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National sport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Map of the World showing the most popular sports by nation.
Map of the World showing the most popular sports by nation.

A national sport is a sport or game that is considered to be a popularly intrinsic part of the culture of a country or nation. In American English the term national pastime is often used.

Although there are normally no official parameters towards defining what is a national sport, there are some general characteristics that most national sports share:

  • The rules and objectives of the sport or game are known in fairly great detail in the country or nation.
  • The game or sport is widely played or watched in the country or nation.
  • The game or sport has a long history of popularity or extreme current popularity in the country or nation.

In some countries, sport or game can become the official national pastime by mandate of the government, such as with Canada and lacrosse in 1995.

In other countries, where the sport or game has such a long history, such as with baseball in the United States or sumo wrestling in Japan, the sport or game is often considered a de facto "official" national pastime.

List of current countries' national sports

  • Afghanistan - Buzkashi (traditional) and football (soccer) (most popular). Boxing, kung fu and Cricket are also popular.[citation needed]
  • Albania - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Antigua and Barbuda - Cricket.[citation needed]
  • Angola - Football, Basketball.[citation needed]
  • Argentina - football (soccer) is the national passion. Rugby Union and Basketball are also popular. Pato is the national traditional sport while the nation has had historically the best Polo players and tournaments in the world.[citation needed]
  • Armenia - Chess and Football are most popular; competitively Weightlifting and Wrestling.[citation needed]
  • Australia - Cricket is the traditional summer sport. Different football codes are the most popular winter sports in different parts of the country. Australian rules football is the most popular in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania, while Rugby league and/or Rugby Union are more popular in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory. Football (soccer) has a significant rate of participation but professionally is small.[citation needed]
  • Austria - Alpine skiing, Football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Azerbaijan - Chess, Football (soccer), Wrestling [1]
  • Bahrain – Football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Bangladesh - Kabaddi is the National Game. Cricket is the most popular game. Football also popular.[citation needed]
  • Barbados - Cricket.[citation needed]
  • Belarus - Football (soccer) is the most popular sport. Ice Hockey is also popular.[citation needed]
  • Belgium - Cycling is the most popular sport in Belgium: during winter a variant of cycling called cyclo-cross ("veldrijden") is the pastime for most Belgians (certainly in Flanders). football (soccer) is also quite popular.[citation needed]
  • Bhutan - Archery.[citation needed]
  • Bolivia - Football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Brazil - football (soccer) is considered the national sport, Futsal an indoor variant of Football is the most practiced and volleyball also has a large number of participants.[citation needed]
  • Bulgaria - football (soccer). Competitively weightlifting and in chess.[citation needed]
  • Canada - Lacrosse and ice hockey are the official sports, but hockey is by far the sport most closely followed, and most closely linked to national identity. Lacrosse is a national sport for primarily historical reasons: sports like basketball, Canadian football (but probably also American football), soccer among women, golf, baseball, tennis are all much more popular. Canada also fields one of the major national teams in the sport of curling.[2]
  • Cambodia - Kickboxing.[citation needed]
  • Cameroon - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Chile - football (soccer). Tennis is also very popular.[citation needed]
  • People's Republic of China - Table tennis, basketball and football. football is the most popular sport since a short time, China had a real soccer explosion recently. Many people also practise kung fu.[citation needed]
  • Ethiopia – Athletics.[citation needed]
  • Hong Kong - Dragon boat racing, badminton, windsurfing, rugby, fencing and Cricket, football is the most widely followed televised sport.[citation needed]
  • Republic of China (Taiwan) - baseball.[citation needed]
  • Colombia - Tejo is the traditional sport, as is bullfighting, but football (soccer) is the main attraction, followed by baseball and basketball.[citation needed]
  • Costa Rica - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Croatia - Football (soccer). Handball, water polo and basketball are also widely popular.[citation needed]
  • Cuba - Baseball. followed by Football (soccer) and boxing.[citation needed]
  • Czech Republic - Ice hockey and football (soccer) are almost equally popular.[citation needed]
  • Denmark - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Dominican Republic - Baseball.[citation needed]
  • Egypt - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Estonia - Basketball and football (soccer) are almost equally popular. Cross-country skiing in winter.[citation needed]
  • Fiji - Rugby union, particularly Sevens.[citation needed]
  • Finland - Pesäpallo (or Finnish baseball) is the de-facto national sport, but ice hockey is most followed. Formula 1 and ski jump are watched and floorball is played widely.[citation needed]
