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Tuesday May 28, 2013
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: From a two-gold medal sports, sepak takraw is now going to be an 18-gold medal event to be contested at the Myanmar SEA Games in December.
The sport made its debut in 1967 (SEAP Games) and has been contested at all the Games except in 1971.
The individual and team events were featured in earlier Games and with the women involved it became a four-gold medal affair.
Then the hoop or circle event was included when Vietnam hosted the Games in 2003.
This year there will be the usual regu (individual and team), doubles (team and individual) and hoop for both the men and women. And Myanmar have included chinlone, another form of the sport using the same rattan ball, which will offer eight gold medals.
Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary general Datuk Sieh Kok Chi said chinlone has been included under the sepak takraw discipline.
“Therefore 18 gold medals will be at stake. This is way over the line as it has been introduced for the hosts’ benefit. I have spoken about this before but then there is nothing we can do as the host countries usually include sports which they can win,” said Kok Chi.
Chinlone, however, is played widely in Myanmar where it is considered more of an art form as there are no opposing teams. The point is to keep the ball aloft gracefully and interestingly.
Thus for it to take on a competitive mode in the SEA Games will surely raise a few eyebrows.
Kok Chi said that the organisers have also decided to limit the number of sepak takraw events each country can participate in.
“From the circular that we received recently, it is stipulated that each country can only take part in three out of the five events under the regular takraw discipline. And they can only take part in three out of four events in chinlone.
“Thus a maximum number of gold medals that a country can win is 12 out of the 18 that will be contested. Perhaps the reason to limit the number of events per country is to allow others to win as well,” he said.
The events under chinlone are non-repetition (primary), non-repetition (secondary), stroke and linking for both men and women.
Kok Chi said that he will leave it to the Malaysia Sepak Takraw Federation to decide which event they want to compete in.
“We are also not getting proper information from the organisers. It is all piecemeal like.
“In fact until today they have not forwarded the Games handbook or the technical book for the respective events. If not for the recent circular on sepak takraw we would not have known about the number of gold medals at stake.”
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