles pairings also lost in the first round as Michael Nyau and Zailani Yuin fell 15-5,15-5 to Indonesians Tony Gunawan and Bambang Suprianto while the other pair of Ermadena Hj Talip and Mohd Fadzli Masri were beaten 15-1,15-1 by Pramote Teerawiwatana and Tesana Panvisvas from Thailand.

The men's golf individual event took to the third round with Arfian Hj Kadir remaining the most consistent Bruneian golfer there firing a third round 74 to add to his two previous scores of 74 and 75, leaving him at joint ninth on the leaderboard.

But it is the Philippines' Juvic Pagunsan who reclaimed the sole lead with yet another round of 67 to leave the next golfer five shots behind.

Pagunsan is on a total of 208, five strokes ahead of Thailand's Wisut Artjanawat and 15 strokes ahead of Arfian on 223.

The next Bruneian in the reckoning is Seruji Hj Setia who is at 228 after three rounds while Hj Hamidon Hj Damit, a stroke back on 229, and Hj Shaminan Hj Damit on 236 bring up the rear.

In the ladies event, Chieng Chiew Jing shot a much improved 79 in the second round after her first round of 87 to give her a total of 166.

Still she is 21 strokes behind leader Carmelette Vilaroman from the Philippines and a medal would seem unlikely now.

The pairing of Abdul Rasheed Abdullah and Ian Chok brought little joy in the tennis men's doubles event as they crashed to a first round defeat at the hands of Do Minh Quan and Huynh Chi Khuong from Vietnam 6-2,6-1.

As expected the lawn bowls team remained competitive which saw the ladies fours team trounce Malaysia 28-13 in the initial rounds and then defeat Philippines later in the day by a scoreline of 22-13.

However, the men's fours suffered an agonizing 20-19 loss to the Malaysians.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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SEA Games - M'sia end 10-year badminton gold drought

WONG Choong Hann became hero for the Malaysian badminton team after the homesters beat Indonesia in a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the badminton giants in the men's singles badminton final Tuesday night.

After a ten-year wait, Malaysia finally went on to win the gold after Choong Hann beat Rony Agustinus in the decider 15-1, 15-5, after the score was tied at 2-2.

He was totally in superb form judging from his accurate netplay and dazzling cross-court smashes which forced the nervous Indonesian to make simple mistakes during the two games.

The atmosphere was electrifying as about 2,000 Malaysian fans chanting "Malaysia Boleh" throughout the thrilling four-and-a-half hour battle and stood still until the Negaraku was played in the arena.

The turning point was shown by Malaysian Open champion Ong Ewe Hock who gave Malaysia a lifeline and second doubles Chew Choon Eng-Chan Chong Ming equalised at 2-2.

The last time Malaysia won the team event was in the Manila SEA Games in 1991. Earlier, in the first singles, Malaysian Roslin Hashim almost played a perfect game and only made four mistakes sending the shuttle to the net as Hendrawan could not find his right footing to lose 2-15.

Roslin, who recently joined the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) fold, could have notched the first point for Malaysia when he led twice 8-4 and 9-6 but fumbled against the more experienced Hendrawan 13-15.

World champion Hendrawan got the first point for Indonesia when he finished off Roslin 15-10 in the rubber game.

For tactical reasons, Malaysia fielded 70 per cent fit Choong Tan Fook and Lee Wan Wah in the second match against world number two Candra Wijaya-Sigit Budiarto.

But after the Indonesian pair led 13-5 in the first game, the Malaysian doubles retired as Tan Fook, who was nursering a right knee injury, could no longer bear the pain.

Malaysia, who were trailing 0-2, had to bank on old hand Ong Ewe Hock to keep hopes alive as the match would have been stopped once the winner reached a 3-0 score.

Although under pressure to deliver, Ewe Hock managed to notch the much needed win against Indonesian Open champion Marleve Mainaky 15-12, 15-9.

Then came Choon Eng and Chong Ming, who probably played the best match so far in their life to beat scratch pair Bambang Suprianto-Tony Gunawan in three games 15-7, 10-15, 15-10.

