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Sepak Takraw – Where Football meets Volleyball

The Colombo Malay Cricket Club is set to host another mini Sepak Takraw tournament at the Padang Complex on Sunday. The hosts will take on Malay clubs from Hunupitiya, Kolonnawa, Kotikawatta along with the Sri Lanka Army and Police. 

We all know what football is, and volleyball being our national sport is nothing new to us. But, what happens if we merge these two sports together? No, we’re not talking about Bossaball. The answer, is actually Sepak Takraw.

What is Sepak Takraw?

Sepak Takraw is a traditional Asian game played with a woven synthetic ball using the feet, shoulder, elbow, knee, and head. The game is played between two or three-person teams by hitting the ball above the net as the opposition attempts to block or hit back. The ball is in play until it touches the ground. 

Sepak Takraw in all its glory

Photo – Malays.lk

 
The rules are simple,
  • Players are not permitted to use their hands 
  • Each player is only allowed to touch the ball once before kicking it over the net
  • There is no rotation in the defense
  • It’s a score even if the ball touches the net before falling into the companion court
  • The team with two sets out of the three will win the game. Each set has a total of 15 points. Only 6 points of the third set are systems. 

The Raja Muhammad Incident that gave birth to the sport

“Sepak” is the Malay word for kick and “Takraw” is woven ball in the Thai language, when the two words are combined, it means kickball. According to the historic text in the Sejarah Melayu, the game was first played in the 15th century in Malacca’s Sultanate. That’s not it, there’s plenty more to the story.

Tun Besar, son of Tun Perak was playing with a rattan ball and it accidentally hit Raja Muhammad, son of Sultan Mansur Shah. A furious Raja Muhammad stabbed and killed Tun Besar. Tun Perak’s men wanted revenge but eventually decided that he would no longer accept Raja Muhammad as Mansur Shah’s heir to the throne. 

As a result, Raja Muhammad was relocated to Pahang. 

What’s a rattan ball?

A rattan ball is spherical in shape, made of synthetic rubber or soft durable material as the outer covering. The ball is light in weight, smaller than a handball and a little bigger than a softball. 

What the Sepak Takraw ball looks like

Photo – Amazon

Sepak Takraw in Sri Lanka

The sport was first introduced to Sri Lanka in the year 1985 and demonstrations were done by the Malaysian Embassy with support provided by the Malaysian Airlines. Training sessions were held at the Padang Complex and the first to participate were youth from the Malay community of Sri Lanka.

The Amateur Sepak Takraw Association of Sri Lanka conducted nationals in November last year at the St. Joseph’s College Indoor Stadium. Sri Lanka also hosted the South Asian Sepak Takraw Championship that featured five SAARC countries in early 2017. 

Photo – Malays.lk

The Colombo Malay Cricket Club is set to host another mini-tournament at the Padang Complex on Sunday. The hosts will take on Malay clubs from Hunupitiya, Kolonnawa, Kotikawatta along with the Sri Lanka Army and Police. 

Stay tuned for updates from Sunday’s mini-tournament. 

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