SIBU: The Malaysian women’s volleyball team aims to give a tough fight to their opponents at the 29th SEA Games while hoping that their good performance can land them a medal.
Chief coach Datuk Moh Wu Ming said though other teams were stronger, anything could happen if they hit their stride at the right time.
He said even though they had not set any medal target for the team, the girls should not be ruled out for the medal.
The national team are in the Group B preliminary round which includes 2015 silver medallist Vietnam and the Philippines.
Group A comprised defending champions Thailand, bronze medallists Indonesia and Myanmar.
“We are not too far behind Vietnam, who took the silver in the last games.
“If we play to our strengths, anything can happen,” he added.
Preparation to assemble the team started after the last SEA Games and it was in January this year that the team began training in Sibu.
Three of the players are from the 2013 SEA Games and another one is from the 2015 Games.
The girls are currently taking part in the Sibu International Women’s Volleyball Championship 2017, which sees the participation of Hong Kong national team as well as college and university teams from Thailand and China.
After the championship, they will leave for Kuala Lumpur on Aug 10 to continue their training at the Games village.
Malaysian contingent’s chef-de-mission to the KL SEA Games Datuk Marina Chin said she was very impressed with the team’s performance in their first game against Beijing’s No. 12 Middle School where they won 3-0.
“I am confident that with hard work, we will make Malaysia proud. All I want from the team is for the players to do their very best,” she said.
She wanted Malaysians to come out to support the team during the games.
The ongoing five-day Sibu International Women’s Volleyball Championship 2017 is good exposure for the team.
Sarawak Amateur Volleyball Association president Temenggong Vincent Lau Lee Ming said that through the championship, the Malaysian girls would be able to gauge their strengths and weaknesses before SEA Games begins next month.
Also participating in the championship are Beijing No.12 Middle School, the Hong Kong national team, Rangsit University of Thailand and Tianjin University of Technology, China.
Lau said Sibu had been producing many players for the state and national teams.
“Sarawak used to be very strong in volleyball.
“This is also the same for Sibu being the strongest team at the state level,” he said.
He said a new stadium was built with funds mostly donated by private companies.