JUNE / JULY 2019

Sepak Takraw - Thailand’s other national sport

When asked about the national sport of Thailand, most people will likely think of Muay Thai. However, the country has a second national sport, that of Sepak Takraw, in daily speak commonly known simply as Takraw, a fast-paced kick volleyball type of game.

The origin of Takraw is somewhat disputed as many Southeast Asian countries claim to have invented the sport. Many, however, believe that the sport is an offshoot from an ancient Chinese military exercise.

It is believed that the first versions of Takraw in Thailand were not the competitive game we know today, but rather a cooperative display of physical agility and an exercise to condition and loosen the body after hard work. The Takraw we know today began taking shape in Thailand around 200 years ago, with the Siam Sports Association officially formulating the rules in 1829. Shortly after, Takraw was introduced into school curriculums.

In 1960 representatives from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand met in Kuala Lumpur to standardise the rules of the game and interpret them into English, and the first international competition was held at the Southeast Asian Peninsula Games, the predecessor to the Southeast Asian Games, in 1965. In 1990 Takraw was included into the Asian Games in Beijing for the first time, and more than 20 countries now have national Takraw associations, governed by the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF).

Known for its fast pace and the acrobatic skills of the players, Takraw is played across Thailand. Come evening time, most towns will have amateur teams convening in parks or on beaches for a game of Takraw, often with astonishing prowess. Teams are made up of three players, the left side, right side and back. The court is 20 by 44 feet, roughly the same size as a badminton court, and each team is allowed a maximum of three touches to get the ball over the net to the opposing team. The team that reaches either 15 or 21 points first, depending on the rules, wins.

The ball was traditionally made up of rattan but the development of synthetic balls by companies such as Marathon has helped grow the sport and allowed it to become more standardised. SportZet Co., Ltd., on behalf of the Takraw Association of Thailand and the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), has also been instrumental in the development of The Takraw League, to be the first and only privately run Takraw league in Thailand and one of the most prestigious leagues in the world. The League, which was started 18 years ago and currently has 12 teams which have been a major driving factor in growing the sport on a professional level.

Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. is an independent marketing consultancy based in Bangkok, Thailand specialising in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing, working with both rights holders and brands - acting as a catalyst by bringing them together and maximising the relationship.

We have packaged, sold and managed sponsorship and partnership opportunities for a wide range of rights holders and worked with many of the world’s leading brands to source and engage the right sponsorships and partnerships for them to maximise.

Please contact us for more information: Tel./Fax: +66 2622 0605 – 7 Email: info@paulpoole.co.th