Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wee Wern can be World No 1

NATIONAL coach Peter Genever has tipped Low Wee Wern to see off a host of young Egyptian challengers in the battle to succeed Nicol David as the World No 1.

  In a survey by Squash Player Magazine, Genever was the only expert out of four interviewed to predict Wee Wern as a future World No 1.

  Three of the four thought Nicol will reign at the top at least until 2017 with Egypt national coach Omar El Borolossy the only one thinking that Nicol would not even figure in the top-10 by then.
  Wee Wern, 24, rose to a high of fifth in the world rankings this year before slipping back two rungs but played a pivotal role in helping Malaysia make the final of the Women’s World Team Championship for the first time last week.

  National No 2 Wee Wern defeated World Championship runner-up Nour El Sherbini in a crucial semi-final tie with Egypt to make that possible.

  Genever expects Wee Wern to make it to the top of the world in five years’ time when the Penang-born player will be 29.

  “This does not include Nicol, but if squash got into the 2020 Olympics, I believe she will play on and look to crown an extraordinary career with Olympic gold,” said Genever.

  “Otherwise, Wee Wern’s natural ability and hard graft will take her to the top. Nouran El Gohar (the Egyptian world junior runner-up), if she adds subtlety to her intensity, or Nour El Sherbini, if she stays injury-free, could be serious contenders for the pinnacle.

  “The strength in depth is improving rapidly and there are exciting times ahead for the women’s tour.”

  El Borolossy picked Nour, 19, to be the world’s top player in three years’ time and does not think Nicol will carry on playing for more than two years.

  “Nicol David will remain at the top of her game for at least one more year,” he said. “Nour has a complete game and will keep maturing and improving.  She will reach her full potential in two years.”

  Nicol has held the world’s top ranking since August 2005 and shows no signs of slowing down as she heads into the World Championship in Cairo next week looking to win an eighth world crown.

  Genever’s predicted top-five in five years’ time is Wee Wern, Nouran, Nour El Sherbini, Nour El Tayeb and American Amanda Sobhy in that order while El Borolossy’s top-five picks in three years’ time are Nour El Sherbini, Raneem El Weleily, New Zealand’s Joelle King, France’s Camille Serme and Nouran.

Sazali is Mr. Perfect 10, Lilian wins her first

Sazali Samad (centre) won his 10th title in the men's 75kg at the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Physique championships in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Sazali Samad (centre) won his 10th title in the men's 75kg at the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Physique championships in Mumbai on Tuesday.

PETALING JAYA: Sazali Samad and Lilian Tan capped a wonderful evening for Malaysia when they emerged triumphant on the final day of the World Bodybuilding and Fitness Physique (WBFP) championships in Mumbai.

Sazali won the below 75kg men’s weight class on Tuesday to make it an unprecedented 10th success at the world meet.

Sazali, who beat a field of finalists including Indian hope Boby Aramban Singh, was delighted to add the world title to the Asian crown he won in Macau in August.

Sazali won his first world title in 1996 and went on to add to his illustrious collection with successful attempts in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

“This is my 10th world title and no words can describe how I feel to bring home this gold medal. It gets harder each time and especially this year as I have moved up from 70kg previously.

“I had to focus on conditioning to make sure my muscles stay in shape and at the same time keep within the body weight.

“Discipline is what keeps me going all these years. I dedicate this to my country,” said the reigning National Sportsman of the Year from Mumbai.

The 46-year-old Sazali was not the only Malaysian winner in Mumbai. Lilian enjoyed the satisfaction of a successful comeback to active competition after one year of absence to win the 55kg women’s weight division.

Lilian, who works as a personal trainer, became the first Malaysian women bodybuilder to win a world title when she won the 50kg weight class in Bangkok in 2012.

Malaysia also claimed silver through Buda Anchah in the men’s 80kg weight class while Syarul Azman Mike Mahen clinched the bronze in the men’s 170cm body physique category.

Four other Malaysians – Mohd Roszaimi Rani, Malvern Abdullah, Azahar Mohd and Mohayan Rosmaini, failed to reach the final.