National badminton consultant Indra Gunawan said the strategy was to get the points from the three singles.

"We put Tan Fook as a strategy...When they lost the first singles we were worried but told the players to fight on as the game was not over yet," said a jubilant Indra after the tie.

Source: Daily Express

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Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Swimming - Elvin may not call it quits just yet


KOTA KINABALU: Sandakan-born swimming ace Elvin Chia who grabbed his 4th SEA Games’ gold medal in the 100m breaststroke event on Monday at the National Aquatic Centre, has plans to open a swimming school in Kuala Lumpur if he decides to call it quits after the ongoing 21st Games.

The 24-year-old business management degree holder who gave Malaysia the gold in the 100m breaststroke event in 1:03.15s, confirmed that he is contemplating calling it quits and starting the school and this year could be his final shot in the SEA Games.

However, Elvin still has the urge to help Malaysia for the final fling in next year’s Asian Games, scheduled for September in Pusan, South Korea, if the National Sports Council (NSC) agrees to allow him to enjoy its sponsorship training scheme.

Speaking to New Sabah Times Sport from Kuala Lumpur through his mobile phone yesterday, the Asian Games bronze medallist, is looking forward to his second gold medal in the 200m breaststroke event tonight.

"I am really interested to open such a school in KL after I retire to assist young Malaysian swimmers, who are able to do much better than me at international level championships," he said.

"But if things go on well with the NSC, then I will keep on training and try my best to help my country in the Asian Games before I really make up my mind."

When asked, Elvin said he was happy to grab the gold medal in the 100m event even though he failed to equal nor break his own Games record of 1:02.96s set in the last Games in Brunei. His personal best time is 1:02.59s set during last year’s meet in the United States.

He is not at all concerned whether he breaks or sets a new record as long as he is able to win the gold medal for Malaysia in the 200m breaststroke event tonight…he needs some pushing in order to achieve a new record.

His best time for the 200m is 2:15.62s and believes that should he get a strong challenge, it could spur him to finish in a commendable time…swimmers from the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore are his main contenders.

Elvin made his debut in the SEA Games in 1995 along with another Sabah swimming star Alex Lim Keng Liat. He thanked all those involved in grooming them, such as the NSC, Olympic Council of Malaysia, Sabah Sports Board (SSB), Culture, Youth and Sports Development Ministry and especially his US-based coaches and former Chinese coaches.

He also thanked his ever-supportive parents (with him at the SEA Games in KL). His father Michael Chia was the first coach he had while at a very tender age in Sandakan. He also thanks Victor Tan who had also guided him in the pool before Alex and him were transferred to Kota Kinabalu.

While here, he still remembered SSB coaches Johnny Wong and Auntie Tie Mee Kiong who worked hard in order for them to excel in the pool. Elvin as well as Alex will never forget these people who have brought them to where they are today.

He hopes to deliver the gold for Malaysia in the 200m breaststroke tonight and also in the 4x100m medley relay.

Source: New Sabah Times

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Swimming - King Keng Liat

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Lim Keng Liat established himself as the best backstroke swimmer in South East Asia when he won the men’s 100m on the third day of the SEA Games swimming competition in a record time at the National Aquatics Centre here yesterday.

The meet also saw four Games records re-written.

Keng Liat, winner of a gold medal in the Asian Games in Bangkok two years ago, touched the finishing plate in 00:56.16s, wiping out his own Games record of 00:56.20 set in Brunei.

The 21-year old US-based swimmer, a gold medallist in Brunei Games in 1999, put up a fine display of backstroke swimming to leave his rivals behind.

Thailand’s Dulyarit Phuangthong was second in 00:57.71s and Gary Tan of Singapore, third in 57.89s.

"I was a little bit disappointed because I expected to do much better today. Anyway, I’ll try my best to help Malaysia win the 4x100m medley relay," Lim said after the race.

Malaysia’s other swimmer, Anthony Ang shared the spotlight in the pool, winning the 100m butterfly with a new Games record.

