With the 15th Asian Games less than two months away, Malaysian sepak takraw coach Jamaluddin Hassan stressed that his team would be drug-free heading into the competition in Doha, Qatar.

 

"It was an embarrassment to be involved in drugs," Jamaluddin said in The Star newspaper on Wednesday.

 

"However, we have done random tests on the 21 players who are in training. None has been found to be involved in drugs.

 

"We will conduct two or three more dope tests in the next 57 days to make sure they are clean and not taking any banned substances."

 

Sepak takraw is similar to volleyball, however players use their feet and legs to kick the ball over the net rather than using their hands.

 

Each team has three players on the court and a smaller ball, traditionally made of rattan but usually made of plastic in competition, is used, with players often performing acrobatic maneuvers to win points.

 

Ahead of the speak takraw World Championships held earlier in August, Najib Abdul Razak, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, said that his country should strive to become the global centre for the exciting sport.

 

"If taekwondo can be associated with South Korea, then when sepak takraw becomes a world sport, it will automatically be identified with Malaysia and this part of the world," Najib said.

 

Also the chairman of the Malaysian government's Cabinet Committee on Sports, Najib felt sepak takraw deserved to be an Olympic sport, and hoped that the Malaysian island of Penang, which is planning a sepak takraw academy, could become the global headquarters for sepak takraw.

 

The 2006 Asian Games takes place in Doha, Qatar from December 1 to 15 with sepak takraw being just one of 39 sports featured in the 15th Asiad.