Written by: Nadine Febrinka
Edited by: Sarah Cheng
The spectators’ cheers could be heard from the stairs leading up to the Communal Hall, where the Sepak Takraw game was already underway. Though most of our IBG supporters were drawn towards the soccer games held at the Multi-Purpose Courts, those gathered at the Comm Hall were definitely not lacking in enthusiasm. With every good shot or save made, the supporters made enough noise for a crowd at least twice their number.
Each team played one match against every other team, with the first to reach 21 points declared the victor. The players tried to bounce a rattan ball over a net and land it in their opponents’ court – without using their arms. They must touch the ball with only their feet, legs, chest or head.
Despite the spectators’ high spirits, the most exuberant group of the evening was, without a doubt, the participants themselves. The players, many of whom were playing this sport competitively for the first time, relished in the opportunity to bounce the wicker ball on their heads to each other. At times, it almost seemed as though they were more interested in performing headbutts than scoring points. Nevertheless, each team put their best foot forward (literally), and turned the night into a fast-paced frenzy of bounces and kicks.
Below are some stand-out match-ups:
AB vs CD
I did not realize it at the time, as this was the first full match I watched, but this was a battle between giants. AB and CD went on to win every other match they were involved in, and this game proved that there was only a slim margin between their abilities.
CD scored the first point without much effort, and proceeded to score 4 consecutive points right afterwards. Though AB managed to get a few points in, the yellow-clad team was clearly dominating the field. At around the halfway mark however, AB began to make a comeback, due to a combination of good teamwork and the lowering of CD’s guard. However, the green team remained ever so slightly behind their opponents, up until the game point of 20-17. AB Block delayed the end of the game, thwarting CD’s attempts to score the final point twice, bringing the score up to 20-19. It seemed as though the lead CD had throughout the game would finally be overturned. However, in the end, AB landed the ball out of the court, scoring CD the final point and winning them the match. Final score: 21-19 to CD.
E vs F
The first thing I noticed when I saw players, spectators and SMC members from these two blocks was how similar their (fabulously illustrated) IBG shirts were in color. “E Block is black, F Block is navy blue”, explained a member of the audience.
If not for the different bird designs at the front of the shirt, it would have been almost impossible to tell which shirt belonged to which block. However, since we were all watching from a fairly close distance, the similar coloration of the shirts was a non-issue.
The match kicked off with an under-the-net shot from F Block, scoring E the first point. The next point also went to E. However, they lost this early lead within seconds, as F scored two consecutive points right afterwards. As both sides were relatively inexperienced in Sepak Takraw, they racked up more points for each other than themselves – most of the points scored were the result of fouls. Despite this, the F team’s splendid teamwork allowed them to minimize their mistakes, giving them the upper hand over their opponents. The match proceeded at lightning speed, ending with an overwhelming victory of 21-9 to F Block.
F vs GH
This was the final match of the night, by which many of the players and spectators had left the hall. Nevertheless, the final match was just as exciting as the ones preceding it.
At the beginning of the match, both sides were equal in prowess; for every one or two points scored by one team, the other team would quickly catch up and level the score. This pattern was interrupted, though, after the 5-5 mark. Due to several fouls by GH as well as great shots from their players, F gained a 5 point lead. However, after playing matches from early in the evening to nighttime, the F Block players had become quite fatigued. Special mention goes to Ben, who had been a star player throughout the night.
With the score at 10-5, Ben decided to tag out. But as soon as the game resumed, it became clear that the loss of their star player crippled their team. The GH players quickly closed the gap between their scores, and by the time Ben returned to the field, GH had turned the tables with a score of 11-12. GH continued their assault, and while F played well and kept the gap fairly small, they could not retake their previous lead. In the end, in an ironic twist, the final point that won GH the final match was scored by a foul by Ben himself. The final score was 21-18 to GH.
Regardless of the outcomes, all the teams fought bravely and truly made this game into one worth watching. A big thank you to everyone who participated and to SMC for organizing the event!
Photos Courtesy of KE Vision.