South Sumatran Culture Highlight Of Palembang Aug Opening

PALEMBANG, Dec 10 (Bernama) -- The unique South Sumatra culture was the highlight of the opening of the 17th Asean Universities Games (AUG) at Stadium Gelora Sriwijaya Jakabaring here tonight.

The 12-day games themed 'Body and Soul for One Heart One Asean" was officially opened by Indonesia's Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla.

Among the honoured guests were South Sumatra Governor, Alex Noerdin and Asean Universities Sports Council president, Prof Dr Anuar Hassan.

Some 20,000 spectators witnessed the opening ceremony which showcased various dances performed by 600 university students from throughout Palembang and performances by the Gigi band, Dewi Gita and Andi Rif.

In the march past, the Malaysian contingent was led by chef-de-mission Datuk Dr Abdullah Muhamad Said while national karate exponent Lim Chee Wei was the flag bearer.

The Malaysian contingent comprising 322 athletes and 77 officials is vying for medals in 20 events.

Sabah Muncul Juara Sukan Persahabatan BIMP-EAGA

LABUAN, 10 Dis (Bernama) -- Kontinjen Sabah muncul juara temasya Sukan Persahabatan BIMP-EAGA 2014 yang berakhir hari ini, dengan mengumpul sejumlah 42 pingat iaitu 14 emas, 13 perak dan 15 gangsa.

Sulawesi Selatan di tempat kedua dengan meraih 10 pingat emas, empat perak dan empat gangsa; ketiga Sarawak dengan lapan emas, sepuluh perak dan lapan gangsa.

Papua pula melonjak di kedudukan keempat dengan membawa pulang tujuh emas, dua perak dan tiga gangsa; Kalimantan Timur di tempat kelima dengan enam emas, lima perak dan empat gangsa.

Tuan rumah Labuan di tangga keenam setelah meraih lima emas, sepuluh perak dan 20 gangsa; meninggalkan Kalimantan Barat dan Kalimantan Selatan masing-masing mengumpul 11 serta enam pingat.

Brunei dan Mindanao masing-masing di kedudukan kesembilan dan sepuluh dengan tiga pingat emas; Maluku memperoleh dua emas manakala Palawan hanya mengutip dua pingat gangsa.

Sejumlah 67 pingat emas ditandingi dalam 10 acara.

Menteri Belia dan Sukan Khairy Jamaluddin menutup temasya berkenaan malam ini.

Keselamatan Penyokong Malaysia Di Perlawanan Piala AFF Suzuki Di Hanoi Terjamin

KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Dis (Bernama) -- Kerajaan Vietnam memberi jaminan keselamatan penyokong Malaysia pada perlawanan separuh akhir kedua Piala AFF Suzuki 2014 di Stadium My Dinh, Hanoi, pada Rabu.

Duta Besar Vietnam ke Malaysia Pham Cao Phong berkata penyokong Malaysia tidak harus bimbang hadir menyaksikan pertandingan walaupun insiden kekacauan berlaku pada perlawanan separuh akhir pertama di Stadium Shah Alam pada 7 Dis, dikesalkan.

"Apa yang berlaku di Stadium Shah Alam dikesalkan dan kami amat sedih melihat rakyat Vietnam diserang...Tetapi kami ada menerima panggilan telefon daripada Khairy Jamaluddin (Menteri Belia dan Sukan)...Kami bercakap mengenai hal itu.

"Kami jamin bahawa bila penyokong Malaysia datang ke Vietnam, mereka dialu-alukan.

"Vietnam adalah negara ramah mesra dan Malaysia amat rapat dengan kami...jiran dan 'saudara' dalam keluarga Asean," katanya kepada Bernama pada majlis meraikan permulaan tugas Duta Vietnam ke Malaysia, di sini pada Rabu.

