- India won their first Asiad medal in sepak takraw, a game many people did not know before this historic feat.
- Originally from 15e century, this sport is mainly practiced in south-eastern countries such as Malaysia and Thailand. It was first demonstrated at the Asian Games in Delhi in 1951.
- The Indian men’s team won the bronze medal in the regular team event and once again shone a spotlight on this dynamic game.
- The road ahead will be much more interesting for our players. Asiad’s victory will certainly open more doors for them.
- Although the women’s team could not bring home any medals, their performance has improved in recent years.
- The next goal is the World Championship in Thailand and the 2014 Olympics. Sepak Takraw is expected to make his debut at the 2024 Olympics.
The Asian Games in Jakarta Palembang have started with a bang! The multi-sport event takes place every four years and provides athletes from Asian countries with a platform to show off their talent. There is a lot of hope from India at the 2018 Asian Games and our athletes do not disappoint us at all! Our medal count is increasing. Many young faces encouraged us all.
The story began at the Asian Games in Jakarta Palembang when India won its first Asiad medal in sepak takraw. Before this feat, many Indians were not even aware of this game. It is not very popular in India. In fact, it is mostly played in the northeastern state of Manipur.
Now that our champions have won bronze, let’s understand what this game is all about. We also give a brief overview of the history of sepak takraw in India.
Did you know?
The Sepak Takraw Federation of India was founded on September 10, 1982. Its headquarters are in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
What is Sepak Takraw?
The sepak takraw ball is usually made of synthetic material fiber. It is spherical in shape and should have 12 holes and 20 intersections. It can also be rubber. The main goal is to mitigate the impact as the players use their body to obstruct the ball.
The origin of this game goes back to the 15e century Malaysia. The game is mainly played in Southeast Asian countries. Sepak means cut in Malay, while takraw means woven ball in Thai. So the literal meaning of the name is kick ball. The game is played on a double-sized badminton court. Each team has three members. The teams are called in good standing.
Sepak takraw short with dimensions
The main object of the game is to keep the ball in the air using the feet, shoulders, elbows, knees and head, but not the hands. Although it is now a recreational and competitive sport, sepak takraw is still considered an art form by many. The movements of the players are very fluid and rhythmic. It makes the game very graceful.
One team is known as the regu en sepak takraw. There are six types of events in sport – regu, team event, double event, sepak takraw hoop, beach regu, and beach team.
Sepak Takraw India – The Full Story
Sepak takraw fever has gripped some sports fans in Nagpur. They coordinated with Shri Tajuddin Ahmed, Secretary General of the Sepak Takraw Federation of Malaysia. Immediately, printed materials and photographs were obtained. Several meetings were held at the Nagpur Shikshan Mahavidyalaya, and the Sepak Takraw Federation was established in 1982. Adv. SW Dhabe was its chairman and Mr. Salim Baig its secretary.
At the 1982 Delhi Asian Games, sepak takraw was a demonstration sport. Indian players were also included in the contingent at the time. The demonstration held at Katnail Singh Stadium was a huge success. The crowd in Delhi was completely captivated by the sport. The Indian Prime Minister at the time, Mrs. Indira Gandhi was the guest of honor. She asked the federation to encourage the Malaysian game in India because then Malaysia and other countries in the south-east will be interested in Indian sports.
The Indian Olympic Association officially recognized the Indian Federation of Sepak Takraw in 1998. Sepak takraw quickly traveled to other parts of the country. The federation has organized demonstrations in major cities. The federation has started to organize national championships. Indi made his first appearance at the sepak takraw world championship in Bangkok. The women’s team came back with the silver and the men won the bronze. The following year, the men’s team won gold in the Regu event.
The sport was included as a competitive sport in the Beijing Asiads and the Fifth National Games in India.
The Manipur connection
Two-thirds of the team are from the northeastern state of Manipur. The game is extremely popular there. It is easier to get materials and other necessities due to the proximity to Myanmar.
