Imphal, Nov.7 : Sepak-Takraw, the kick volleyball game of far eastern origin, continues to attract sports lovers here.
Participating in the 19th edition of the championship, which commenced here on Wednesday (Nov.5), the Manipur's defending champion teams of men and women carried on the winning streak with straight victory over Delhi at Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium in their inaugural matches.
The five-day event is being organized by All Manipur Sepak takraw Association under the aegis of the Sepak takraw Federation of India (SFI).
About 332 players representing 19 States teams from across the country are participating in this edition of national championship.
"Sepak takraw is an incredible game. It is a mixture of many games. It has little element of martial art in it and a bit of volleyball and football strategies completes this game. This game is different and very novel in its approach," said Rashid Ali, a Sepak takraw player representing Delhi team.
Manipur Governor Gurbachan Jagat on Wednesday inaugurated the event in which Minister of Youth affairs and sports N. Biren Singh was the chief guest.
Earlier, the participating teams from across the country took out a march past in the stadium.
Governor Gurbachan Jagat appreciated the contribution of Manipur in the promotion and development of numerous sporting disciplines, the game of Sepak takraw in particular.
In Sepak takraw, the players use feet to throw the ball into the opponents' court unlike in typical Volleyball style where hands are used by players to smash or push the ball in rivals' court.
Though resembling with volleyball, it uses a rattan ball and only allows players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. Headers and scissor kicks or lobs with legs make the game of Sepak takraw an attraction for any onlooker.
The national championship since it was started many years ago here has been dominated by Manipuri men and women teams.
"We were more happy with our performance in our practice sessions, but today we could not able to perform that well, maybe our competitors were too good. And seeing some of the teams perform is really amazing. We got a long way to be as good as them," said Padmini Singha, one member of the losing Assam women's Sepak takraw team. By L.C.K Singh