By Rangi Akbar
THIRTY-TWO sepaktakraw teams from 25 countries will compete in the first World Championship at Titiwangsa Stadium on July 20-24. Sri Lanka are the minnows in the competition. The Sri Lanka team will take wing to Kuala Lumpur on July 19.
Sepak Takraw Association of Malaysia (PSM) president Datuk Ahmad Ismail said the aim of organising the championship was to make sepaktakraw an international sport.
“This championship and other Super Series will determine the competing countries’ world rankings,” Ahmad said after chairing a meeting of the World Championship organizing committee in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Among the competing countries are Australia, China, Taiwan, Germany, Iran, India, Indonesia, the United States, Oman, France, South Korea, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Laos.
The championship will be telecast live to 66 countries. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will declare open the championship on July 20.
International Sepak Takraw Federation secretary-general Abdul Halim Kader said to make sepak takraw a global sport, associations must bring about change and accept criticism. “To give a fresh, new look to sepaktakraw at this championship, the colour of the courts will be changed to red from green. We will also be introducing special new jersey’s for the players in order for the sport to have its own identity,” he said.