In Southeast Asia, Sepak Takraw has established itself as the regional sport. Incredible as it may seem, this game of kick volleyball awakens the passions of millions in this region of the world. Also, Sepak Takraw is a symbol of Southeast Asia and a source of pride for its countries, like Malaysia, a gold-medal winner in the last Asian Games.
With clear rules, this game uses a rattan ball, which can only be kicked or touched with the head, but never with the arms. In Malaysia, it is considered one of the most popular sports.
How is Sepak Takraw Played?
Sepak Takraw is a sport very similar to volleyball. The main differences are in the composition of the ball and how the ball can be touched because, in Sepak Takraw, you cannot use hands or arms.
The origins of this game date back to the 15th century, but its official and modern version arrived at the beginning of the 19th century. Some of the most important characteristics of this sport are as follows.
Composition of Sepak Takraw’s Teams
When playing Sepak Tarkraw, there are only two teams. Each team consists of three players, two of whom are at the front and are located near the net, while the other, called tekong, is at the back.
The two players in front are usually called attackers. One is on the right side, and the other on the left side.
How the Game Works?
Similar to modern volleyball, Sepak Tarkraw is divided into sets. The first team to serve is the one that must start playing the game. At the end of the set, the winning team can choose to serve.
The aim is to get the ball into the other team’s court to score. The ball must be served correctly by one of the players, and it must go through the net.
To win a set, 21 points are needed. In case of a tie, this number can go up to 25. The game has just two sets. If each team wins a set, a tiebreaker set is added to 15 points, which, in case of a tie, can be extended to 17 points. There is another reduced version of the game, to be played at 15 points, and 8 in the tiebreaker.
How the Score System Works?
As in volleyball, points are awarded when the opposing team commits a foul. Some of the fouls are; if the team serving fails to pass the ball to the other side of the court, or if it is taken out of the court area, if any of the players use hands or feet, etc.
It may also be a foul for both teams when the ball is touched on the opponent’s side of the court if the ball is held with any part of the body, if the ball is touched more than three times in a row, and so on. All fouls to these rules will determine the score.
Malaysia at the Sepak Takraw
Malaysia is one of the countries where Sepak Takraw is most popular, along with Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, or Thailand. In the Asian Games, Sepak Takraw is included, and Malaysia always stands out, behind Thailand and Myanmar. Malaysian teams have already accumulated 4 gold, 8 silver, and 5 bronze medals. In the last edition in 2018, Malaysia won the gold medal in the men’s championship.