Sepak Takraw

Athletic Attack and Defence during a Game of Sepak Takraw


Sepak Takraw Serving

A serve in Sepak Takraw involves kicking a thrown ball to start a rally

Malaysia and Thailand are home to one of the most athletic and skilled sports I’ve seen anywhere in my travels. Sepak Takraw (kick ballsepak is a Malay word for kick and takraw is a Thai word for ball) is a cross between volleyball and soccer – teams of three players are permitted a maximum of three touches to move the ball over a high net (around 1.5 metres) and into the opponent’s court using anything but their arms. Games are played to 21 points.

Sepak Takraw is a spectacular and agile flurry of leaps, leg splits, high jumps, dives and flips as players propel a small rattan ball attempting to kick the ball into an unguarded area of the opponent’s court. It has the striking power of volleyball and remarkable foot skills of soccer (football).

Sepak Takraw Attack and Defence

Players are often upside down smashing the ball into the opponent's court

As in volleyball, skilled offensive specialists attempt spikes, which involves leaping high above the height of the net and kicking the ball with the foot above the head. The more balanced and graceful players complete a backflip and land on their feet while others overbalance and land hard on their sides. The opposing team tries to block the smashes…with their feet!

Trying it for a few minutes after a suburban game in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, it quickly becomes clear that the sport is way out of my league. It requires a degree of gymnastic agility, flexibility, confidence and foot skills which I will never possess.

However it is a skilled and athletic game to watch with passionate yells of enthusiasm for well executed plays and remarkable feats of recovery in retrieving difficult kicks and conitnuing rallies. Ensure you seek out a game if in Malaysia or Thailand.
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At the start of each month during 2012, Travel Wonders features a popular or characteristic game played or witnessed during my travels. Previous articles feature the popular African game mancala, my own personal favourite that always travels with me, Pass the Pigs, the iconic Australian game of Two Up and the Latin American game of dominoes.

Photo Credits: official match, yellow server, attack and defence

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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