Every sport – from baseball to basketball, football and hockey, tennis and lacrosse – requires physical skill and effort. Endurance, strength, agility, flexibility, and hand-eye coordination are some of the ultimate requirements to be a successful and competitive athlete. However, there might not be a sport more demanding for such skills than Malaysian sepak takraw, also known as “kick volleyball”, which takes athletics to the extreme.
Originating in Malaysia around 500 years ago, before quickly gaining popularity in Southeast Asia, Sepak Takraw is a fast-paced, gravity-defying hybrid between volleyball and football. The sport features two three-person teams, each with a designated server, passer and striker, who compete to pass a woven ball the size of a grapefruit over a 5-foot net in three touches without allowing it to touch the ground. Traditionally, the first team to reach 21 points in two of the three sets wins.
Where the game gets really interesting is that players can’t use their arms or hands to kick the ball, which usually causes them to twist and turn acrobatically in the air to kick the ball. with their feet. Some of the more advanced techniques used by players include what is known as a saddle kick serve, sun spike, and roll spike.
The horse kick serve, which is used to first put the ball into play, involves a high kick in which a player kicks the ball back over his shoulder. A similar movement is used for the sunback peak, but it is performed in a jump with one foot pushing off the ground and the other up towards the head. Different slightly from the technique used in the horse kick serve and the sun return peak is the roll peak, which requires a player to perform a flip in the air in which one foot is used to kick the ball. over his opposite shoulder in the direction he is returning.
Creative Commons image of the players competing at Sepak Takraw https://www.flickr.com/photos/koreanet/15291705581
While these techniques are fascinating to watch, Southeast Asia considers sepak takraw more than just an exciting sport. Besides being entertaining, sepak takraw is of great historical and cultural significance, dating back to royal courts and the exile of Raja Muhammad, heir to the throne of Melaka. Thus, the dissemination of sport across countries is a method of cultural dissemination, connecting different communities through a common experience.
The American sports channel All Sports Television Network is facilitating this dissemination of culture with the help of Astro, a Malaysian satellite television provider. Through this partnership, international, national and regional sepak takraw tournament events will be broadcast to the American public for the first time.
All Sports President Roger Neal Smith and Astro Sports Director Lee Choong Khay expressed the same enthusiasm for expanding sports platforms and reaching new viewers around the world.
According to Astro’s website, Smith said: “We are really excited to present sepak takraw to the American public. The game broadcast further accomplishes our goal of opening the doors to the world of sports for American fans, allowing them to start experiencing events from around the world. deserved.
With our love of the sport as Americans, there is no doubt that we will soon be captivated by sepak takraw. Moreover, with its growing recognition, it may not be too surprising that sepak takraw will soon establish itself on the stage of the future Olympic Games as a major international sport.