Sepak Takraw

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Sepak Takraw (Kick Volleyball) is a fast growing and popular sport in Asia. Called Takraw for short, it is a cross between soccer and volleyball, played on a badminton doubles sized court.

Similar games include Bossaball, Footbag net, Footvolley, Jianzi and Sipa.


[edit] History

The sport dates back to the 15th century when it was played by indigenous Thai and Malays. Back then it was called Takraw in Thai or Sepak Raga (lit. "Kick ball") in Malay and played mainly by men and boys using a circle formation. They used a ball made of cane or rattan. The game remained in that form for hundreds of years until the 1940s when a net (called a "Jaring" in Malay) and formal rules were introduced. Variations of the game spread throughout Asia. In the Philippines the sport was called "Sipa", in Burma it was dubbed "Chinlone", in Laos "Kator" and in Indonesia "Raga".

In Thailand, murals at Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Bangkok depict the Hindu god Hanuman playing takraw in a ring with a troop of monkeys. Other historical accounts mention the game earlier during the reign of King Naresuan (1590-1605 AD ) of Ayutthaya.

The modern version of sepak takraw (sepak means "kick" in Malay and takraw means "ball" or "basket" in Thai), however, is fiercely competitive and began taking shape in Thailand almost 200 years ago.

In 1829 (B.E. 2372), the Siam Sports Association drafted the first rules for takraw competition. Four years later, the association introduced the volleyball-style net and held the first public contest. Within just a few years, takraw was introduced to the curriculum in Siamese schools.

[edit] Teams

Thai Hoop Takraw: (See reference *here)

Hoop takraw, known locally as lawd buang or lawd huang, is similar to circle takraw, especially in its ballet-like moves and the emphasis on creativity, but the goal is to put the ball into a basket-shaped net with three hoop openings in a triangular formation suspended some five to six metres above ground. Each team is given an allotted time, usually 20 or 30 minutes, to put the ball in the basket as many times and as gracefully as they can. Like circle takraw, points are awarded for difficulty, so players break out their full repertoires of such expert manoeuvres as cross-legged jump kicks and other artistic kicks behind the back or with the sole of the foot as well as strikes with the elbows, shoulders and forehead.

A sepak takraw game is played between three regus ("regu" means teams in English), each regu consisting of three players and one substitute. Each game is composed of three sets in the same manner as badminton. Only three players from each side are allowed inside the court during play but a substitution can be called anytime during the game. However, once a substitution is made, no further substitutions are allowed for the duration of the game.

In a formal competition, there are two kinds of matches: the regu competition and the team competition.

In a regu competition, two regus play a game consisting of three sets and the regu with the mosts sets won is declared the winner.

A team competition is more complicated. Each team fields three regus so that a sepak takraw team has a total of 12 players. The first regus of each team will play a three set game and the winning regu earns a point for its team. The second regus of each team will then play and the winner of this second game will earn a point for its team. If the winner of the first and second regu games belong to the same team then the match is finished and the third regus need not play. If however, the winner of the first regu game is not the same team that won the second regu game the third regus will play for the deciding game.

The regu competition is most often played during local events and during physical education. However, in a larger event the team competition is generally preferred.

[edit] Court

Played in court 20' x 44' (13.4m x 6.1m) similar to doubles badminton court. The net which divides the court stands 5' (1.52m) at the centre and 5' 1" (1.55m) at the posts for men; 4' 8" (1.42m) at the centre and 4' 9" (1.45m) at the posts for women.

[edit] Ball

Traditionally hand-woven, the Takraw ball is made of rattan stems or very hard plastic. A ball weighs approximately 250 grams.

[edit] Game play

Two teams compete for higher scores by spiking a ball into the opponents court. Each team gets three chances to kick, knee, shoulder or head the ball back to the opposing team. Like in Volleyball there are passes, sets and spikes — but the strokes must be made soccer style: no hands or arms allowed.

A sight to behold is the smash, in which a player executes a bicycle kick to fire the ball into the opponent's court with great force. In contrast to soccer bicycle kicks, in which the players usually land on their backs (which would be both painful and dangerous on the hard sepak takraw pitch), sepak takraw players are agile enough to land on their feet again.

[edit] Rules

The same rules apply as for international volleyball, with the following exceptions:

  1. players are prohibited from using their hands;
  2. a player or a team can touch the ball 3 successive times;
  3. the players position of the defensive team is not rotated

[edit] Scoring

There's a discrepancy here. Some report the following:

A match is composed of 3 sets. The team scoring 15 points win a set. The first team winning two sets wins the match. In any set, if both teams are tied, 13 to 13, the first team to score 13 points may choose to decide the set through 5-point match. If the teams are tied at 14 to 14, the first team to score 14 points may choose to decide the set through a 3-point match.

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Sepak Takraw

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