|Laotians enjoy both traditional games and international sports like soccer. One popular traditional game is called kataw. It is played with a small ball woven out of rattan (modern balls may be made of plastic). The players stand in a circle and try to keep the ball in the air without using their hands, by kicking it or hitting it with their knees and elbows. A more competitive version is called sepak takraw. Two teams of three players toss the ball back and forth over a volleyball net, using their legs, arms, shoulders and head. Laotian sepak takraw teams participate in the King's Cup international competition, which attracts competitors from throughout southeast Asia. Both men and women take part in these competitions.||
|Another traditional game is top spinning, using
large wooden tops. People compete to see how long they can keep the top
in motion. Sometimes people play against each other, using their tops to
knock out their opponents' tops.
A courtship ball game is popular among the hill tribes. Girls and boys line up facing each other. The two groups throw a ball back and forth. When someone drops it, he or she must sing a song. This is a way for boys and girls to get acquainted. Men from the Hmong tribe in the mountain areas of Laos enjoy cock fighting and even fish fighting. They place bets on the outcome of the fights and gather around to watch.
|The Laotian national soccer team was formed in
1951. Since 1993, it has competed in the South East Asian Games every year.
It also competes for an Asian trophy known as the Tiger Cup. Martial arts,
including muay thai (Thai kickboxing), are also popular as spectator
sports. In kickboxing, any part of the body, except the head, may be used
to strike an opponent.
Children and young people often take part in track and field sports at school. Girls actively participate in a number of sports such as volleyball, badminton and basketball at city schools. Laos has few recreation centres and sports facilities for adults. School courts and fields are used for practice and competitions.
|Laotians enjoy dancing. Social dancing, which is done in a circle, is known as lamvong, and is performed during festivals and celebrations. There are also professional dance troupes that travel throughout the country to entertain.|