With little or no media coverage, the Indian Sepak Takraw team has been bringing several laurels to the country over the past few years. The latest in their achievements is a guaranteed bronze medal at the International de France de Sepak Takraw Championship today.
Playing in front of a packed stadium in Strasbourg, the Indian team notched up their best performance at an international event so far, going unbeaten through the group stages. Drawn in Group B alongside France, Germany, Thailand and Iran, the Indians defeated everyone without dropping a single set.
First up were Iran, who India dispatched with relative ease, defeating them, 2-0 (21-15, 21-15). They would then go onto face a French team, backed by tremendous home support. But, they remained unfazed by the crowd's taunts, defeating the French in convincing fashion (21-10,21-8).
At this point, India were just one win away from booking a spot in the semi-finals. However, a strong top seed test in Thailand stood in their way. India would go onto to defeat them by a scoreline of 2-0 (21-12, 21-14), to cement their position as table toppers of group B.
Sepak takraw team will make India proud: Team Manager
The last match against Germany was only a formality as they would go on to beat them 21-10, 21-11. Team Manager Yoginder Singh Dahiya said, "The players are playing really well and have exceeded expectations so far, now that they have guaranteed a bronze medal, we hope we can lift the title as well."
They will face a stern test against China in the semi-finals, who also had a very strong group stage. However, not dropping a single set will give the Indians the much-needed confidence ahead of the fixture. The match is scheduled for 18:00 IST.
Dahiya, who is also the President of the Sepak Takraw Federation of India thanked the Sports Ministry for their financial assistance, he said, " This time they funded us to participate here and also this year the Ministry, included us in priority category.
“I really want to thank the Sports Ministry and SAI for their support. Please continue to support us and we will make you proud."