"Your sport is not a high performance sport,". This statement was reported by one of my athlete who was being disappointed by one of the sport officer in his university after asking for university support to participate in duathlon race last year. Besides working as staff in university sports unit, this officer was a national sepak takraw coach.
My father was a sepak takraw player since he was 10 year old to early 40's. His 30 years experience in sepak takraw drives him to be a good state player in 1970’s-1980. Later in 1990's he played sepak takraw as a sport, not in high level competition, he start to be tournament official as national level umpire. I was remember when my father's team manager, came to our home at 4 pm and waiting for my father arrive from his workplace at 4:30 pm. Then I saw my father packed his stuff, immediately leaved a home with his team manager who was drove a taxi. That routine happens almost 10 times per month when I was 4-6 years old.
On weekend, normally I spent my time with my father is watching him played in tournament, far from him together with others spectators. From morning till his team won or reaching final, normally. I still remember when was the last time I follow him to play sepak takraw is about 10 years ago.
Now day, sepak takraw is one of the high performance sports in Malaysia’s Sport Development Program. Sepak takraw asked to achieve gold medal in SEA Games and Asian Games. But as the result, we as Malaysia cannot saw and see the results! We lose not only to our traditional arch-rival, Thailand, but also to new developed team such as Indonesia and South Korea easily. What was happen? What was wrong? Who is to blame?
We are tired to heard National Team back off from SEA Games because of the new ball issues, tired to read newspapers reported Persatuan Sepak Takraw Malaysia (PSM) politicking with higher and more powerful sepak takraw organization, etc.
As a reality, PSM was informed “tak buat kerja,” or not doing their job by other parties such as spectators. The evidence is lack of number of tournament in one year. The only national level or inter state tournament now day is Piala Emas Khir Johari. Where are the national circuit such as Perillys Piala Emas (if I not mistaken) which was highly impact the development of national level player. Why PSM let the circuit died after the sponsors flew? Where is PSM ability to find potential sponsor? Is PSM know how to write a sponsorship proposal?
Secondly, the quality of national player was not same as previous national legendary player. Name of Zabidi Shariff, Nordin Shaharudin, Rosli Abdul Rahman was a player who was played sepak takraw for Malaysians, honor and big commission to win! But recently, national player just played sepak takraw for money, glamour and popularity (normally today’s Malaysian did know who are national players). It is about mentality, self concept, and goal setting.
Thirdly, a nation such as South Korea who was learned sepak takraw from Malaysia once upon a time ago can easily beat our national team. They learn not only the technique, but they deeply study and do a research in sports science aspect in sepak takraw. They can differentiate the type of shoes used by ‘apit kanan’ (killer), ‘tekong’ (server) and ‘apit kiri’ (feeder). Besides, they included strength training, plyometric training, technique invention, and maybe one day, mesomorph, endomorph and ectomorph body type can affect the positioning in the game.
It is time for PSM, players, coaches to do something highly impact the progression of sepak takraw in Malaysia. There are many ways for them to improve. Many parties can support this progression. As Malaysian, I reluctant to see the sport that we were the dominator once time receiving a same fate like Malaysian football in near future. The clock is ticking and please starts thinking effectively!
"Is sepak takraw still high performance sport, Sir?"