Sepak is the Malay word for kick and takraw is the Thai word for a woven ball, therefore Sepak Takraw literally means to kick ball. The choice of this name for the sport was essentially a compromise between Malaysia and Thailand, the two powerhouse countries of the sport. The Thai and Malay are said to have played the game as far back as the 15th century. Recorded history of the game exists in Wat Phra Kaew – the temple that serves as a resting place for the Emerald Buddha. This sacred Buddhist temple in Bangkok has murals depicting Hindu god, Hanuman, playing takraw in a ring with a troop of monkeys. But Sepak Takraw is not very well known in India, although it was a demonstration sport at the Delhi Asian Games in 1982.
Stairs adopted the game as it is full of energy and excitement. So far, four players from Stairs have been selected for the final camp of Sepak Takraw for the 2014 Asian Games to be held at Incheon in South Korea. Two players from a Delhi centre of Stairs have made it to the Indian Sepak Takraw team which will take part in the 14-nation International Sepak Takraw Federation and Asian Sepak Takraw Federation Super Series India.
The game is an ideal tool for attracting underprivileged youth. The manoeuvres executed during the game are breathtaking displays of skill and acrobatics and great visual treat. The game provides an avenue for the young to channel their aggressiveness, expend their energy and use their killer instinct in a positive manner. The game teaches cooperation and team work, helps develop positive social skills and respect for others. It helps build self-confidence, a positive self-image and self-worth. Every youth in a sports field also means one person less who can be misled by anti-social elements.
Today’s youth views sport as an employment-enhancing vocational skill which can help them escape from the vicious circle of poverty. There are many sports other than cricket where players from Bharat have excelled because individual talent received precedence. All it needs is a spark to ignite the passion. Stairs intends to do just that.
Sepak Takraw For Growth is an initiative by Stairs to connect Bharat with India. We at Stairs feel that the newness and energy associated with Sepak Takraw will attract the youth who are always eager to experiment. It will also be our bit in making India a healthy and physically-fit country.
Sepak Takraw For Growth aims to distribute balls and across the country as the first step. This will be done by inviting donations from individuals, corporate and other institutions to purchase and distribute Sepak Takraw balls and nets.
The programme also envisages: