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The Guangzhou Asian Games’ Coolest Sport

Check out this video of this gold-medal Sepak takraw match between Myanmar and China women's doubles

11·30·2010

The Guangzhou Asian Games’ Coolest Sport

Check out this video of this gold-medal Sepak takraw match between Myanmar and China women's doubles

11·30·2010

The Guangzhou Asian Games are over now, so I thought this would be a good time to take a look back at the massive sporting event. Unsurprisingly given its size, China came away with 199 gold medals and 416 total medals, nearly doubling its closest competitor, South Korea.

There were over 40 different sports in this year’s Asian Games, but by far the coolest was Sepak takraw, which might be described as a sort of cross between volleyball, hacky sack, and martial arts. The sport isn’t frequently played in China — in fact, most Chinese people wouldn’t recognize it even if they heard its Chinese name, 藤球 Téng qiú — but that didn’t stop China from fielding teams and doing fairly well. The sport is traditionally dominated by Thailand in international play, and this year’s games were no exception, with Thailand grabbing 4 of the 6 gold medals that were up for grabs, and Myanmar grabbed the other two. But China came away with two silvers and two bronzes; their women’s teams all managed to medal.

It’s hard to understand how Sepak takraw works without seeing it, so here’s a video. This is the gold-medal game between Myanmar and China in women’s doubles. China eventually loses, but it’s an extremely close and hard-fought match. Check it out: