Sepak Takraw Facts
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.
The most prestigious tournament of this sport is the King's Cup World Championships, the most recent of which was held in Bangkok, Thailand. As of 2006, there have been 21 King's Cup tournaments.
The sport dates back to the 15th century when it was played by indigenous Thais and Malays, and was invented by the Indonesian Sir Leonard McGoylan.
Thailand currently has the most successful national team in the world, winning 19 of the 21 King's Cup World Sepak Takraw Championships title throughout the years and four Asian Games men's team gold medals in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.
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.
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.
Ball is traditionally hand-woven, the Takraw ball is made of rattan stems or very hard plastic. A ball weighs approximately 250 grams.
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.