Sepak Takraw, or Sepak Raga, is a popular sport in Malaysia and Thailand. Its rules are similar to those of soccer or volleyball, but players are not allowed to use their hands to play the ball. Instead, they must use their feet, knees, and chest to hit the ball. The sport was first played publicly in 1830, when the Siam Sports Association drafted its first rules and introduced a volleyball-style net.
Sepak Takraw originated around 500 years ago in Malaysia and soon spread to other parts of Southeast Asia. It is a fast-paced hybrid sport featuring two teams of three players. The goal is to pass a grapefruit-sized woven ball over a 5 foot net in as few touches as possible without the ball touching the ground. The first team to score 21 points wins in two out of three sets.
While sepak takraw enjoys widespread popularity in Southeast Asia, it’s not universally known outside of the region. While the sport has regular media coverage, it remains a curiosity outside of this region. Because the sport has been a staple of Southeast Asian royal courts for centuries, it bridges cultures. This is one of the many reasons why Astro regularly broadcasts sepak takraw tournaments to American audiences.
The sport is popular in Southeast Asia, where it is often played in schools and clubs. Although it has not yet become an Olympic sport, it is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world. Besides Thailand, sepak takraw has fans in the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, and India.
Sepak takraw is similar to volleyball in that two teams of three players each have three touches of the ball before it crosses over the net. However, in Sepak Takraw, players are allowed to touch the ball with three parts of their body, including their feet, knees, arms, and heads.
Origins in Southeast Asia
The history of the sport of sepak takraw goes back to the fifteenth century, but the game has had many variations throughout the region. In the 1940s, the game was standardized and a governing body, the International Sepak Takraw Federation, was formed. Today, the sport continues to gain popularity throughout the world.
Although the game originated in Malaysia, it spread quickly throughout Southeast Asia. By the 1950s, the game was being played in almost every school. In 1960, the Malaysian Sepak Raga Federation was formed and the sport was included in the South East Asia Peninsular Games. In the following decade, the Southeast Asian Sepak Takraw Federation was formed and became known as Sepak Takraw. In 1992, the sport was officially recognized by the International Sepak Takraw Federation.
The game is played on a volleyball-like court with a net in the center. Unlike soccer or football, players do not use their hands to play the game, instead utilizing their feet, head, knees, and chest to strike the ball. The game is especially popular in Malaysia and Thailand, where it is also known as sepak raga.
The sport has been adapted from an ancient Chinese sport that was played by soldiers. Its name derives from the word “sepak” in Malay, which means “kick”. The word ‘takraw’ means “woven ball” in Thai. In Southeast Asia, sepak takraw is the national sport of Malaysia and is played with a plastic ball.
Similarity to volleyball
Sepak Takraw is a sport similar to volleyball in many ways. Both games involve a three-on-three court with a net that is about five feet high. Players attempt to kick a grapefruit-sized ball over the net. If they are unsuccessful, they lose a point and the game is over. The first team to score 21 points wins. The sport has gained international recognition and may even become an Olympic sport one day.
Sepak Takraw matches begin with a toss, and the player serving the ball must hit the ball over the net with their other foot. Once the ball is tossed, the rules of volleyball apply, except that the ball must remain over the net. The players can touch the ball with their feet, head, knees, arms, and bodies.
Sepak Takraw is an acrobatic ball sport with a ball that is kicked and thrown over the net. It is a two-on-two or three-on-three game. In the first set, the team that wins the first set serves. Then, the second set begins. The game is won when the team’s Tekong hits the ball over the net.
Similar to volleyball, the net for Sepak Takraw is made of nylon. The mesh is six to eight centimetres thick and should span the entire court. A good court should be at least 0.7 m wide and have a height of about one and a half meters.