By Leaps and Bounds

Zainal Abd Halim / Reuters

BOTTOM UP: Burma's Zaw Latt (in blue) defends against Malaysia's Abdul Mubin Mohd Azlan at Doha last winter

If there was one lesson learned from the Asian Games held in Doha last December, it was this: the thousand seats allocated to matches of sepak takraw could have been doubled—maybe even tripled—and the crowds would have still filled them. Imagine the speed and precision of volleyball cut with the aerial kicks of soccer at its showiest—set in the intensely combative, close-quarters environment of an indoor court—and you have some idea why this Southeast Asian sport is so visually addictive. Sepak takraw looks like it was devised to a global broadcaster's order. But it originated in the...

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