Sport is one of the most critical elements of Australian culture. The majority of the residents are quite active and like to indulge in various forms of sports.
Melbourne is widely known as one of the world’s sporting capitals and has been home to numerous national and international events. Meanwhile, Sydney is not behind either and has hosted the Olympics twice, the latest being the Summer Olympics of 2020.
The Australians have been excelling at various sports and proving their mettle at different international forums. Their international cricket team has displayed remarkable performance in numerous international tournaments, while the country’s performance in other sports is also nothing short of excellent.
Are you curious about which sports are the most popular in Australia? Continue reading as we list down five of the most popular sports in Australia.
Aussie Rules football
Aussie Rules football is the most popular spectator sport in the country. However, other sports like cricket or rugby would take the lead if we consider participatory sports.
Australian football is somewhat similar to American football but differs in some aspects too. It is a contact game played between two teams of 18 players. Players cannot throw the ball but can move it by kicking, handballing, or running along with it. Players are also allowed to use their bodies to block the players from the opponent team, but they can only tackle with their hands.
Australian football has a long history. The Melbourne Football Club introduced the rulebook for the sport in 1859 after some matches were played in Melbourne. Currently, the Australian Football League is the richest enterprise in the country.
Cricket in Australia
If we were to consider the most played sport in the country, it would be hard to pick between rugby and Australia’s national sport, cricket.
Cricket was introduced to the country in colonial times. The first time Australians took part in an international event was in 1868 when a team of 12 aboriginal Australian cricketers from the western region sailed to England.
Today, cricket tournaments are the most awaited events in the country, while the players hold celebrity status. Australia has a huge number of cricket players, while many youngsters are undergoing professional training to be ready to take part in international events.
The Australian cricket team has displayed remarkable performance throughout the years. It has won more than 60% of the ODI matches. Moreover, it has also won the World Cup 5 times.
Rugby Union in Australia
Rugby Union is also highly popular in Australia. It is different from Rugby league, but many people seem to refer to the two interchangeably. It was founded in 1863 at Sydney University, making Australia the oldest country where rugby union is played.
A standard game has 15 players on each side. An oval-shaped ball is used while the field, also called the pitch, is rectangular. There are H-shaped goalposts at both ends of the field.
Currently, Australia has nine rugby union teams; two teams are from New South Wales, one is from the Australian Capital Territory, and two are from Queensland, among others.
Australia has around 848 Rugby Union clubs. More than 82,000 individuals participate in the sport, of which around 38,000 are adults, while the rest are youngsters.
Horse racing in Australia
Australia is at the forefront of the world horse racing industry. It is home to some of the most renowned horse racing tracks and hosts some of the most prestigious races in the world. The equestrian sport has significantly contributed to the growth of the billion-dollar betting industry in the country. It is also one of the main reasons why horse racing is so widely popular in the country.
Australian horses have performed remarkably in international events, while its jockeys are known the world over. Interestingly, horse racing in Australia is no longer viewed as a sport for adults only. Youngsters are equally taking interest and becoming more engaged with the sport.
Tennis in Australia
Another sport that has flourished greatly in recent years is tennis. Australia has dominated the grand slams and established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of tennis. However, tennis is not new to the country and has been played since the early 20th century.
The first tennis game was played in Australia in 1904, and since then, it has grown in terms of popularity and scale. Australia not only has some of the best tennis players but is also home to the top tennis clubs.
There has been a huge focus on improving the infrastructure and facilities, and today Australia has hundreds of venues and thousands of tennis courts, higher than most countries in the world.