In­done­sia's Sport­ing Scene Kicks Goals

Indonesia Expat - - Content Page -

Foot­ball fa­nat­ics can feel right at home here in In­done­sia, where the game is played reg­u­larly on street cor­ners and school sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties and English Premier League matches dom­i­nate the tele­vi­sions of ex­pat wa­ter­ing holes. But that’s not all In­done­sia has to of­fer and for the truly sports mad In­done­sia has a rich sport­ing his­tory into which to dive. Who knows, maybe you’ve found your next hobby?

Bend it Like Sepak Takraw

Sepak Takraw is best char­ac­ter­ized as kick vol­ley­ball, where play­ers use their feet to kick a small rat­tan ball across the net. It is a pop­u­lar game across South­east Asia and is hotly con­tested in re­gional bouts. Teams fea­ture three play­ers and games take part on a court sim­i­lar in size to a bad­minton court.

The game is be­lieved to have its ori­gins in 15th cen­tury Malacca, in mod­ern­day Malaysia, with fre­quent ref­er­ences in his­tor­i­cal texts. Sim­i­larly, across South­east Asia cen­turies old ref­er­ences to the game can be found, such as in a mu­ral in Bangkok painted in the 1700s.

Orig­i­nally, the game was more of a per­for­mance of ball con­trol and tricks but by the 1940s had been for­mal­ized into the net game we know to­day. Com­pe­ti­tion is tough, in­clud­ing at this year’s South­east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur this month, which saw con­tro­versy after the In­done­sian women’s team stormed out of the event.

Fight Like a Pen­cak Si­lat Star

Pen­cak Si­lat is a form of mar­tial arts which was de­vel­oped in In­done­sia be­fore spread­ing across South­east Asia. Matches are a master class in full­body fight­ing and in­tense car­dio, along with the skilled use of weaponry.

Pen­cak Si­lat has its roots in the pre- colo­nial era and it is be­lieved to have first be­gun when Indian in­flu­ences melded with Batak and Bugis fight­ing styles. As far back as the sixth cen­tury in Riau we can find ev­i­dence of the for­mal­ized style prac­tised to­day.

Dur­ing the fight for in­de­pen­dence the In­done­sian Pen­cak Si­lat As­so­ci­a­tion was founded and re­flected na­tion­al­ism and pa­tri­o­tism val­ues. Pen­cak Si­lat is now taught in many schools across In­done­sia as well as fur­ther out in South­east Asia.

Win­ning Gold in Bad­minton

In­done­sia is by no means the first coun­try to play bad­minton, but it does give other coun­tries a run for their money when it comes to pas­sion for the game. The sport has been In­done­sia’s most suc­cess­ful when com­pet­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally and every win is cel­e­brated widely, as seen dur­ing last year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro which saw the In­done­sian mixed dou­bles side bring home the gold.

In­done­sia’s na­tional sides en­joy huge suc­cess in in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments, although that has some­what waned in re­cent years much to the con­cern of the game’s au­thor­i­ties. The coun­try also plays host to its own in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments, in­clud­ing the fa­mous In­done­sia Open which has been held each year since 1982. Largely based in Jakarta, the tour­na­ment has also been hosted in other cities around the coun­try fur­ther spread­ing the love of the game.

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