Malaysia have been drawn to meet top seeds Thailand in the semi-finals of the badminton team competition at the Manila SEA Games.
With the draw it looks like Malaysia would have to settle for the bronze. Based on current form, the Malaysian girls, who take on minnows Cambodia in the opening round, would be hard pressed to get the better of the Thais.
Malaysia last won the gold in 2009 and without their women’s singles champion Goh Jin Wei do not have the depth to threaten the Thais looking for their fourth straight team title.
Second seeds Indonesia, the defending champions will have a tricky semi-final in Singapore, led by the dangerous Yeo Jia Min.
The Malaysian men have been seeded second behind Indonesia in the men’s team competition and will take on hosts in the opening tie. They have been drawn to meet Singapore, who play Myanmar in the first round.
Top seeded Indonesia have a bye in the first round and will likely play Thailand in the semi-finals.
Malaysia last won the team title in 2005 in Manila and would be hoping for a repeat at the city. The Indonesians, who have won the team title a record 16 times are gunning for their sixth consecutive title.
The late withdrawal of Malaysia from the women’s volleyball competition, will see the contest format being changed. Instead of the field being grouped into two divisions, the five remaining teams – Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand would play in a single-round eliminations.
The top two at the end of the stage will play for the gold.
In the men’s volleyball competition, hosts Philippines have been drawn in Group A with Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Pool A comprises of defending champion Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Timor Leste.
For the men’s water polo, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand will also play in a round-robin format with the top two teams playing for the gold AND third- and fourth-ranked teams squaring off for the bronze.
Malaysia had finished behind champions Singapore, Indonesia and the Philipines at the Challengers Cup earlier last week and are not expected to challenge for the medals.
In women’s water polo, only three teams – Thailand, Philippines and Singapore are participating and would offer only the gold medal.
In men’s and women’s underwater hockey, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia will also play in a round robin format. Underwater hockey is making its debut at the SEA Games.