Phong diminta mengulas mengenai kejadian baru-baru ini di mana penyokong Vietnam diserang penyokong Malaysia, semasa perlawanan Malaysia menentang Vietnam.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

World mission for Azizulhasni

All cannons are now aimed at a little town on the outskirts of Paris, where Azizulhasni Awang vows to take his third UCI Track World Championships medal in February.

  A fourth place in the keirin at Round Two of the UCI World Cup in London on Sunday boosted the two-time World Championships silver medallist’s confidence enough to announce an all-out assault in the 2015 World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

  “It is now full focus on the World Championships.

“I head back to Melbourne to work solely on that target,” said Azizulhasni, 26.
  The three-time UCI World Cup overall keirin champion has not tasted World Championships success since his keirin silver medal in Ballerup, Denmark in 2010 which followed a silver in the sprint in Pruszkow, Poland a year earlier.

  But the hunt was marred by a career-threatening calf injury sustained via a horrific crash at the Manchester Velodrome in 2011 where an 11-inch wood splinter pierced through his calf kept the fiery sprinter at bay in the coming years.

That no longer seems the case.

  “I’m satisfied with the result because it shows my performance has improved as planned and the mission to make the final was achieved,” said Azizulhasni.
  “I was so close to a podium finish.

“I thought I’d finished third but Volkakis just managed to squeeze through at the finish line.
“I lost by just 0.007s. I didn’t make it in the sprint with only a 28th fastest time, but I’m confident that by the time we reach the World Championships in France the times will be much better.”

  Azizulhasni also announced that his World Cup campaign this season ended in London to make way for 100 per cent focus on the World Championships.

  “I will skip the final round of the World Cup in Cali (Colombia on Jan 17-18) as I want to put everything into my World Championships preparations,” said Azizulhasni.  

No Chong Wei, No Malaysian in Superseries Finals

For the first time ever, Malaysia will not have any representatives at the BWF Destination Dubai World Superseries Finals in Dubai from Dec 17-21.

So, the immediate task for Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) technical director Morten Frost Hansen will be to make sure that Malaysia are not put in such a situation next year.

Former great Frost, who will only start work as BAM’s technical director in March, is scheduled to arrive earlier to discuss and plan his programmes with all the coaches in the set-up.

BAM deputy president Datuk Norza Zakaria said that the absence of a local shuttler in the finale of the Superseries tour showed up three weaknesses of Malaysian badminton: over-reliance on world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei; poor planning; and the lack of successors coming through.

Chong Wei has qualified as the top-ranked shuttler for the Finals but had to forgo the tournament – for the first time since its inception in 2007 – because he is serving a temporary suspension following a doping violation at the World Championships in Copenhagen in August.

The Malaysian superstar, who won the Malaysian Open, All-England, India Open and Japan Open this year, has been tested positive for the banned substance dexamethasone and is waiting for a hearing to clear his name – and escape a two-year ban.

Norza is clearly disappointed.

“We have relied too much on Chong Wei. I’m disappointed that his two successors – Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren – have failed to narrow the gap this year,” said Norza.

“In the recent Axiata Cup (semi-finals), Wei Feng was the team captain in the absence of Chong Wei but he faltered when it mattered most.

“If these two seniors do not buck up, we may have to forget about them and focus on the youngsters.

“We are one of the badminton powerhouses but it is sad that we will not have any Malaysian in this major BWF tournament for the first time.

“This should not happen again.”

And Norza is banking on Frost to restore the country’s battered image.

“We hope Morten will look into these glaring problems in the men’s singles department and come out with solutions,” he said.

“He officially starts work in March but he will be here in January ... to sit down with everyone in the training and coaching set-up to review and re-strategise.”

Since 2007, Malaysia have produced several champions in the World Superseries Finals, like Chong Wei (men’s singles four times in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013), Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong (men’s doubles in 2008), Wong Mew Choo (women’s singles in 2009) and Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui (women’s doubles in 2008 and 2009).

(Only the top eight after 12 legs qualify)

Men’s singles: 1. Chen Long (Chn), 2. Jan O Jorgensen (Den), 3. Son Wan-ho (Kor), 4. K. Srikanth (Ind), 5. Kento Momota (Jpn), 6. Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den), 7. Tommy Sugiarto (Ina), 8. Kenichi Tago (Jpn).

