5 most popular sports in Peru

South Americans are highly passionate about sports, and Peru is no exception. The country’s residents either play a sport or participate as ardent spectators and follow their favourites passionately. Although Peruvians like to watch and play a wide range of sports, we have compiled a list of five of the most popular sports in Peru in this article. So without any further ado, let’s get started.

Football in Peru

Like its South American counterparts, football is the most popular sport in Peru. The country has produced some of the best football players in history. Peruvians are crazy about football, and almost everyone in the country loves to watch or play football.

Football was first introduced to Peru by British immigrants in the latter part of the nineteenth century, and it was not long before the sport became popular throughout the country. The sport is very strong in Peru and is governed by the Peruvian Football Federation.

The Peruvian national football team is in 21st place in the FIFA rankings. The team has been playing internationally since 1927 and has played five times in the FIFA World Cup, the latest being in 2018.  The team reached the quarterfinals twice, in 1970 and 1978. Besides the World Cup, the national team has participated successfully and won multiple awards in various regional championships, including the Copa America, Pan-American Championship, Bolivarian Games, and CONCACAF Gold Cup.

At the domestic level, Peru has many football clubs that have thousands of members and a huge fan following. Some renowned and successful clubs include Alianza Lima, Sporting Cristal, and Universitario. These clubs are part of Liga 1, the top football division in the country.

Basketball in Peru

The next popular sport on our list for Peru is basketball. However, although the sport is popular, it does not even come close to football. Basketball’s popularity has declined over the years. There was a time, particularly in the 1970s, when Peru had one of the strongest teams in the region.

However, that was the glorious part, and now basketball victories are rare. The last time the Peruvian basketball team achieved notable success was when the team won a bronze medal at the American Basketball Championship in 1973.

Another reason why Peru is not a prominent basketball player internationally is the Peruvian Basketball Federation is not recognised by the International Basketball Federation. This prevents Peru from having a professional basketball league. However, Peruvians are huge basketball fans and closely follow NBA and other prominent league events worldwide.

Volleyball in Peru

Next, we have volleyball. The status of volleyball in Peru is not much different from that of basketball. Back in the 1980s, the national volleyball team was one of the best in the region. However, unlike basketball, it was the women’s national volleyball team that proved to be a strong contender internationally, winning a silver medal at the Olympics in Seoul in 1988.

Volleyball was first introduced in Peru in 1911 when the then government hired educationists from America who brought educational reforms and introduced the sport to the locals. Presently, volleyball remains a popular sport among the locals, particularly the youth, but the country is not a prominent volleyball player internationally.

Tennis in Peru

Tennis is also a very popular sport in Peru, and tennis competitions in the country are organised by the Peruvian Tennis Federation. Peru has also produced some talented tennis players over the years. Currently, the best tennis player in the country is Juan Pablo Varillas, who was placed at number 97 in the ATP rankings. It is the first time in 13 years that a Peruvian tennis player has reached the top 100.

Other prominent players who played formerly included Alejandro Olmedo, the Peru-born player who played for America. The tennis hall of fame player won the Wimbledon and Davis Cup. The most prominent female Peruvian tennis player is Laura Arraya, and her brother Pablo Arraya is also a former tennis player.

The Peruvian Davis Cup team competes in Zone Group II for the Americas. The team qualified for the World Group in 2008 and twice before that but could not advance further. Presently, Peru’s Terrazas de Miraflores Club hosts the Lima Challenger, which is part of the ATP Challenger Tour.

Cycling in Peru

The last sporting activity on our list is cycling. Peru’s hilly and mountainous landscape is ideal for mountain biking and attracts locals and tourists from all over the world. The Peruvian National Cycling Sports Federation governs the sport in the country. The federation organises competitions like track, road, MTB, BMX, and e-cycling.

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