Lesser Known Sports at the SEA Games
SEA (South East Asian) games or the SEAP (South East Asian Peninsula) games, as they were called originally started in 1959 with the aim of promoting better relations amongst the south Asian countries. Cambodia, South Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Singapore were the countries that originally founded these games. The first SEA games that were held in Bangkok had only 12 sports, which now have increased to 36 sports and 402 events, played by 11 participating nations. Out of the 36 sports there are four sports that are lesser known around the world.
Wushu is a form of Chinese martial arts and the sport comprises of exhibition as well full-contact events. Wushu as a sport is categorized into taolu and sanda. In Taolu, competitors perform different martial art maneuvers and movements, based on the traditional martial art styles. Modern competitors are now increasingly displaying aerial techniques with complex kicks and jumps. Taolu events are categorized into barehanded, short weapons, and long weapons. In short weapons category, competitors perform maneuvers with certain types of Chinese traditional swords, whereas in long weapon category competitors are armed with a staff, spear, or cudgel. In sanda, competitors spar with each other, and the fighting technique is similar to Muay Thai or kickboxing, along with many grappling techniques.
In the SEA 2015, Singapore has won the Gold in Barehand, Weapons, Changquan and Taijuquan events in the men's category. Sanda has been dominated by Vietnam so far, who have won the gold in 60 kg and 65 kg categories.
Sepak Takraw is a popular sport in Southeast Asia, and is similar to volleyball, except players can use only their chest, head, feet, and knees to throw the ball over the net. Traditionally, the game is played with a hand-woven rattan ball, but now the ball can be made of synthetic fiber and it can even have a covering of rubber. Apart from being played amongst two competing teams, the sport also has an even called Chinlone where only one team tries to keep the ball aloft interestingly and gracefully.
Pencak Silat is Indonesian martial arts, and sports events comprise of sparring as well as display of maneuvers and movements. Sparring events are divided into weight categories ranging from 45 kg to 80 kg for men, and 50 kg to 60 kg for women.
Petanque is similar to Boules, where competitors try throwing hollow balls made of metal, closest to a small ball made of wood, called the cochonnet. This game originated in France in 1907, and has surprisingly spread throughout Asia, and become quite popular. The events are between singles, doubles, or triples team, and there are two events of mixed doubles and triples as well.
In SEA 2015, Gold for the men singles event has gone to Malaysia, and to Thailand for the Shooting event.