Ak Fauzi Pg Salleh
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
NATIONAL coach Thilaka Jinadasa hailed her charges’ improved performance at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur after finishing with a shared bronze medal for the second straight time.
The Royal Bees ended their campaign yesterday at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara with a 70-28 defeat to hosts Malaysia in the semi-final to place joint-third with Thailand, who lost 55-43 to Singapore in the other last-four match.
Jinadasa is satisfied with the national team’s overall performance, winning one match against the Philippines and lost with a better margin to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand compared to the previous edition two years ago.
"I am really happy with with the overall performance of the team because in all of the games we did well with the scores compared to the previous SEA Games and the girls really worked hard this time and they have really improved from," said Jinadasa in an interview with BruSports News yesterday.
"The semi-final game against Malaysia was very tough compared to when we first met them in the first round because some of our important players were carrying injuries from the previous games.
“The team also played four tough games in a row without rest prior to the semis,” she added.
Jinadasa added that a couple of young players displayed a very good potential and can excel further in their respective area.
"The new players like Alai (Nur Ady Elzza Ezrenna Sofian) and Nadiah (Dk Noor Nadziratul Nurulnadiyah) showed good potential as youth players throughout the campaign," continued the Sri Lankan.
"Everyone played well and was committed throughout the series. But I would like to highlight that Nur Syuhaidah (Fahriyana Hj Sukri) came from playing GS (Goal Shooter) to GK (Goalkeeper).
“Her performance during the series was remarkable as she always had tall opponents to deal with and she really executed her task well for Brunei," said Jinadasa.
The gold medal will be decided today as Malaysia go up against rivals and defending champions Singapore in the final at 3pm and Jinadasa predicts glory for the hosts at this year's SEA Games.
"I think this year, Malaysia are favourites to win the gold but still Singapore will give a good challenge as reigning champions," said Jinadasa.
"Singapore are a strong team and I value the game against them as the most challenging but we managed to equal the score (12-12) in third quarter but eventually lost fighting (62-37)," she concluded.