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Thailand Favorites for Sepaktakraw Semis
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It is semifinal day in the sepaktakraw team competition at the Al-Sadd Indoor Arena. The men will take centre stage later on Tuesday 5 December as Thailand tackle Myanmar with Malaysia facing off against Indonesia.

Meanwhile the women's last four line up with Thailand against China and Vietnam playing Korea.

The men from Thailand and Malaysia are expected to meet in the final. Thailand topped qualifying group A with victories over Korea and Indonesia. Malaysia had to play three qualifying games in group B but they wasted little time in whitewashing Japan, Myanmar and India.

Defending champions Thailand should be too good for surprise package Myanmar who qualified courtesy of victories over India and Japan but came unstuck against Malaysia. Myanmar have improved in this Asian Games, though, and have shown a liking for winning points with headers.

Malaysia versus Indonesia will see the runners-up from Busan 2002 take on the Indonesians who are yet to win a medal in sepaktakraw at the Asian Games.

Ladies are first, with Thailand up first against China, followed by Vietnam against Korea.

The Chinese play in excellent spirit – look out for China's pre-match huddle when their players break into song with gusto. The semifinal is a repeat of the last four encounter from the last Asian Games which Thailand won. Experts are predicting a similar outcome this time around.

Korea and Vietnam should be more evenly matched. The Koreans won one and lost one on their way to the final four, falling foul of Thailand in their opening match but recovering to outwit India.

Vietnam, considered the most likely to challenge Thailand, won both of their group encounters but did drop the first regu against China.

Both team finals in the men's and women's competitions take place on Wednesday 6 December at the Al-Sadd Indoor Hall.

( December 5, 2006)

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