An ancient Malaysian sport, Sepak Takraw is slowly becoming a part of people’s life outside Malaysia.
Throughout the history of the human race, sports have always acted as a bridge that brings people together. For example, according to many sources, football was invented by China but now, football is played by around 200 countries in the world. Similar to football, sports such as cricket, tennis and many more have become a part of people’s lives, irrespective of their roots or origins. Nowadays, Malaysia’s national sport sepak takraw is slowly spreading to different parts of the world.
Sepak takraw: History and rulesAccording to several reports, pieces of evidence claim that sepak takraw was played in the 15th century, not only in Malaysia but also in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. An amalgamation of volleyball and football, sepak takraw is played between two teams on a small-sized court with a net in between. The sport takes athleticism to a whole new level. After all, we are well that neither football nor volleyball is an easy sport. Therefore, sepak takraw, a hybrid version of the two sports, makes it extremely difficult but also super exciting.
The rules of the sport are pretty simple, similar to volleyball. Three players in two teams can hit the ball with any part of their body except for the hands or arms. To win the match, one of the teams must score 21 points.
Governing body, tournaments and moreIn 1988, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar founded the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF). As of now, 54 countries are members of the ISTAF, but ISTAF aims to spread the sport to 75 countries. The federation also wants to be a part of the Olympic Games in 2026.
Since 1990 and 1967, sepak takraw has been a part of the Asian Games and the SEA Games, respectively. The ISTAF organises the World Cup and the SuperSeries tournaments, but in the world of sepak takraw, the most prestigious tournament is the King’s Cup which was first organised by the Takraw Association of Thailand in 1985.
Surprisingly, Malaysia has never won the ISTAF World Cup, whereas Thailand, Singapore and India are the dominant forces in the competition.