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Check out the Athleticism and Skill on Display in Sepak Takraw, a Purely Southeast Asian Sport

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Wow! Did you see that? The guy literally jumped up and flipped his body in the air while killing the ball into the ground with his feet! And he managed to land onto the ground safely and without injury or incident. Play goes on, apparently. But, what is this sport that calls for these athletic individuals to perform these gravity defying athletic moves. The game is called sepak takraw.

The sport is similar to volleyball. Except for a few other things. Hands are not allowed to be used. The net and court dimensions are more akin to badminton than volleyball. A player can hit the ball twice consecutively, rather than just once in volleyball.

The ball is another glaring difference between takraw and its hands-version counterpart. Sepak takraw balls are made of rattan and have a circumference of about 42 centimeters. That makes it smaller than a volleyball (66 centimeters). Player numbers are also different between the two sports. Sepak takraw is normally contested between teams of three players compared to volleyball’s six. Teams of two are also contested.

We did mention about the sport not using hands. So, what body parts do they use? Well, just about any. The legs and feet, however provided the best way to move the ball around. Headers are also common, so are the chest and shoulders.

And how to score? Well, just like volleyball, the ball must hit the ground or one of the teams must commit a fault. The winning point for a set is 21 points, 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.

And that athleticism! Yes, these guys have been training hard and long for this. Just juggling the ball as expertly as them already demonstrates the rigorous training and these guys have endured. So, kick back, watch some fine juggling and air flipping acts and enjoy the games. It is played just about anywhere in Southeast Asia.

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