We are here working in Asia. Everywhere, we see schoolyards with kids playing sepak takraw. Modern sepak takraw is played on a court with three players on each side. Players don't use their hands to volley. They use feet, legs, shoulders, and head to keep the ball in the air, volleying back and forth. Main features of sepak takraw are acrobatic mid-air kicks to keep the ball in play, and the athleticism and speed of the players.
Sepak takraw has been played in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years. The word "sepak" is Malay for kick and "takraw" is the woven ball. In Thailand, the game is often simply called Takraw. In 1984, a Thai inventor revolutionized the sport with a synthetic takraw to replace the slower traditional rattan ball.
Takraw has roots in Malaysian, Chinese, and other national games. In Bangkok Thailand, there are wall paintings at the Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) of Hanuman, the Vanara (Monkey-like) Hindu god, playing takraw in a ring with his monkey troops. The game developed into teams competing across a court with a net, about the size of a badminton court. This modern-day version is a Southeast Asian specialty.
Thailand wins most of the gold medals at the Asian Games. Here is a motion clip of just 48 seconds of playing Takraw. Click the arrow to watch.
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