Although Southeast Asia consists of several unique countries with its own cultures, heritage, history and peoples, there is one game that almost unites the region. It involves a ball, of course, but also some amazing skills and athleticism. This sport is quite unique to the region and those new to it will definitely drop their jaws in amazement. Let’s learn a little bit more about the sport of sepak takraw.
If there’s a comparable sport, it’d has to be volleyball. The main difference, however is that sepak takraw uses any part of the body (mainly feet), except the hands while volleyball focuses more on using the hands. The concept is the same, a team will have three touches to score. In takraw, however, one player can strike the ball twice. That’s because there are only two or three players on a team.
Sepak takraw’s court dimensions and net height are more akin to badminton’s. That means that guys will actually have to jump up high in the air, flip their bodies in mid-air so that their legs are within striking position of the ball near the net, and flip back again so to land on the ground with both feet. Yes, it does look amazing in real life. This takes superb athleticism as well as grace, similar to a gymnast.
And the ball? We can’t forget about the ball. It is smaller than volleyball’s 66-centimeter circumference and uniquely made out of rattan, all 42-circumference centimeters of it.
The winning point for a set is 21, unless the point is tied at 20–20, then the winner must lead by two more points in order to win the set. The third and final set, however is played until 15 points, unless it is tied at 14-14, then the winner must win by two once again. Service is given to each team for three points. Then the other team serves for the next three until the end of the set.
You won’t have to try hard to find a game of sepak takraw. They are played by many, young and old on the streets in Southeast Asia.
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