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Sepak Takraw (Asian Football) of Bangkok Thailand
The first versions of sepak takraw were not so much of a competition, but rather cooperative displays of skill designed to exercise the body, improve dexterity and loosen the limbs after long periods of sitting, standing or working.
The modern version of sepak takraw is fiercely competitive and began taking shape in Thailand almost 200 years ago. In 1829, the Siam Sports Association drafted the first rules for the game. Four years later, the association introduced the volleyball-style net and held the first public contest. Within just a few years, sepak takraw was introduced to the Physical Training curriculum in schools.
Sepak Takraw is one of the fastest growing sports in Asia, as well as many other parts of the world. The gravity-defying kicks, contorted aerial twists, turns of the body and the blinding speed of play astound spectators worldwide. For most of the past decade, Thailand has dominated international competitions, winning nearly every major event. Malaysia turned the tide at the 2005 Manila SEA Games.
Thailand and Malaysia will remain the teams to beat for the foreseeable future, but other sepak takraw powerhouses such as Myanmar, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam are closing in quickly. Asian nations are currently lobbying to give the game Olympic Games, so as to attract wider audiences overseas and to give Asia a much-needed boost in the medals table - and it's only a matter of time before the region's beloved pastime takes its rightful place among other sports at the Olympic Games.
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