Men’s doubles: 1. Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong (Kor), 2. Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin (Tpe), 3. Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn), 4. Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina), 5. Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan (Chn), 6. Chai Biao-Hong Wei (Chn), 7. Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den), 8. Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol (Kor).

Women’s singles: 1. Wang Shixian (Chn), 2. Wang Yihan (Chn), 3. Saina Nehwal (Ind), 4. Ratchanok Intanon (Tha), 5. Sung Ji-hyun (Kor), 6. Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe), 7. Bae Yeon-ju (Kor), 8. Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn).

Women’s doubles: 1. Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn), 2. Reika Kakiiwa-Miyuki Maeda (Jpn), 3. Tian Qing-Zhao Yunlei (Chn), 4. Christinna Pedersen-Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den), 5. Luo Ying-Luo Yu (Chn), 6. Chang Ye-na-Kim So-yeong (Kor), 7. Jung Kyung-eun-Kim Ha-na (kor), 8. Greysia Polii-Nitya Krishinda Maheswari (Ina).

Mixed doubles: 1. Xu Chen-Ma Jin (Chn), 2. Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei (Chn), 3. Tantowi Ahmad-Lilyana Natsir (Ina), 4. Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na (Kor), 5. Sudket Prapakamol-T. Saralee (Tha), 6. Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock (Eng), 7. Joachim Fischer Neilsen-Christinna Pedersen (Den), 8. Michael Fuchs-Birgit Michels (Ger).

FAM considers life bans

FA of Malaysia (FAM) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has endorsed the idea to ban unruly fans from stadiums for life.

This comes following the fracas in Sunday’’s AFF Cup semi-final, first leg match in Kuala Lumpur, where a small group of Malaysian fans assaulted Vietnamese supporters.

“Tengku Abdullah wants the proposal to be handed to FAM’’s security committee for deliberation and implementation.

“We want to ban those charged for the altercation from stadiums for life,” said FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin in Hanoi yesterday.

“”We are working closely with the police as this incident has embarrassed FAM. Our president is upset with the incident and he hopes those involved will be punished accordingly.””

Many are expecting a commotion between the supporters of both teams in tomorrow’’s return leg in Hanoi but the Vietnam Fan Club (VFC) has promised to ‘keep calm’ at My Dinh Stadium.

“”The president of VFC will advise his members accordingly. I am also making arrangements for Malaysian fans to gather at one place before entering the venue,”” said Hamidin.

On whether Malaysian fans have taken up the 1,000 tickets allocated for the match, Hamidin said response has been very poor.

“”None of the tickets have been sold. We have returned 600 tickets to the Vietnam Football Federation. The other 400 will also be given to them if there is no response.”

“”I’’ve called up fan clubs in Malaysia to purchase the tickets but some are hesitant following the fracas on Sunday,””” said Hamidin.

Hamidin added that FAM has not replied to the show cause letter from the Asean Football Federation (AFF).

“”We have been given one week and we will reply accordingly by Friday.”

Your move, FAM

THE “12th man” is a term affectionately used to refer to football fans of any club or country.

These fans are like the 12th player as they can inspire the team to greater heights or to turn around a seemingly hopeless situation with their fanatical support.

But once they cross the line – by turning violent – then, they are no longer fans ... but plain hooligans!

And that’s what the small but unruly group of fans were after what they did during the AFF Suzuki Cup match between Malaysia and Vietnam at the Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday.

But this is not a new problem. It has been brewing for some time now.

The ugly fiasco on Sunday has certainly tarnished the image of Malaysia. Indeed, it’s a black day in Malaysian football.

So, what happened on Sunday?

It all flared up after Vietnam scored the second goal to lead 2-1 at the hour mark (which happens to be the final score as well).

The 3,000-odd Vietnam supporters celebrated on the stands.

The next thing you know, a group of unruly home fans stormed into the Vietnam section and began to brutally attack the visiting team’s supporters – right in front of the police.

