Sport is one of the most significant businesses in China. Most Chinese people have a keen interest in sports and like to watch or take part in one form of sport or the other. From contemporary games like table tennis and badminton to more traditional forms of sports like martial arts, numerous kinds of sports are popular throughout the country.
However, when it comes to popularity, some are more popular than others. That being said, here is a brief description of the five most popular sports in China.
Table Tennis In China
Table tennis is perhaps the most prominent sport in the country. It was declared a national sport in 1950 by the then-ruler Mao Zedong. Over the years, table tennis has become one of the most popular sports in the country, and the local players have become one of the strongest in the world.
The great thing about table tennis is that it does not require a lot of space to be played, and it is one of the reasons why it is so commonly played in a populous country like China. The equipment for the game is also easily available, so people of all ages like to play. Whether you are young or old, affluent or poor, man or woman, table tennis is for everyone in China. It is the inclusivity of the sport that has made it so popular in China.
Basketball In China
The next sport on our list is baseball, which many consider to be even more popular than table tennis. Over the years, it has become so popular that it has inherently become a part of the culture.
China enjoys a prominent place in the NBA. It has also hosted ten NBA games, which are usually conducted to promote basketball in regions other than North America. With the addition of Yao Ming, a famous Chinese basketball player, to the NBA hall of fame, the popularity of the sport has exploded in the country, prompting youngsters to take more interest in the sport.
Besides participating in the NBA, the Chinese basketball teams also compete in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association). The CBA was established in 1995. Currently, it comprises 19 teams.
Football In China
According to popular belief, football originated in ancient China around 5,000 years ago. However, formally, football (or soccer) was introduced in China in the early 20th century, and since then, it has become one of the most popular sports in the country.
The formal governing body in the country is the Chinese Football Association, which currently comprises 16 teams.
China has its own league, the Chinese Super League, which was launched in 2004 and is the highest level of a soccer tournament in the country. The Chinese Super League ranks 12th among the domestic leagues around the world and is the sixth largest league among the world soccer leagues.
In addition to the local tournaments, the Chinese also love to follow the most popular leagues around the world, like the English Premier League, which is also covered by local TV stations.
Badminton In China
Like football, it is also widely believed that badminton is a derivative of the local Chinese game jinazi, in which players use their feet to toss the shuttle instead of rackets. That being said, badminton is a very popular sport or pastime in China and is also considered the national sport of China.
Like table tennis, it is a low-maintenance game and is commonly played by the masses. People just use their rackets to toss the shuttle and do not always rely on a net to play. For them, it is a good way to pass the time and have fun with friends and peers.
At the national level, the government has taken considerable steps to improve the quality of the sport and facilitates the players in every possible way to ensure their performance is not impacted. The Chinese badminton champion Lin Dan is highly revered in the country. He won nine major competitions, including the World Cup, Championship, and Olympics.
Athletics In China
It is not uncommon to see Chinese running in the streets and along the roads as a form of exercise. Besides running, athletics as a whole has become one of the most popular activities in China. Chinese athletes are some of the strongest performers at the Olympics.
The country is home to the bird’s nest National Stadium, which also hosted the Olympic Games in 2008. China has scored around 385 medals in Summer Olympics and a further 44 in the winter edition.