Different nations are identified with their flag, their national anthems, their national birds and animals, their national dress, their national language and of course with their national sports. As all other categories to identify a nation, sports too holds a different place in the national pride. All the major nations of this world hold different kinds of sports which for them are national pride and hence they find the premier place in the list of the sports they play. Just take a look at those sports who have the honor to become a national sport of a country.
The national sport of a country not only defines the culture and traditional ideas and beliefs of that nation but it also represents its people in a major way. Over thousands of years of human culture and civilization, numerous sports have evolved in different parts of the earth. Here is a brief look at the various sports that are regarded as the national pastimes in different countries all throughout the world.
Afghanistan – Buzkashi
Buzkashi is the national sport of Afghanistan and it had its origins with the nomadic tribes of Central Asia. The sport requires players to mount on horses and place a calf or goat carcass in a specific goal drawn on the field. It is known to be a highly aggressive sport.
Anguilla – Yacht Racing
Yacht Racing is the national sport of Anguilla. It involves the racing of yachts or large boats where they are required to move from one point to another. The distance and the number of contestants may vary with an individual race.
Antigua and Barbuda – Cricket
Cricket is a game played with the bat and ball between two teams of eleven players each. It is a very popular game in different parts of the world that had British colonial rule at some point in history. Currently, cricket is the national sport of Antigua and Barbuda.
Argentina – Pato
Pato is the national sport of Argentina and it combines elements of Basketball and polo. Originally played with a live duck, the game now uses a ball instead of the bird. Pato is also Spanish for a duck. In order to win the game, the two playing teams are needed to score the maximum number of goals within the specific duration.
Australia – Cricket
Cricket enjoys widespread popularity in Australia and is regarded as its national sport. The game is played by two teams that try to score the maximum runs within a specific number of overs. Australia is also one of the most successful cricketing teams in the history of the game.
Bahamas – Sloop Sailing
Sloop Sailing is the national sport in the Bahamas that involve sailing with a sloop boat. These boats have a single sloop and offer cutting the advantage to players. The players in a sloop race need to reach a certain point at the quickest possible time.
Bangladesh – Kabaddi
Kabaddi is a form of contact sport that has its origins in ancient India. It is now the national sport of Bangladesh. It is played by two teams of multiple players where the defenders of one team are required to hold the raiders of the opposing team.
Barbados – Cricket
Cricket is the official game of Barbados and therefore it enjoys massive popularity here. Played by two opposing teams, it involves the skills of batting, bowling, and fielding. The team scoring the higher number of runs wins the game at the end.
Bermuda – Cricket
Cricket is a game that is played by two teams of eleven players. The teams need to alternately bat and bowl. The batting team needs to score as many runs as possible and the bowling team needs to prevent the batting team from scoring runs. The team scoring maximum runs at the end of the game wins.
Bhutan – Archery
Archery is a game that goes back to ancient times. It requires the players to hit a specific target with the highest level of precision. It has been included in the Olympics since 1900. Currently, it is the national sport of Bhutan.
Brazil – Capoeira
Capoeira is the national sport of Brazil. It is a form of martial arts that combines various elements of acrobatics, dance, and music. Popular since the 16th century, it is well known for its dynamic and complex moves.
Canada – Ice Hockey (Winter) | Lacrosse (Summer)
Ice Hockey (Winter): Ice hockey is a form of hockey that is played on ice. The two teams are required to shoot goals with a rubber puck by using their sticks. It is the national sport of Canada for the winter season.
Lacrosse (Summer): Lacrosse is the national game of Canada for the summer months. In this game, two teams compete against each other to score goals by using their long sticks known as lacrosse or crosse. Four main types of games are played, namely women’s lacrosse, men’s field lacrosse, intercrossed and box lacrosse.
Chile – Chilean Rodeo
Chilean Rodeo is the national sport of Chile. In this game, a team of two riders and two horses are required to ride laps around the arena and stop a calf by pinning it against some large cushions. The points are given when the steer is driven properly around the corral and faults lead to deductions.
China – Table Tennis
Table Tennis also referred to as ping pong, is the national sport of China. In this game, two players are required to hit a ball across the table among themselves with a small bat. Points are scored when one of the players fails to hit the ball back.
Columbia – Tejo
Tejo is the national sport of Columbia. It requires a play to throw a metal puck across an alley to a board that is covered with clay. The puck is referred to as the tejo. There are numerous regulations that control scoring in the game.
Cuba – Baseball
Baseball is a bat and ball game that is played by two opposing teams each consisting of 9 players. The teams are required to score the majority of the runs at the end of a game which is comprised of nine innings. It is the official game of Cuba.
Dominican Republic – Baseball
Baseball is the official sport of Dominican Republic. The game consists of two teams that compete with each other for scoring maximum runs. The opposing team needs to prevent the batting team from getting the runs.
Finland – Pesapallo
Pesapallo is a very moving bat and ball game that is often called Finnish baseball. It is the official sport of Finland. The game has similarities with brännboll, lapta, rounders as well as baseball.
