Sepak Takraw Nationals 2017 to be held on 18th, 19th November at St. Joseph’s College Indoor Sports Stadium, Colombo 10

November, 13, 2017

The Sepak Takraw Nationals 2017 will be held for the 14th time on the 18th and 19th November 2017, at the Indoor Sports Stadium of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo 10, where over 36 clubs and schools teams are billed to participate in the two events, namely the Regu-event and Double-events. The Amateur Sepak Takraw Association is hard-pressed to raise the finances to stage the nationals as they had to expend all their resources to stage the South Asian Championship, and makes a fervent appeal to sponsors to assist the association partly or fully to conduct the nationals which is the only platform for talented yet underprivileged youth of the country to showcase their inherent talents.

Sepak Takraw is a game similar to volleyball but instead of the use of arms, Sepak Takraw is played with the feet, head, and any part of the body without the use of arms. Like in volleyball the ball should be sent to the opponent’s court after the execution of three kicks (in volleyball with the arms). There are three players to a side defined as the service-kicker called ‘Tekong’ and the other two players called right and left insides. The kicks can be executed by all three players or one single player to propel the ball to the opponent’s half of the court. The court is 13.05 metres in length and 6.07 metres in width similar in size to a badminton court, with posts erected at the center dividing the court into two equal halves. The net height for male players is 5 ft-2 inches, and for female players 5 ft.

The Sepak Takraw ball is made of synthetic fibre consisting of twelve holes and spherical in appearance. In the early stage of the game dating back to the early 60s’, the ball was made of rattan and with the extinction of rattan the currently used ball was devised by Thailand and followed by other Asian countries in the latter part of 1980.

Currently the game is played in Asia, Mid and West Asia, Europe, South and North America, and is an event at the Asian Games since 1990. The game was introduced to Sri Lanka by the Malaysians in 1984 courtesy of the Malaysian High Commission. The present controlling body for the game, the Amateur Sepak Takraw Association was formed in 1990 with the participation of five clubs, namely the Garudas, CR & FC, Fieldforce Youth, Ragama Sports Club, and Obeysekerapura Sports Club.

The president and the officials of the association embarked on an arduous and difficult journey to popularise the game amongst all nationalities throughout the island, while spending their own money and resources as there were no private sector or state sponsorship. This endless journey to achieve positive results was the dynamic and dedicated leadership given by the incumbent president of the Sepak Takraw Association  T. Nizam Hajireen an ex-police officer and more famous in the country as a ‘double-international’ in rugby and soccer. His efforts have produced tremendous results as the game was embraced by many clubs and schools in the following districts, namely Colombo Kegalle, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Nawalapitiya, and Hambantota and the list appears to extend more, with new schools showing an interest introducing the game to their schools as well. The association was affiliated to the Sports Ministry in October 2015 and as a provisional member of the NOC since January 2017. The association is proud to announce that from the humble beginnings from five clubs, it have grown to over 20 clubs and schools to-date.

The Asian and International Sepak Takraw Federations have recognised the yeoman service rendered by the president Nizam Hajireen to popularise Sepak Takraw in Sri Lanka, and have appointed him as a Senior Vice President of the Asian Sepak Takraw Federation and also a Vice President of the International Sepak Takraw Federation, thus bringing credit to Sri Lanka as the first individual to do so.

The crowning moment for Sepak Takraw  and for the country was the conducting of the first-ever International Sepak Takraw  competition on home soil with the staging of the 2nd South Asian Sepak Takraw  Championship with the participation of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and host Sri Lanka on 14th and 15th January 2017. The Sri Lanka women’s team won bronze medals in the Regu and double-events whilst the men team won a bronze in the double event.