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"Sepak" means to smash or kick in the Malay language, while "Takraw" originates from the Thai language, meaning “rattan ball”. The objective of this game is to hit the ball over the net and onto the floor in the opponent's court to score a point. Players are allowed to use their legs, head and torso to contact the ball, but any contact with their arms or hands is an infringement of the rules.
Competitions and tournaments are run in accordance to rules and regulations set by the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF). All equipment and attire must adhere to specifications set by ISTAF.
A game of Sepak Takraw is played between two teams (known as Regu). Each Regu has three players on court and two substitutes. The players on court are the striker, server and feeder. Game play is very similar to the sport of Volleyball. In Sepak Takraw, players are allowed a maximum of three contacts with the ball to get it over the net.
A coin toss will decide which Regu will start service, while the other Regu can pick the side of court they wish to start on. The feeder will start the game by tossing the ball to the server. The server will keep one foot within the 'serving circle' and use his other foot to kick the ball past the net. On the defensive Regu, the server and feeder becomes the setters to pass the ball to the striker within three contacts. The striker then hits or smashes the ball over the net. During game play, the Regu who commits a fault will lose service and a point is awarded to the opposing team.
Service will change over after three consecutive points scored by the serving Regu. Depending on the level of competition and rules set by the organising committee, the first Regu that scores 21 points wins the set. The set can only be won by the Regu with a two point lead, and the maximum points a set typically reaches is 25 points. The umpire will announce for the set to extend to 25 points when there is a tie at 20 - 20. The game is played in two sets with a two minute break in between. The Regu that wins two sets wins the match.
In the event that both Regus win a set each, the match is extended to a tie-break set. This third set is played to 15 points, and will be extended to 17 points if there is another tie at 14 - 14. Before the tie-break set, the Regus will toss a coin to decide who starts the service. Service will change over when one Regu scores eight points.
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