INTERNATIONAL SEPAKTAKRAW FEDERATION
Going back to the history of Sepaktakraw, the origins of sepaktakraw remains a matter of intense debate in Southeast Asia, as several countries proudly claim it as their own. But in recent years Sepaktakraw has emerged out from its shell from a “kampung” (village) game to a renowned sport.
In 1990, Sepaktakraw was included at the Asian Games in Beijing. Women also got in on the action with the first women’s championships in Thailand hosted in 1997. Today, we have 31 National Sepaktakraw associations with representatives on the board of the global governing body, the International Sepaktakraw Federation (ISTAF).
Since then, Sepaktakraw has grown not only as a sport but one with high levels of commercial and entertainment value. This has allowed the inclusion of Sepaktakraw as a sport in the Asian Games since 1990 till the latest edition in 2014, Incheon, South Korea.
This sport’s versatility and its early roots as an outdoor sport have also allowed Sepaktakraw to make a seamless transition to the beach, allowing a completely new form of the game emerge, and leading to the inclusion of Sepaktakraw as a medal-sport in the inaugural Asian Beach Games 2008 in Bali till the latest edition in Phuket, Thailand in 2014.
Wherever it has taken root, Sepaktakraw enjoys cult status. Southeast Asia may be the birthplace of the sport and the stage for its greatest champions, but an enormous variety of regional tournaments and domestic events have sprung up around the globe. From the Sepaktakraw Swiss Open and the Chicken’s Cup in Germany, to the Junior National Sepaktakraw Championship in India and the Thai Takraw League, the proliferation of competition has grown the talent pool substantially, which today boasts active international teams from more than 25 countries across five continents.
The inaugural edition of Sepaktakraw’s flagship tournament, the bi-seasonal ISTAF World Cup, was staged in 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A memorable conclusion saw the Malaysian and Thai men’s national teams reaching the final, roared on by a packed stadium. The tournament (featuring 36 men’s and women’s national teams from as far afield as the USA, France, Germany, Switzerland and Australia) drew 13 million TV viewers in Thailand, over five million each in Malaysia and China, and an impressive three million on Eurosport 2 in Europe. It was televised in 68 countries across five continents around the world, and within 48 hours, the men’s final match had been viewed more than 60,000 times on YouTube.
The ISTAF SuperSeries, a new series of elite tournaments designed to deliver to Sepaktakraw fans a regular pipeline of the very best the sport has to offer, was launched in Bangkok, Thailand following the 2011 ISTAF World Cup. International TV coverage and recognition of the inaugural ISTAF SuperSeries 2011/12 exceeded all expectations, and proved that passion for Sepaktakraw has been ignited in all corners of the globe.
With the launch of the first-ever ISTAF World Cup and the ISTAF SuperSeries, Sepaktakraw is finally developing footholds in East and South Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania.
No. 11 Bedok
North Street 1 #04-03