Anthony, beaten by Indonesia’s Albert Sutanto in the Brunei Games, came out strongly to win the gold medal in 00:55.40s, shaving 0:24s off his old mark set in Jakarta in 1997.

His teammate Allen Ong, who took the silver medal in the 100m freestyle, added another to his collection when he clocked 00:55.72 while Singapore’s debutant Gan Wei Ming was third in 56.38s.

Allen, Anthony, Keng Liat and Elvin Chia then teamed up in the 4x100m freestyle race but they ran foul of the rules and were disqualified after finishing second. The Philippines’ quartet were disqualified for flouting the same competition rules.

Singapore relay team of Mark Chay, Ernest Teo, Sng Ju Wei and Gary Tan won the race in 3:27.48s, erasing the old mark of 3:27.69s set by Indonesia in Brunei. Indonesia, who finished third, was adjudged second and Thailand third.

Thailand’s Chornlathorn Vorathamrong continued her fine run after improving on the Games record of 1:04.86s set by Philippines’ Akiko Thomson in Singapore.

She clocked 1:03.93s to win the gold medal while Lizza Danila of the Philippines and Thailand’s Chorkaew Choompol finished second and third respectively.

Thailand also won two more gold medals through Ravee Intporn-Udom in the women’s 800m freestyle and Torwai Sethsorthorn in the men’s 400m freestyle.

Singapore’s swimming sensation Joscelin Teo added her gold medal haul to three when she won the women’s 100m butterfly.


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SEA Games - Sabah runner makes comeback after 20 years

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - In 1981, Soo Chong Peng just missed winning a bronze medal in the 400-metre hurdles in the 11th Southeast Asian Games.

Three children and nine editions of the games later, she's back.

The 39-year old Malaysian veteran competes this week in the 21st SEA Games, her first in 20 years, running the 400m flat race. She has a good chance of winning the medal that eluded her at age 19.

"I'm getting older, but I'm getting better," she said.

When she ran in Manila and managed only a fourth place, Soo wasn't too disappointed.

"I was new to running the hurdles and I had a lot of time ahead of me," she said. The games are contested by 10 Asian nations every two years.

But a hip injury prevented her from entering the 1983 games in Singapore, and two years later she went to study in London, where she stayed for 10 years.

During that time, she got married and gave birth to her two boys, now aged 13 and 14. She also has a two-year-old girl.

On returning to Malaysia in 1994, Soo was keen to make a comeback, but as she was over 30, she wasn't considered a likely international prospect.

Then a string of impressive performances in veterans' events over the past four years - including a 400m hurdles silver in the World Veteran Championships in Brisbane, Australia this July - resurrected her running career.

"I find she just loves to compete. She's got the enthusiasm of a teenager," said Chan Kah Yew, Soo's coach. "She's always there for training, she never complains."

She qualified second fastest for the 400m on the Malaysian team for the current SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, with a personal best this year of 57 seconds.

Soo, who is competing on the flat this time instead of the hurdles because of hamstring and tendon problems, is confident of beating other top runners half her age.

"The Thai girls are very young, aggressive and clock good times," said Soo, the oldest member of the Malaysian track and field team. "But if I can do around 56 (seconds), I'm in with a chance of a bronze."

Her coach Chan agrees. He says she's still strong and has been putting in around five hours of training daily.

"If everything clicks, she can get a medal," Chan said.

Soo, who coaches the Sabah State under-21 athletics team and runs a restaurant in her hometown of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah puts her athletic longevity down to a pragmatic approach to training.

"I did not push myself too hard when I was young. Nowadays, youngsters do that and are under a lot of pressure so they pick up injuries," she said.

"By age 20, they're thinking of retiring."

Soo, who also will be running in the 4 x 400m relay, wants to inspire other athletes her age as she takes to the track in Kuala Lumpur's National Stadium for qualifying races on Wednesday. Most retire from the track by their early 30s.

"If I get a medal it will prove that even if you've got children, you can still compete at the top level," she said.

Source: Associated Press

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