In a tournament where the odds are stacked against them, the Malaysian men’s volleyball team will be heading into the competition without their captain, Sim Jian Qin. After suffering an unspecified ankle injury during training, Jian Qin has been ruled out for participation in the upcoming pre-SEA Games, hosted in Shah Alam from July 19-23. The pre-SEA games will boast five teams, including the Shah Alam City Council, whose roster features members from the Thai Police team. Jian Qin’s coach, Tay Yeu Siong, was vague as to the manner of his injury and a precise timeline to recovery, likely leaving Jian Qin out of the actual SEA Games as well.
“Jian Qin injured his ankle in training and we expect him to be out for at least three weeks. We will monitor his progress,” Yeu Siong said. He added, notably, that he “expects the others to give a strong performance in this tournament.” Given the strength of the competition they will be facing, strong performances in wake of their captain’s injury will certainly be crucial for the fledgling Malaysian national team, only assembled in January of this year, to make it upon the podium for the KL SEA Games.
Beginning on the 19th of this month and continuing until the 30th, Malaysia has been placed in Group A, in the company of the Singapore 2015 gold and joint bronze medalists, Thailand and Myanmar. The groups shake out like this:
Entering the tournament, the reigning gold and silver medalists, Thailand and Vietnam, are the favorites once more. The Malaysian national team has only had four international tournaments since their formation, and now will be competing without their captain and seasoned attacker. In order to make it onto the podium, they may be required to beat both of Singapore 2015’s bronze medalists, Myanmar and Indonesia. The loss of experience and leadership does not bode well for this fledgling national team.