Nizam Hajireen, President of the Sepaktakraw Association of Sri Lanka is now working round the clock to give the game a national identity. Sepaktakraw is a game popular with the Malay community of Sri Lanka. It is extremely popular in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Germany and is catching up fast in the United States of America. “Our aim is to spread it to all communities in Sri Lanka,” said Hajireen in an interview to the Sunday Times.
Hajireen, who is the President of the Amateur Sepaktakraw Association of Sri Lanka, is also a senior vice-president of both the Asian Sepaktakraw and the International Federations. He was Chairman of the Sepaktakraw Panel of Jury at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea competition recently.
“Great performances, dynamic and acrobatic skills by both men and women participants and well-drilled and efficient officials, mainly from High School students to assist all the athletes, made the competition an outstanding event in S. Korea,” said Hajireen.
Thailand and Myanmar clinched the Gold Medals after close fights. Sepaktakraw is similar to volleyball but played with the foot and head without the use of hands on a court the size of a badminton court. Acrobatic skills play a major role in the game.
Due the untiring efforts of Nizam Hajireen and the Ex-Co members of the Sepaktakraw Association of Sri Lanka comprising of Secretary General M. Jaldin, Rohan and Zahida Ousmand, Emran Deen, Dr. K.A.P. Kiriella. U. Zahiran Hajireen, N. Gunaratne, I.H. Samarasinghe, Fareen Ghouse, M. A. Ahamath, F. Pallie and the coaches under Zahiran Hajireen are bearing fruit after a long struggle. Hajireen said that he is indebted to all presidents of the Malay Clubs and Associations of Kolonnawa, Kotikawatte, Uva, Nawalapitiya, Kandy, Ruhuna, Wattala, Mabole, Hunupitiya and the premier club of Colombo – Malays CC who had given their support to fulfil the concept of spreading the game to other communities in order to give it a truly national outlook.
Hajireen said that he is now trying to seek affiliation for the game with the Sports Ministry. This has been uppermost in his mind but to reach the task of raising teams and players from non-Muslim communities before seeking affiliation had been a tough assignment.
“The Association did not want to go before the Sports Ministry with member associations and clubs only from the Malay community.” said Hajireen.
“The delay in seeking affiliation with the Sports Ministry was due to unavoidable circumstances. This paved the way for disgruntled elements to cast undue comments at the association time and again,” said Hajireen.
Nizam Hajireen is a double international in rugby and football and had captained the Police rugby team and has also played cricket and hockey for Police teams.