New sepak takraw courts open on the East Side, first in the U.S.

courtesy of Annie Huidekoper, St. Paul Parks Conservancy

courtesy of Annie Huidekoper, St. Paul Parks Conservancy

The first sepak takraw courts in the U.S. opened at the Duluth and Case Recreation Center, 1020 Duluth St., on Sept. 8. Sepak takraw, also known as kato, is a traditional Southeast Asian sport that can be described as a mix of volleyball and soccer. 

Players from Sepak Takraw of USA joined staff from St. Paul Parks and Recreation and the St. Paul Parks Conservancy to celebrate the opening of the courts and to show visitors how the game is played. Sepak takraw players are required to use only their feet, knees, head and chest, much like soccer, to pass a ball over a net. The ball is about five inches in diameter and traditionally woven rattan. Most balls today are made with synthetic rubber. 

The game consists of two teams, usually made up of three players, who play on a small court with a five-foot high net. An official match is won by the best of 3 games, each played to 21 points. Fundraising for the completion of the project included help from the Super Bowl Host Committee Legacy Fund, the Minnesota Humanities Center, the Payne-Phalen Community Council, Sepak Takraw of USA, Ramsey County, St. Paul Parks Conservancy and St. Paul Parks and Recreation. 

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