“This is how the sport became so popular in Manipur. It is close to Myanmar and it has always been easy to get equipment there. Now we use synthetic balls, but back then we used bamboo balls. It was the traditional way of playing this sport. Compared to people in other parts of India, people in Manipur practice sport faster. They are naturally agile and very skilled with their feet. But slowly the game is becoming popular in other parts of the country too“, said team manager Muhindro Singh Thokchom in an interview.
The winning team of the regular team event
The team were skeptical after the federation excluded the football team from the Asian Games. It is a very popular sport. However, the Sepak Takraw federation got the green light from the Sports Authority and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The government has given sport a high priority over the years. In fact, players have the chance to participate in many international tournaments.
Even before the Asian Games, the team was in Thailand for two months. Thailand has some of the best sepak takraw players in the world. Training alongside the best teams in Asia and some inspiring athletes has helped the Indian team immensely.
One of the medal-winning players, Harish Kumar works as a rickshaw driver. He handled the arduous profession and its practice sessions. Most of the other players also come from humble backgrounds. Thus, the support and initiatives of the government helped them to pursue their dreams.
The historic achievement in the Asiads
– Amul.coop (@Amul_Coop) Aug 21, 2018
Medal alert: although India ranks 0-2 against Thailand in Sepaktakraw (Men’s Team Regu) in the semi-final, but still gets the bronze medal by reaching the semi-final
His 9th medal for India #AsianGames
– India_AllSports (@India_AllSports) Aug 21, 2018
#Story has been created!#India won a medal at Sepak Takraw for the 1st time at the Asian Games!
The team is proud to bring home a? in the Men’s Team Regu event
Many congratulations !? #IndiaAtAsianGames #TeamIndia #SepakTakraw # AsianGames2018 #ProudIndia #ISC?? pic.twitter.com/tCuRQFto2B
– SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) Aug 21, 2018
The team received love and support from across the country.
“It is a historic performance from India. This is the first time that India has won a Sepak takraw medal at the Asian Games, ”Secretary General of the Indian Sepak Takraw Federation, Yogendra Singh Dahiya, told PTI.
Yes, this is indeed a spectacular achievement. The Indian men’s team won the bronze medal in the regular team event. The entire nation is talking about the game and our heroes who made it possible. This is their greatest achievement.
In the regular team event, each team has 12 members. India defeated Iran in the preliminaries 21-16, 19-21, 21-17. However, they lost to Indonesia 0-3 in the next game.
They took the next step and lost to Thailand 0-2 in the semifinals. There was a victory even in the loss for the team as both semi-finalists received bronze medals.
The women’s team had a disappointing tournament. They lost to Laos 1-2 and South Korea 0-3 in the preliminary round itself. Thus, ending their dream run in the tournament.
Sepak Takraw Head Coach Hem Raj was elated after the historic feat. He also hopes that the women’s team will soon get a medal as their performance is improving day by day. Hem Raj first joined as a national coach in 2004. He started playing football several years earlier. Dynamic play had attracted him since his childhood. In fact, he finds it similar to kung fu because there is a lot of jumping.
“The only way is open for these boys. The government put us in the priority sports list and we will continue to reward their faith with good performanceHe told Sportslive.
The way to go
The Olympic committee has decided to include Sepak takraw in the Olympics by 2024. The team’s next goal is now the world championship in Thailand. The best teams in the world will participate and our champions have already started to prepare for it. Now that the country recognizes the players, there are opportunities in many leagues that Asian teams play in Thailand. These competitions are very lucrative and will provide some financial stability to the players.
The doors have just opened for them. It’s the start of something new. The bronze medal marked the beginning of the golden period of sepak takraw in India. People who a few days ago didn’t even know what the game is about are cheering on our players. This awareness will bring more fans and viewers to the show, which in turn will help the game.
We hope that this victory will also open up avenues for the women’s team. It is very encouraging to see that the sepak takraw federation is actively involved with the athletes and strives to promote this game.
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