Five sports played at the Southeast Asian Games

  • 12 December 2013
  • From the section Magazine

The Southeast Asian Games officially began on Wednesday in Burma, although competition got under way last week. Eleven countries are contesting this tournament, which began in 1959 and is held every two years.

So far, the host nation tops the medals table. Here's a quick rundown of some of the more unusual sports on display.

Kick volleyball

Sepak Takraw has been ever present at the Games for the last 40 years. Unlike volleyball, players cannot use their hands and the ball is made of rattan palms.

Image caption The sport is played on sand at the Asian Beach Games


Several martial arts are contested at the SEA Games. Wushu developed in China after the war. A school at Tianjin claims to have taught students who have gone on to win more than 1,000 medals at national and international competitions.


This is a combination of sport and dance, with a circle of six players attempting to keep the ball in the air while executing - as elegantly as possible - some complex moves, many of which take place behind the player, with the heel, for example.

Traditional boat racing

There are usually two boat sizes, with crews of 10 or 20. Each rower kneels in the boat and rows using a single-ended paddle, in a sport reminiscent of dragonboat racing.


This form of boules is played in several countries outside France, including parts of Southeast Asia. It's a legacy of the French colonial presence in the region.

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