  • France - Football (soccer) is the national sport and the symbol of national pride but rugby union is also popular in the southwest. Basketball is also played and Cycling is widely followed.[citation needed]
  • Gambia - Wrestling.[citation needed]
  • Georgia - Football and Rugby Union.[citation needed]
  • Germany - football (soccer) and Ice Hockey is quite popular as well.[citation needed]
  • Greece - football (soccer) is most popular, closely followed by basketball and volleyball.[citation needed]
  • Grenada - Football (soccer) is most popular, with cricket close behind.[citation needed]
  • Guyana - Cricket, with Football (soccer) being the next popular sport[3]
  • Haiti - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Hungary - football (soccer) and water polo although water polo has historically been the most successful sport.[citation needed]
  • Iceland - Glima, but Football (soccer) is the most popular.[citation needed]
  • India - Field Hockey is the National Game of India while Cricket is the most popular. Football (soccer) is the major game in Kerala, West Bengal , Goa and Manipur.[citation needed]
  • Indonesia - Football (soccer), badminton.[citation needed]
  • Iran - freestyle Wrestling is the traditional national sport, all kinds of combat sports and martial arts are popular suuch as: Greco-Roman wrestling, taekwondo, karate and kung fu. but football is by far the most popular. Futsal and Volleyball also widely practised. and comptetivelly in weightlifting.[citation needed]
  • Iraq – football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Ireland - of indigenous games promoted by the Gaelic Athletic Association, hurling is the most ancient (featuring in such pre-Christian legends as Cúchulainn) but Gaelic football is the most widely played and popular. Gaelic handball is increasingly rare. Soccer and golf are widely popular and rugby union is increasing in popularity, particularly in the southwest and major cities.[citation needed]
  • Israel - football (soccer) and basketball.[citation needed]
  • Italy - football (soccer) is the most practised sport by young men. Volleyball is the most practised sport by young women. Bocce is the most practised sport by seniors. Cycling is also widely popular. However, only men's football has high TV coverage.[citation needed]
  • Jamaica - Cricket and football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Japan - Sumo wrestling, karate and Judo are traditionally viewed as Japan's national sports, but baseball is today more popular, and football and rugby union are rapidly increasing in popularity.[citation needed]
  • Kazakhstan - boxing, Ice Hockey and Football (soccer) are popular as well.[citation needed]
  • Kenya - football (soccer) is the most watched and followed sport with Athletics being the most competitively successful. Rugby and cricket are rapidly gaining in popularity.[citation needed]
  • Korea - Tae kwon do is the traditional national sport, though baseball is highly popular as is football (soccer) and table tennis. The computer game StarCraft is so popular in South Korea that is commonly (and jokingly) referred to as a "national sport".[citation needed]
  • Latvia - Basketball is the national sport while Ice Hockey is considered the most popular sport followed by football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Lebanon - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Libya - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Lithuania - Basketball is most closely linked to national identity, with football also widely followed.[citation needed]
  • Malaysia - Silat, gasing, and wau are traditional sports, but football followed a close second by badminton are the most popular sports today.
  • Mexico - Charrería and bullfighting are traditional sports, but football is most popular by far. Baseball and American football are also widely played and followed.[citation needed]
  • Mongolia - Wrestling and archery.[citation needed]
  • Montenegro - football (soccer) and basketball.[citation needed]
  • Morocco - football (soccer), athletics and basketball.[citation needed]
  • Mozambique - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Myanmar/Burma - football (soccer).[4]
  • Namibia - football (soccer). Rugby union is also popular.[citation needed]
  • Nauru - Australian rules football.[citation needed]
  • Nepal - Football and Cricket.[citation needed]
  • Netherlands - football (soccer) has the largest following, but cycling and speed skating are seen as traditional sports; volleyball, baseball (known locally as honkbal) and field hockey are also played.[citation needed]
  • New Zealand - Rugby union is the easily the most widely followed and most closely linked to national pride (rugby league gaining popularity), although some young children today play soccer. Netball is one of the most popular sports among girls and young women, and men have organised some teams of their own. Cricket is played during summer and is the national summer sport. Yachting and rowing are also popular.[citation needed]
    • Cook Islands - Rugby Union.[citation needed]
  • Nicaragua - Baseball.[citation needed]
  • Nigeria - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Norway - Skiing, both Nordic and Alpine, but football is the most popular sport.[citation needed]
  • Pakistan - Field hockey is the official national sport while Cricket is the most popular. Polo is the official secondary national sport on a state-level. Pakistan also has had a long history in the game of squash.[citation needed]
  • Panama - Baseball is the national and most practiced sport. They're also successful at boxing and basketball. Soccer although is not so successful, it is growing in popularity.[citation needed]
