Brace yourselves for the Sepaktakraw Nationals which will be held on June 4 and 5 at the Indoor Sports Complex of St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. This will be the 12th occasion that this event is being held. This will be the first event to be held since being affiliated as a recognised sports body of the Ministry of Sports and also provisionally with the National Olympic Committee (NOC). The Sri Lanka Sepaktakraw team returned to the island with their heads held high recently after performing well against all odds in a version that is new to them called Chinlone at the Second Chinlone Championship held in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Sri Lanka bagged the Bronze Medal after competing against strong teams from Malaysia, Iran and Singapore. Speaking to the Sunday Times President of the Amateur Sepaktakraw Association of Sri Lanka T. Nizam Hajireen said that the Chinlone contest in Myanmar was a novel experience and stressed that the skills of Chinlone would greatly enhance and further develop the skills required for the acrobatic game of Sepaktakraw. At this year’s Nationals 16 men’s teams and eight women’s teams are expected to participate. Encouragingly for the sport these players hail from Uva, Kandy, Nawalapitiya, Hambantota, Pinnawela and Mawanella.
If the planned programme in the North succeeds, boys and girls teams from the North too can be expected to participate. Nizam Hajireen is assisted by Dr. J. Vivekanthan an eminent educationist of Jaffna and a great sports enthusiast and General Manager f the CR&FC/ He is a former lecturer of the Northern University as well. The prominent duo had arranged the necessary facilities to conduct training programmes for students and teachers in charge of sports from the Jaffna District.
The team for the Chinlone championship in Myanmar was coached by International Sepaktakraw Referee and Coach T.P. Hajireen under the supervision of the Association President T. Nizam Hajireen. The team was captained by M.A. Ahmat of ‘Stone and String’ fame and Kolonnawa Malay Association. The other members were: W.D.Soysa (vice captain – from the Sri Lanka Army), M.A. Suranga, J.P. Silva, K.K..K. Srimal (all from the Army), and W.A.D. Tharanga from the Dehiwela Sepaktakraw Club. The Ex-Co of the Association is gearing up to conduct this year’s nationals on a grand scale and invite the Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekera, as the chief guest.