Sepaktakraw… Is it an endangered species? The sound that a tropical animal makes? Or maybe a little child’s first attempt to master a keyboard?
None of these, although they will probably sound quite plausible for most of us. In fact Sepaktakraw is – wait for it – a sport. Apparently the International Sepaktakraw Federation or ISTAF (who knew they existed?) has received US$500,000 to promote the sport so that it can eventually qualify for the Olympic Games.
Sepaktakraw is a sort of ‘kick volleyball’ and is native to Southeast Asia. It’s similar to volleybal, except that it uses a rattan ball and only allows players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball.
The sport dates back to the early 1400′s, when it was popular in Malaysia and Thailand. Back then it was called takraw in Thai or sepak raga in Malay and played mainly by men and boys standing in a circle, kicking the ball back and forth between them. Official rules were established around the 1940′s.
Nowadays, the sport is quite popular inÂ Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia and even in Los Angeles, USA.