IDNAround – The Indonesian men’s indoor volleyball team extended dominance in the regional competition by winning the third consecutive gold medal in SEA Games, beating host Cambodia three sets to none in the one-sided final match at Main Hall Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh on Monday evening.
The Indonesian team, which has never lost a set since the biennial multi-sport event began last week, won 25-21 25-10 25-15 over Cambodia, the same team they defeated at the group stage.
In the face of more superior Indonesian players — some of them with experience in international competitions — Cambodia failed to repeat the heroic display when they outclassed second-seeded Thailand with a stunning comeback after losing two sets in the thrilling semifinal match to deliver the biggest upset of the tournament.
But Indonesia had to pay a high price for the trophy with outside-hitter Doni Haryono breaking his left ankle just after the opening service.
Video replay shows that he landed with a misstep after making his first touch of the ball and had to be carried to the courtside.
When his teammates celebrated the win, he painfully attempted to join but later abandoned his move, holding tears on the bench as a female coach assistant consoled him.
His early departure made Farhan Halim the main attacker on the left and behind the three-meter line and he delivered more than Coach Jiang Jie expected from him.
The 22-year-old, who played for Hatta Club Dubai in the UAE in 2021, was instrumental to ensure Indonesia’s lead early on.
More than that, he was also excellent behind the baseline – Farhan made four aces when Indonesia pulled away with a 9-0 lead in the opening of the second set.
His dominant performance allowed the most experienced player, opposite-hitter Rivan Nurmulki to relax in his pursuit of a third gold.
The former player of Japan’s VC Nagano Tridents remained one of Indonesia’s main point-getters but setter Dio Zulfikri could distribute set pieces more evenly between Rivan and Farhan.
Indonesia also won men’s indoor volleyball in two previous SEA Games in the Philippines and Vietnam. Fun fact: the last three gold medals were won in matches against the host team.
Cambodia, which depended largely on opposite hitter Sarun Pin and outside hitter Veasna Voeurn, wasn’t so disappointed with the results.
The home crowd cheered them as heroes after making their debut in the men’s indoor volleyball final 40 years since the country participated in SEA Games.
Indoor volleyball has become a SEA Games medal event since 1977 with Indonesia winning 12 gold medals in the men’s category, more than any other participating countries. Thailand was the closest rival with eight gold medals.