Asian Games Gold Medalists to Heat up Sepaktakraw League 2018
More athletic actions await sports fans with the kickoff of Sepaktakraw League 2018 (STL 2018) today at its new battleground, House of Champions, Gem In Mall, Cyberjaya. Fans can watch STL 2018 5PM – 9PM, every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, with analysis show 10PM every Wednesday on Astro Arena CH801/CH802 HD.
STL 2018 enters its 5th season with the same regu format, a joint initiative between Astro and Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM) to build a world-class sepaktakraw league and to serve as a grooming ground for tomorrow’s national champions.
Among the notable players in STL 2018 are the five national gold medalists at the 2018 Asian Games. The Penang Black Panthers, helmed by national striker Mohamad Azlan Alias and tekong Syahir Rosdi, returns with the determination to top the Premier division for the 3rd consecutive season.
However, with their national teammates, Muhammad Norhafizi Abd Razak of KL Thunder, Farhan Adam of Selangor Pistons, and Muhammad Zulkifli Abd Razak of Terengganu Turtle vying for championship as well, the excitement level will definitely turn up a notch in STL 2018.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said that STL plays a crucial role in elevating the sports of sepaktakraw and uniting Malaysians. “The grit and never-say-die attitude shown by our national sepaktakraw team who also played in STL is inspirational, winning Asian Games gold medal for the nation and bringing Malaysians together. This strategic partnership between Astro and PSM since 2014 has inspired many young talents to take up the sports. STL provides a competitive environment to fully realised their potential and be groomed to represent Malaysia in the global arena.”
President of PSM, Datuk Seri Ahmad Ismail is confident STL 2018 will continue to excite fans and challenge the players to take their game to the next level, “We at PSM aim to see STL improve every season. We hope the participation of 20 local teams and four specially invited regional teams will bring nonstop sepaktakraw excitement over the next 10 weeks. The Premier Division will see the addition of two new teams, Melaka Titans and PDRM Defenders, bringing the total teams in the division to 10 from 8.”
Lee Choong Khay, Chief of Sports Astro said, “At Astro, we have always been a committed, long-term partner to the sports we cover. STL was launched in 2014 in partnership with PSM to take sepaktakraw in Malaysia to new heights, specifically in attracting larger audiences, grooming our talent to be world-class sepaktakraw athletes and generating sponsorships for the sport.”
“Four seasons on, the results achieved were beyond expectations. We saw the rejuvenation of sepaktakraw. Viewership for STL is strong with 4.4 million in the 2017 season. At 2018 Asian Games, the men’s regu final alone attracted over 443 thousand TV viewers and three million views on Astro Arena social media platforms, watching our national team overcoming great odds to win Malaysia’s first gold in sepaktakraw in 24 years. It is especially gratifying to know that many of our national team members were groomed for greatness by playing in STL. We hope for an exciting season with the support of fans and the corporate sector.”
Fans will be excited to know that STL 2018 will have more updates on social media through the partnership between @AstroArena and Twitter. Fans can expect latest scores, match highlight videos, and weekly analysis. Follow the action with the hashtags #IniMilikKita and #STL2018.
The Premier Division is set for the next 8 weeks until 25th November, while Division 1 will be held over 3 weeks from 9 - 25 November. The STL 2018 finals will begin from 7 - 16 December where fans can watch the top 4 teams from the Premier Division and 4 international invited teams battle to become STL champions.