The 5 Most Popular Sports in Asia

The 5 Most Popular Sports in Asia

Asia is a fairly large continent. It is actually the largest and most populous continent in the world. So it is natural that the people who live here are fans of many different sports. Both team and individual sports are very popular in Asia.

European football (or soccer) has become extremely popular in almost all Asian countries in recent decades. This British-born team sport literally conquered the world. Countries like South Korea, Japan and China developed a true national obsession with soccer. Soccer is a game played by two teams of eleven players each, on a large rectangular field, about 120 meters long and 90 meters wide. A game lasts 90 minutes and is divided into two 45 minute rounds. The whole purpose of the game is to put the ball into the goal of the other team. A goalkeeper guards the goal. The team that scores the most wins the game. Unlike American football, European football (or soccer) restricts many physical contacts between players. It is based more on a good control of the ball by the players, being a team sport where serious injuries are very rare. That is why soccer also becomes very popular with women.

Cricket, another team sport brought to Asia by the British, is very popular and loved in many countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, or Sri Lanka. Cricket is also played by two teams or 11 players, but on an oval field, with a diameter of about 200 meters. In the center of that field is the field of play, where two batters meet, waiting for the bowler to deliver a ball. If the hitter fits the ball successfully and then runs to the other end of the field, it means he scored points for his team. Cricket rules are really complex and there is more than one way to play this game. However, this does not prevent people from Asia from enjoying cricket and playing it for days. A single game of cricket can sometimes take even five days to complete.

Table tennis can be played by individual players or by towing teams and is incredibly popular in many Asian countries, such as China, South Korea or Vietnam. Table tennis is played on a table with a net in the middle, with small plastic balls, which require great concentration and coordination on the part of the players. The rules are very similar to those of field tennis: all players must return the balls and, if they do not, the opponent receives points.

Gymnastics is, for decades, extremely popular in Asia, especially in China, but also in North or South Korea and other Asian countries. Gymnastics is basically an individual sport, although during major competitions athletes also compete in teams. Women’s gymnastics involves four different events: uneven parallel bars, floor exercise, balance beam, and vaults. As for men, there are six events: floor exercise, pommel, hoops, vault, parallel bars and high bar. Each exercise of a gymnast receives points from a specialist jury and the one with the most points wins a certain competition.

And of course, this top wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the old traditional styles of Asian fighting, collectively known as martial arts. There is a wide variety of traditional sports, specific to certain countries, such as kung-fu or wushu in China and karate or sumo in Japan.

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