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Which is the most popular sport in China? Chinese sports culture explained
Many people know Chinese athletes for their martial arts skills and culture, but the country has also embraced other sports like basketball, soccer, tennis, and badminton. China has participated in top international competitions like the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. So, which is the most popular sport in China, and why is it so captivating to the Chinese?
Sports in China have grown over the years since the ancient days. Popular traditional sports in China include dragon boat racing, board shoe racing, and stilt racing. The country has also done well in Olympic Games, winning multiple medals across several disciplines.
What was the most popular sport in ancient China?
Swordplay, Wrestling, archery, and golf are some of the traditional sports of ancient Chinese emperors and nobles. They also played football, polo, and ice skating.
What sports is China good at?
The Asian country has various sporting activities like ping pong, basketball, badminton, athletics, and volleyball. It has the largest population globally (1.4 billion as of June 2023), providing a massive market for local and global competition. Many Chinese play the games as a hobby, career, or leisure activity.
Most popular sport in China in 2023
Today, the country has evolved, and most athletes compete in modern games like basketball, soccer, and table tennis. Many Chinese nationals have pursued careers in sports and earned a living. The government has also supported the growth and development of sports by providing infrastructure and financial aid.
Is ping pong the most popular sport in China?
Ping pong, or table tennis, is one of the most popular games in the Asian country. Its history dates back to the late-19th century in England, where it originated. Table tennis made its way into China through the Western settlements via Japan and Korea only in 1901.
Is basketball the most popular sport in China?
The love and passion for basketball have spread in almost every school in China. The game blew up in the country in the 2000s, thanks to Yao Ming's influence following his move to the NBA to play for the Houston Rockets. The Chinese Basketball Association, China's version of the NBA, is one of the most followed sporting events in the country. According to statistics, the CBA league had about 1.08 billion attendance between 2007-2019.
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Which is the national sport of China?
In the early 1950s, Chinese leader Mao Zedong declared table tennis (ping pong) a national sport. The move popularised and spread the game throughout the country, including rural areas. Today, many schools have installed ping pong tables to help kids hone their skills from a young age.
Is soccer the most popular sport in China?
Although soccer is the most popular sport on earth, it is less prominent in China than ping pong and basketball. The government continues to support soccer in the country by establishing structures and promoting the Chinese Super League, the top-tier soccer league in the republic.
What is the most popular sport in China?
Table tennis or ping pong is China's most followed game as of 2023. Others are basketball, badminton, soccer and athletics. Here is a breakdown of the top 10 most popular sports in China. We rank the games from the least to the most followed, featuring their legendary athletes and global performance.
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The interest in tennis in China has grown, with around 10 million regular female tennis players signing up for various tournaments nationwide. Legendary Li Na took tennis in Asia to another level after winning nine WTA Tour singles titles, including two Grand Slams (French Open and Australian Open).
Li Na retired in September 2014 due to knee injuries. She also reached a career-high of No 2 in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings.
China's swimming culture is also worth mentioning since Sun Yang became the first Chinese to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming in 2012. The country continues to invest in swimming competitions, with many citizens interested in the sport.
8. Martial arts
Kung Fu (gongfu) and taekwondo are top martial arts sports in the Asian country. China is one of the best-performing countries in taekwondo at the Olympic Games, only behind South Korea. Martial arts masters like Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan have also inspired many people to take lessons and learn basic skills.
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China's volleyball history dates back to 1905 when the sport first entered the country from the United States. The Asian nation began participating in international volleyball tournaments in the 1950s before the women's national team dominated the world stage in the 1980s.
The women's side also won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Zhu Ting is a legendary Chinese volleyball player who has inspired many generations.
6. Square dancing
Square dancing is not a competitive sport but a form of exercise popular in the country. The tradition mostly features middle-aged and older women dancing to choreographed routines in public parks and across streets in towns. Square dancing is a low-cost exercise and entertainment which began during the 1990s.
Over the years, running has become one of China's national activities. It is common to see many people jogging along urban streets and village trails. Running is an important activity that helps them exercise and contributes to charity programs.
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China is one of the fastest-growing economies globally. One of its areas of development is soccer, which is making strides and hoping to compete with other top nations across the globe. The country has built several soccer pitches to promote the sport at the grassroots.
The nation qualified for only one World Cup in 2002 but lost all three group matches without scoring. President Xi Jinping is also reportedly planning a bid to host the tournament by 2050.
What are three popular sports in China?
Table tennis, basketball, and badminton are China's top three most prominent sports disciplines. Many people in the country play the games and even compete at high international levels.
Many Chinese nationals play badminton at amateur and elite levels. It is a highly accessible sport that only requires a racket and shuttlecock. The Chinese government has also supported badminton players by providing them housing, meals and training.
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Lin Dan is the greatest player ever, having triumphed in all nine badminton tournaments. He won the Olympic Games, World Championships and World Cup. Lin Dan completed the Super Grand Slam at 28.
Basketball is a top sport in China, enjoyed by billions of people. One of the most famous Chinese basketball stars is Yao Ming. He is the most successful NBA player in the country. China also has solid men's and women's basketball national teams that compete in international tournaments.
1. Table tennis
Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is China's most prominent sport. Its popularity has increased since it became a national sport in the 1950s. Many people enjoy the game, from the young to the old generation. Several schools have installed ping pong tables for kids to learn the game and nurture their skills early.
Since the introduction of table tennis in the Olympics in 1988, Chinese athletes have won 32 out of the 37 gold medals awarded until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Which is the most popular sport in China? Table tennis remains the most practised game in the Asian country. Chinese ping pong athletes have succeeded through years of hard work, research, and extensive understanding of the sport by identifying and nurturing talents.
Sport Brief has featured many top athletes and their career achievements. One of the most fascinating ones is a breakdown of Lionel Messi's trophies. The Argentine striker has some of the best stats in soccer, which will blow your mind.
Messi, alongside his long-time rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, has dominated the media for over a decade because of their outstanding performances on the field. Leo is also the most-decorated player alongside his former teammate, Dani Alves. Follow the above link for more details about Messi's trophy-laden cabinet.