For sheer entertainment value and display of athletic ability, you have to catch a Sepak Takraw match. Think of volleyball played with a rattan ball; i.e. a serve, then a recption with 3 touches to return the ball over the net and within the court; played on an approximately badminton sized court; using feet, legs, back, and head (no arms and hands please).
You will need the foot eye coordination of a world class soccer player, plus the agility & moves of a ninja. I kid you not. There are cartwheels, jumping kicks, bicycle kicks, all manner of foot/leg receptions that no ordinary mortal can do.
This was on full display at the 5th Asian Beach Games at the Beach Sepak Takraw event. The beach version may actually allow the players to be less inhibited in their moves because the landing surface is softer than a wooden floor.
The PHI Women’s Team placed a decent 3rd, good for bronze. But why no men? Explained Philippine Amateur Sepak Takraw Association Prez and Chef de Mission of ABG5, “Our men would’ve really contended here but we have the indoor World Champs in Thailand in October so I did not want to interrupt prep for that event. We are world ranked playing between 3rd to 5th in the world.”
She has great plans in developing the sport in the country and this sport is perfect for the typical body type and the innate agility that Pinoys have. Can’t wait for the ninja camps to start!
BLocker/spiker Geline Evora in action at ABG5