SEA Games: Philippines’ sepak takraw bets proud to carry on ‘sipa’ tradition, aiming high in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Long before basketball captured the hearts of the Filipino people, sipa was a traditional native sport that had some roots in our culture.
It used to be the national sport of the country – although it has since been replaced by arnis – and that old distinction could bode well for the Philippine team that will be competing in a related sport in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, sepak takraw.
The country will have eight athletes competing in two sepak takraw events and the team’s head coach Hector Mamarion is positive that the team will perform well in the tournament.
“Hindi naman kailanagan ang height dito, but we have the speed and agility. Mas mabibilis, may advantage. Tayong mga Pilipino, mayroon tayo pareho noon,” Mamarion said in an interview with a small group of sportswriters.
“But more than that, we take pride in playing in this event because this is the national sport.”
In the previous edition of the games, the country won a bronze medal in Myanmar with a lean, three-man contingent. Mamarion believes that the Philippines will be better positioned to be successful in this one.
“Last SEA Games, we got the bronze medal because we only sent three athletes competing in one event,” he said.
“Now, we have eight athletes competing in two events – the double event and the regu event. Napakaganda naman ng resulta nung huling laban namin.”
The Philippines recently competed in the World Championship in Thailand last month, garnering some strong results against some of the same Southeast Asian team they will in these games.
“Mabibigat yung mga kalaban, yet we managed to win a gold, two silvers and one bronze,” Mamarion said.
“Sila rin makakalaban namin sa SEA Games and kumpiyansa kami na makaka-medal kami talaga, especially the gold,” he added. “Mas maraming event tayong masasalihan, mas maraming chances magka-medal.”
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