Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sepak Takraw


Sepak Takraw is a sport which is immensely popular in many parts of South East Asia. This sport which is known as Sepak Raga in Malaysia, Takraw in Thailand, Sipa in the Philippines, Ching Loong in Myanmar and Rago in Indonesia, is believed to have originated in the 11th century.
A mention of the sport, in fact features in the Malaysian historical text- Sejarah Melayu which relates an incident during which Raja Muhammad, a son of Sultan of Malacca, Mansur Shah was accidentally knocked on the head by Tun Besar, the son of Tun Perak during a game of Sepak Raga. This accident caused a major royal incident which resulted in Raja Muhammad being exiled from Malacca though he was subsequently installed as the ruler of Pahang by the Sultan.
Sepak Takraw is often described to be a combination of volleyball, soccer, martial arts and gymnastics. The name of the sport originates from the word ‘Sepak’ which is the Indonesian term for kick and takraw which is the Thai term for a woven ball. The term Sepak Takraw literally translates as kick ball and that in a nut-shell is essentially what the game is about. The sport tests the skills and dexterity of the players involved, for it requires them to use their feet, heads and chests to pass a ball. The players are not allowed to use their hands at all for any transfer of the ball.
Sepak Takraw may have originated in S.E.Asia but today its appeal has spread far and wide as it played competitively in many countries in the west as well. The game and its rules are today regulated by an international body, the International Sepak Takraw Federation.
The essentials of Sepak Takraw
·         A game of Sepak Takraw usually features two teams and is played on a court that is similar to a badminton court.
·         A Sepak Takraw court usually measures 44 feet × 20 feet.  The court is divided by a central line into two halves, a right court and a left court. Aside from this line the court also features two quarter circles which are drawn on the two sides of the court. These quarter circles need to have a 3 foot radius from the right and left sidelines of the court.
·         The right and left courts also feature a service circle each. This service circle has a radius of 1 foot. The center of this circle is located at a distance of 8 feet from the back line of the court.
·          The court is also equipped with a net made of rope or nylon which is similar to volleyball net. The net is strung at a height of approximately 5 feet from the base of the court. The posts which hold the net usually measure 5 feet 4” in height.
·         Traditionally the ball used in a Sepak Takraw match used to be made of woven fiber. Nowadays the balls used in Sepak Takraw matches are usually fashioned out of synthetic rubber as it has minimum impact on the players’ bodies.
·         A Sepak Takraw match usually features two teams called Regus that are made up of three players each.
·         A Sepak Takraw match features five sets and follows ‘the best of three’ concept.
·         The scoring system of Sepak Takraw seems quite complicated at first, for the rules stipulate that when either the serving side or the receiving side commits a fault, a point shall be awarded to the opponent side along with the opportunity of making next service.
·         There are several faults which can be committed during a game of Sepak Takraw – a detailed list of the various faults can be found on the website of the International Sepak Takraw Federation .-http://www.takraw.or.th/th/regu/Double_eng.htm
·         The winning point for a set is 21 points and if the teams are tied at 20 points apiece, the set is decided via a tie-breaker which is decided by a margin of two points though there is also a cap on the maximum number of points at 25 points.
If you are visiting Malaysia, you should try and take in a Sepak Takraw match and discover for yourself what this exciting game is all about.

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