National Women Cagers Aim to Rewrite History by Making Semis
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women’s basketball team want to create history by making the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games.
Despite being a powerhouse in South-East Asia, Malaysia are still lagging far behind at the Commonwealth Games level and only managed seventh at the 2006 Melbourne Games – the last time basketball was held.
The women cagers are, however, setting their sights high this time as they eye a first-ever top-four finish in Gold Coast from April 4-15.
It is, however, an uphill task as Malaysia – the shortest team in the competition – are drawn against the taller New Zealand, Jamaica and India in Group B.
“This is a challenge for us to rewrite history for women’s basketball,” said national head coach Yoong Sze Yuin, who played in the 2006 Melbourne Games.
“I think it’s a bit unfortunate that the preliminary rounds are held at the Cairns Convention Centre, which is two hours away by flight and there’s no chance for my players to experience the Games mood.
“The players are definitely motivated to make the semi-finals, which will then be played in Gold Coast.
“It’s definitely a tough challenge. I believe we need to take our chances against India and Jamaica because New Zealand are a level too high.
“It’s going to be a battle of mental toughness.
“ I know my players are pretty strong mentally but I need them to stay focused on the end goal.”
Malaysia’s challenge is also made harder as they have to do without two members of their Kuala Lumpur SEA Games gold medal-winning squad.
The two are point guard Wong Mei Chyn and centre Ng Shi Yeng. Sarawakian Mei Chyn is out with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury while Shi Yeng retired from national duty to focus on her studies.
In their places, Sze Yuin has opted to give an opportunity to youngsters Hiew Ky Lie and Ng Yu Feng.
“I’m not expecting too much from the two newcomers.
“I want them to have more international exposure in preparation for the SEA Games next year. It’s important for the juniors to close the gap,” said Sze Yuin.
Pang Hui Pin, Chong Yin Yin, Saw Wei Yin, Nur Izzati Yaakob (captain), Ooi Poh Yee, Tai Chia Qian, Magdelene Low, R. Kalaimathi, Ng Yu Feng, Hiew Ky Lie, Yap Fook Yee, Eugene Ting.
Source: The Star Online | Click Here