5 most popular sports in Poland

In recent years, Poland has experienced a major rise in participation in sports. Compared to its more traditional counterparts in the region, the country has experienced growth in a wide range of sports. 

Poland’s diverse landscapes and climate have paved the way for the growth of many adventurous sports like mountain biking, hiking, and other winter sports like skiing, etc. While its beaches and waters are ideal for canoeing, finishing, and kayaking. However, besides these sports, multiple team-based sports are also quite popular in the country, including football, volleyball, handball, basketball, American football, etc.

With so many disciplines being played and followed extensively in the country, it isn’t easy to pick the favourites. However, for the purpose of this article, we have highlighted five of the most popular sports.

Football In Poland

Like most of the world, football takes precedence over other sports in Poland. It is not only the most popular sport in the country but also its national sport. Football has been played in Poland since the early 19th century, as the first formal match was played in the country in 1921. 

The Polish national football team currently ranks 26th in FIFA. The team won the Olympic Football tournament in 1972 and was runner-up in 1976 and 1992. To date, Poland has played in eight FIFA world cups and is set to play its ninth tournament in 2022. It finished in third place in the 1974 and 1982 World Cup tournaments. The Polish junior football team has also achieved success internationally, finishing third in the FIFA U-20 final in 1983 and fourth in the 1979 and 1993 tournaments.

Poland also has many well-developed football facilities and hosted its first international event in 2012, the UEFA Euro Cup. It also hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019. 

Football is not only a popular spectator sport in Poland but is also played on a large scale. Currently, the country has 400,000 registered players, while millions of people play it for recreational purposes.

Ski Jumping In Poland

The next popular sport on our list is ski jumping. Most formal winter sports are popular from a viewer’s perspective, as people like to see skiers in action. It is why Poland does not have many professional ski jumpers. However, the country’s residents may be found glued to the TV screens when an international skiing event is being held. In fact, the sport is so popular that the number of spectators for skiing is at par with football events. Polish professional skiers may be few in number, but they have established a reputation internationally. The most popular ski jumper in Poland to date is Adam Malysz. He won three silver medals and one bronze medal in the Olympics. 

Volleyball In Poland

Volleyball is very popular in Poland, and the country is also very successful in the sport. The Polish men’s volleyball team is ranked first in the world, while its women’s team is ranked 12th according to the FIVB rankings. The men’s and women’s teams have achieved considerable success in various international volleyball tournaments, including the Olympics. 

Poland won the World League in 2012 after beating the US. The topmost league in the country is Plus Liga, a professional men’s volleyball league. The women’s highest league is known as the Tauron Liga.

Poland also hosted the World Championship in 2014 and won the tournament. It also hosted the European Championship with Denmark in 2013. It also won the FIVB Men’s World Championship in 2018 against Brazil. The men’s team has achieved fourteen medals in various international competitions. 

Handball In Poland

Handball is a very popular team sport in Poland. The country’s top handball league is the Superliga. The most successful team in the league is Łomża Vive Kielce, which is the league’s reigning champion and has won 18 titles. The league was formed in 1996 and currently has 14 teams. 

Poland’s men’s national handball team has been participating internationally since 1958. Its most notable achievement in the world championship was second place in 2007. The team has also participated in the European championship since 2002, and its most notable achievement in the European championship was fourth place in 2010.

Motorcycle Speedway In Poland

The last sport on our list is motorcycle speedway. Skilled drivers ride their motorbikes with only a single gear and do not apply brakes inside the oval track of the arena in four laps taken counter-clockwise. The top division of the motorcycle speedway in Poland is the Polish Extraleague, which receives the highest attendance of spectators than any other sporting event in the country.

The Polish speedway team is one of the most prominent teams internationally but has won the Speedway World Team Cup three times in 2009, 2010, and 2011, a feat unmatched in the history of international speedway racing. 

FAQs

What is the national sport of Poland?

The national sport of Poland is football. Football is the most popular sport in Poland, and it has been played in the country since the late 19th century. The Polish national football team has competed in several international tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship. Other popular sports in Poland include volleyball, basketball, handball, speedway, ski jumping, and athletics.

Why is football so popular in Poland?

Football is so popular in Poland for several reasons. One reason is that football has a long history in the country, dating back to the late 19th century when the sport was first introduced to Poland. Over the years, football has become deeply ingrained in Polish culture and has become a source of national pride.

Another reason for football’s popularity in Poland is the success of the Polish national football team and the country’s top football clubs. Despite facing challenges and setbacks, the Polish national team has achieved some notable successes in international competitions, including reaching the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup in 1974 and 1982. The top Polish football clubs, such as Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznan, have also had success in domestic and international competitions, further fueling the popularity of football in Poland.

Football is also a sport that is accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, and it can be played in a variety of settings, from organised leagues to informal pick-up games. This accessibility has helped to make football a beloved pastime for millions of people in Poland.

Were any sports invented in Poland?

Yes, some sports were invented in Poland. One example is the game of ringo (pierścieniówka), which was invented in the 1930s by a Polish physical education teacher named Marian Wesołowski. Ringo is a team sport that combines elements of basketball and volleyball, and it involves throwing a ball through three rings suspended from a net.

Another sport that has strong roots in Poland is speedway (żużel), which is a form of motorcycle racing that originated in the country in the 1920s. Speedway races take place on oval tracks, and riders compete to complete a set number of laps in the shortest amount of time.

Additionally, while not strictly a sport, the oldest known non-returning boomerang was found in Poland and dates back to around 20,000 years ago. While the purpose of the boomerang is not entirely clear, it is believed to have been used for hunting and possibly as a test of skill.

Overall, while not as well-known as some other sports invented in other countries, Poland has contributed to the development of several unique and interesting sports.


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