WEYBURN – After a three-year hiatus, mainly due to the pandemic, the Sepak Takraw Association of Canada (STAC) announced that the Men’s 2022 Canadian Open Sepak Takraw Championship will take place again in Regina, including a team from Weyburn.
The host venue is the Lakeview United Church gym at 3200 McCallum Ave., on the weekend of July 30-31. The last event was in Toronto in 2018.
Three major tournaments leading up to this event have already been completed and have singled out eight elite teams, which are now registered to compete for Canadian Gold.
Players are from Surrey, Edmonton, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Regina, Moose Jaw, Weyburn, Rosthern and Prince Albert. The team from Weyburn is comprised of twin brothers, Erickson and Eleizer Antes, originally from the Philippines, and their friend Aaron Danan of B.C.
Sadly, the teams from Ontario, including defending champs from Thunder Bay, are not able to make it.
The round robin games were held Saturday, and the semi-finals and championship game is on Sunday.
The Antes brothers said they’ve played this sport since they were in Grade 4 in 2010, and Danan added he’s played it since 2013.
“We’re happy to get the chance again to play,” said Erickson, noting they won the gold medal when they last competed in 2018.
Sepak Takraw, which comes from southeast Asia and is Malaysia’s national sport, is a cross between soccer and volleyball played on a doubles badminton court. Three players on each side of a five-foot-high net get three chances to kick, knee, shoulder, or head a hand-woven ball back to the opposing team.
The strategy, like volleyball, is to make the best use of your three hits to pass, set and spike the ball as the opposing team attempts to block, all without the use of hands or arms.
Spectators will see players jump, then flip or invert in the air while they spike the takraw ball back into the opposing court. Many consider this to be among the world’s most acrobatic team sports.