Thursday, January 10, 2008

Beach volleyballers close the final day with gold

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Matheos Viktor Messakh
, The Jakarta Post, Nakhon Ratchasima

Indonesia's stalwarts Andy Ardiyansah and Koko Prasetyo Darkuncoro took another gold medal Saturday on the final day of the 24th Southeast Asian Games by defeating the host tandems.

The Indonesians did not need much effort to dump the Thai duo of Sataporn Sawangrueang and Bornworn Yungtin on cloudy day at His Majesty the King's 80th Anniversary Stadium, with the scores being 21-17, 21-19 in 20 and 22 minutes respectively.

The bronze medal was bagged by Cambodians Sopheap Kong and Chamnap Som, who bounced back after a 21-14 defeat in the first set to beat Filipinos Parley Tupaz and Rhovyl Ferayo 21-11 and 15-13.

Andy and Koko displayed a solid defense and sharp strikes to control the entire two sets amid the fanatically cheering local crowd.

The first eight points of the first set saw the national spikers playing carefully to assess their rivals' weaknesses. But the Indonesians then took control to lead the rest of the game, said head coach Slamet Mulyanto.

"If the Thais were faced with hard and fast strikes, they might have fought back and played better to win the game. But Andy and Koko chose the right strategy of slowing down the tempo, serving slowly and playing gently," he said.

In the second set, the Thais trailed closely at 17-16.

Andy said they had wanted badly to finish the game quickly but the coach told them to be patient and slow the game down.

"After we lost three points in a row, we realized that we had to change our style and we did it. I'm satisfied we were able to defend our gold medal," said the 30-year-old Andy.

"The Thai team is not so tough for us. The Philippine team is tougher," he added.

Koko said the game was less impressive than the 2005 Games when he faced Andy in an all-Indonesian final.

"The Manila game was more impressive as we came away with two medals," he said.

In the women's competition, Indonesians Yokbeth Kapasiang and Devota Rahawarin failed to take a medal after losing to Luk Teck Hua and Beh Shun Thing of Malaysia 21-12, 21-7 in only 27 minutes in the playoff for the bronze.

The gold and silver medals went to Thai duos Kulna Kamoltip and Yupa Phokongploy, and Sannok Jarunee and Tenpaksee Usa.

Indonesian Volleyball Association secretary-general Nyoman Sukesna said he was satisfied with the result as the target of bringing home two gold medals in the sport had been achieved in both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball.

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