Grenada – Cricket
Cricket is the official sport of Grenada which makes it a very popular game in this part of the world. The game involves two teams with eleven players looking to score as many runs as they can and then prevent the opposition from doing so.
Guyana – Cricket
Cricket is the official sport of Guyana. In this game, the two teams are needed to score runs by beating the fielding team whose players try to stop their scoring attempts. The team with higher runs wins at the end of the game.
India – Field Hockey
Field Hockey is a type of hockey that is played on the grass or turf field. It has its origins during the Middle Ages. It is the official sport of India. The game is played by two opposing teams with hockey sticks where they are required to score maximum goals.
Ireland – Gaelic Games
Gaelic Games are sports that are played in Ireland. These include Gaelic football, Gaelic hurling, Gaelic handball and Gaelic rounders. They form the official sports of Ireland.
Jamaica – Cricket
Cricket is a game that is played by two opposing teams of eleven players each. The teams are needed to score as many runs as they can. The fielding team members are required to get the batsmen out and stop them from scoring runs.
Korea Republic – Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do is a form of Korean martial art. It includes certain aspects of Chinese and Korean martial arts. It is the official sport of Korea Republic.
Latvia – Basketball (Summer) | Ice Hockey (Winter)
Basketball (Summer): Basketball is the official sport of Latvia during the summer season. In this game, two teams of 5 players each are needed to score a maximum number of baskets within a specific period.
Ice Hockey (Winter): Ice hockey is a form of hockey that is played on a sheet of ice. It is the official game of Latvia during the winter months.
Lithuania – Basketball:
Basketball is the national sport of Lithuania. The game is played by two opponent teams that are required to score as many baskets as possible with the ball before the end of the game.
Mexico – Charreria
Charreria is the official sport of Mexico and is considered an important part of the country’s culture and heritage. It is a sport that is similar to the game of rodeo. The game is played with cattle and is participated by both men and women.
New Zealand – Rugby Union
Rugby union is New Zealand’s unofficial national sport. For more than a century, it has enjoyed massive popularity in the country. Numerous domestic championships are played under it.
Norway – Cross Country Skiing
Cross Country Skiing is the national sport of Norway. In this sport, the skiers are required to depend on their locomotion gears to move across extended terrains of snow covered mountains.
Papua New Guinea – Rugby Union
The Rugby Union is the national sport of Papua New Guinea.
Peru – Paleta Fronton
Paleta Fronton is the national sport of Peru. The sport goes back to the “pelota vasca” that was brought by Spanish conquerors. The game is played with a black rubber ball.
Philippines – Arnisf
Puerto Rico – Paso Fino
Paso Fino is the national sport of Puerto Rico that was developed during the colonial times. They are played with the Paso Fino breed of horses.
Slovenia – Alpine Skiing
Alpine Skiing is the national sport of Slovenia. In this sport, the skiers are required to slide down the hill in their skis by wearing fixed-heel bindings. It is often played as a recreational sport.
Sri Lanka – Volleyball
Volleyball is a game in which two teams comprising of six players compete against each other. The teams are required to ground a ball in the opponent’s court. Points are scored or deducted by following various rules associated with the game.
Switzerland – Shooting, Gymnastics, Rustic Dancing
Shooting, Gymnastics, Rustic Dancing are games that are regarded as national sports in Switzerland. Shooting is a sport that requires the players to shoot different types of firearms. Gymnastics are sports that require skills in strength, balance, flexibility, endurance, agility and control.
Turkey – Turkish Ancestral Wrestling and Jareed
Turkish Ancestral Wrestling is a traditional form of wrestling that is practiced in Turkey. It is now considered as the national sport of the country.
United Kingdom-Wales – Rugby Union
The Rugby Union for United Kingdom-Wales represents the teams for these countries. The game of rugby is extremely popular in this part of the world and is participated by numerous teams.
United States – Baseball
Baseball is the national sport of United States. The game is also widely regarded as the country’s favorite obsession. Numerous teams all across the country play the game in tournaments held all throughout the year.
It’s a strange world of national sports!
If you go through the list given above carefully two countries like Afghanistan and Turkey and probably the Korean Republic too have given their traditional sports the status of national sports. Buzkashi is Afghanistan’s national sports and it is probably the only national sports around the world which are played with the help of animals. Most of the Caribbean countries which have declared Cricket as their national sport, but these days the game of cricket is on the decay in these countries.
The most stunning thing coming out of the list given above is that none of the Latin American countries has given national sports status to Football, for which they are mad about. Strangely Cuba, which has a very bad relation, politically with the United States shares the same sport, Baseball as their national sports.
On the other hand just like Latin American countries, India is still holding on field hockey as their national sports despite it has been a cricket-mad country for more than half a century now and field hockey itself is on the downward trend in the country. Countries like Canada and Latvia have two different national sports for winter and summer seasons.