If that’s not defiance, then I don’t know what is.

How could such an incident occur despite the tight security at the stadium? Where was the security?

This has to be the final straw. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have got to stop giving excuses and calling for emergency press conferences to give their side of the story.

The bottom line is that damage has been done ... despite repeated warnings.

What made Sunday’s brazen attack even worse was that women spectators were not spared either.

The ruthless attack left several Vietnam fans all bloodied and the senseless act has even gone viral.

The country has been shamed. All because of this group of mindless minority.

Malaysia used to boast of being one of the best hosts when it comes to organising international sporting events.

The FAM were even known as a “role-model association” once.

About 20 years ago, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) sent a delegation to Malaysia to study FAM’s organisational structure and administrative set-up. And they were impressed with what they saw.

What has happened, FAM?

Let’s not court disaster, now. FAM have to get tough and stop the rot before a life is lost.

Crowd violence at football matches is nothing new.

It has happened all over the world – even domestically. Only thing is that it has been getting out of hand, lately.

Have we all forgotten the Heysel and Hillsborough tragedies?

In 1985, 39 people lost their lives and some 600 were injured when fans were pinned against the wall due to overcrowding before the start of the European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium.

In 1989, 96 people died and 766 were injured during the FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at the Hillsborough Stadium.

Do we want to see such tragedy at our venues?

Closer to home, two people were killed during a stampede at the 2011 SEA Games football final between Malaysia and Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta. In this incident, counterfeit tickets were sold copiously and this led to more than 100,000 supporters rushing into the stadium.

The Gelora Bung Karno Stadium was once deemed a “high risk” venue. (A venue which is deemed “high risk” requires a higher level of safety and security).

Now, do we want our stadium to become one as well?

Instead of finding scapegoats for the Shah Alam Stadium fiasco, let’s focus our attention on how to solve the problem.

It has to start with FAM.

Educating the public is one way. Increasing security is another.

The police must come down hard on the perpetrators as well and put the fear of the law in those who think they can breed lawlessness.

FAM should also sit down with their affiliates and iron all out the security weaknesses at all the stadiums. It also pays to be vigilant at all times.

This malaise is spreading – fast. So, the authorities had better get cracking.

FAM Should Follow UEFA's Approach In Tackling Hooliganism - Velappan

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 (Bernama) -- Former Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Assistant Secretary-General, Datuk Peter Velappan has suggested that the national body should follow the European Football Association's (UEFA) approach in tackling football hooliganism in the country.

Expressing his concern on the matter, he said FAM must play a more proactive role to curb violent acts as was being done by UEFA which handed severe punishment to its affiliates if their fans caused commotions either at home or away matches.

"We should learn from them (UEFA) on their method of handling the hooliganism issue. I'm quite sad with the commotion that happened at the Shah Alam Stadium last Sunday where a few Vietnamese fans were injured after being attacked by our supporters, which indirectly has tarnished the image of Malaysian football fans who are known for their good conduct.

"This situation never happened during my days in FAM before. So, I hope that FAM and the police will look into this matter in future matches," Velappan said.

He told this to reporters when met at the launching of the second edition of 1Malaysia Cup Under-19 (U-19) football tournament by Yayasan Rakyat 1Malaysia (YR1M), here, today.

A few Vietnamese fans were reported to have suffered injuries after being attacked by Malaysian supporters following Malaysia's 1-2 defeat to Vietnam in their semi-final first-leg match in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 competition at the Shah Alam Stadium last Sunday.

Velappan also backed Youth and Sports Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin's suggestion for FAM to hand down severe punishment to the vicious fans, such as barring them from entering stadiums for life if they were found have a bad track record in previous matches.

On the Shah Alam incident, the former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Secretary-General pointed out that a lack of security officers present before and after the match was the main factor causing the commotion to happen.

"I do not know what happened since I was not in the stadium, but by the time police acted, damage had been done. FAM (officials) and police should be on the alert to avoid any untoward incidents before and after matches," he added.