  • Papua New Guinea - Rugby league. Australian rules football is also very popular.[citation needed]
  • Peru - Football (soccer) is the national sport.[citation needed]
  • Philippines - Basketball is the de facto national pastime since the 1950s, attracting large crowds.[1] Boxing, Billiards and Bowling are the other sports with the largest number of participants. Sipa and Eskrima are the main traditional sports.[citation needed]
  • Poland - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Portugal - football (soccer), rink hockey, cycling are very popular and have a great tradition.[citation needed]
  • Romania - Oina (very similar but unrelated to baseball) is the traditional sport, but football (soccer) is much more popular nowadays. Rugby also has a fairly strong following.[citation needed]
  • Russia - Football (soccer), Tennis, Ice Hockey, Sambo.[citation needed]
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis - Cricket is the national sport, with intense inter-island rivalry.[citation needed]
  • Saint Lucia - Cricket.[citation needed]
  • Samoa - Rugby union.[citation needed]
  • Saudi Arabia - Falconry and horse racing are traditional, but football draws the largest number of spectators.[citation needed]
  • Senegal - football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Serbia - Basketball, with football (soccer) not far behind.[citation needed]
  • Singapore - Football (soccer), swimming, badminton, basketball and table tennis.[citation needed]
  • Slovakia - Ice hockey and football (soccer) are almost equally popular.[citation needed].
  • Slovenia - Alpine skiing, but basketball is very popular. Football (soccer) is very popular as well.[citation needed]
  • South Africa - football (soccer) has historically been most popular with black South Africans, rugby union with Afrikaners, and cricket with British-descended whites. This ethnic division still exists to some degree, though considerably less so than during the apartheid era.[citation needed]
  • Spain - Football (soccer) is very popular in Spain, followed by basketball, the traditional sport is bullfighting.[citation needed]
  • Sri Lanka - Cricket is the most popular.[citation needed]
  • Sudan - Football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Switzerland - Schwingen, stone throwing and Hornussen, all traditional games, are popular in rural Switzerland, although football (soccer) is most popular overall, and ice hockey is rising in popularity.[citation needed]
  • Sweden - football (soccer) and ice hockey are almost equally popular. Bandy is the traditional Swedish winter sport. Although floorball is the sport with the most active athletes.[citation needed]
  • Syria - Football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • Thailand - Muay Thai is traditional sport. Soccer is very popular.[citation needed]
  • Tonga - Rugby union.[citation needed]
  • Trinidad and Tobago- football (soccer) is the most popular sport with cricket a close second.[citation needed]
  • Turkey - football (soccer), followed by basketball and volleyball. But wrestling and weightlifting are historically popular.[citation needed]
  • Turkmenistan –horse racing and kurash are traditional. football is popular.[citation needed]
  • Tuvalu - darts.[citation needed]
  • Ukraine - Football (soccer).[citation needed]
  • United Arab Emirates - Camel racing is traditional, but football (soccer) is the most popular. Cricket is also popular.[citation needed]
  • United Kingdom
    • England - Football (soccer) is the most popular. Cricket, Rugby Union and Rugby League, are also popular.[citation needed]
    • Scotland - Native sport is Shinty, but football (soccer) attracts much larger crowds. Scotland was also the birthplace of golf and curling. Rugby Union is also popular.[citation needed]
    • Wales - Traditionally rugby union, but Football (soccer) is played by more people and attracts much higher attendances.
    • Overseas territories and crown dependencies of the United Kingdom
      • Bermuda - Cricket.[citation needed]
  • United States - Baseball has historically been considered America's national pastime and a significant aspect of American culture. However, American football currently enjoys somewhat greater popularity nationwide than baseball.[citation needed]
    • American Samoa - American football.[citation needed]
    • Puerto Rico - Baseball, Basketball and Boxing. Volleyball is also popular, specially women's volleyball and soccer has gained some raise in popularity recently.[citation needed]
  • Uruguay - Football is by far the most popular, followed by Basketball and Rugby Union. The traditional national sports are Pato and Bocce.[citation needed]
  • Uzbekistan - Kurash (traditional) and football.[citation needed]
  • Venezuela - Baseball is by far the most popular sport in Venezuela, Basketball and Football (soccer) are played as well by a great part of the population.[citation needed]
  • Vietnam - Football (soccer) is the dominant sport, followed by a number of sports including tennis, badminton, volleyball, table tennis and martial arts.[citation needed]
  • Zimbabwe - Football (soccer) and cricket.[citation needed]

Countries By National Sport

Countries grouped by their national/most popular sport.

Football (soccer)




Australian rules football

Ice Hockey

Kick Boxing

Table Tennis

Horse Racing

Rugby Union

Rugby League

Gaelic Football




  1. ^ Azerbaijan Sport.
  2. ^ Canada Sport. Retrieved on 1995.
  3. ^ Guyana Sport. Retrieved on 1995.
  4. ^ Myanmar Sport. Retrieved on 12,17,2004.
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