Published on December 5, 2007
After Malaysia backed out from the sepak takraw competition claiming that the host country intentionally replaced the regularly-used takraw balls with new ones, participating teams held a meeting, chaired by Singapore's Abdul Halim Bin Kadir, president of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation (ASTAF), to discuss the matter.
Also present at the meeting were Boonchai Lorpipat, the organising committee chairman of the sepak takraw competition, technical chairman Dr Chalerm Chaiwatcharaporn and representatives from Laos, Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Singapore, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Halim said after the meeting that the Malaysia's withdrawal was unprecedented and had tarnished the image of sepak takraw internationally.
"The ASTAF is upset with the decision. For the first time eight gold medals were on offer in the sepak takraw competition at the SEA Games, but powerhouse Malaysia decided to pull their team out of the competition," he said.
"Despite the withdrawal, the general standard of the games will be the same. I don't think Malaysia's decision to withdraw will let the Thai fans down. I hope they will enjoy watching thrilling matches from the remaining teams.
"Malaysia's reasoning regarding the newly-released sepak takraw balls does not hold water. I had confirmed the fact that every nation had been training with them for long. Thailand never intended to draw any advantage from the use of new balls," Boonchai said.
"Malaysia is likely to face a ban from all competition in the near future if the International Sepak Takraw Federation and the ASTAF agree that the withdrawal was a deliberate attempt at breaking the rules. However, we have to consult ISTAF president Major General Charouck Areerachakaran on the possible punitive action to be taken against Malaysia.
"However, although Malaysia pulled their team out, the competition will continue, while a new draw is not necessary," Boonchai said.