5 most popular sports in Romania

Physical fitness is a priority for the majority of Romanians, who like to do activities like running, cycling and swimming on a regular basis. Besides these activities, people like to play , watch, and follow a wide variety of sports and may also be found enjoying their favourite games with friends, family, and colleagues.

Besides modern sports like football and basketball, the locals enjoy a few traditional sports as well, including Oina, Romania’s national sport and a baseball variant that has been around since the 1780s. 

Wondering which sports the Romanians like to play and watch? Look no further, as this article provides a brief rundown on five of the most popular sports. 

Football In Romania

For most of Europe, football is such a well-loved sport that it seems almost like a cultural practice. Romanians, too, love football more than any other sport. Around 2-3 years ago, the locals preferred running to playing football. However, now the sport is the most popular as a participatory and spectator sport.

Romania may not be popular in world football, but a few Romanian players have made a name for themselves. One of the most prominent players is Gheorghe Hagi, who played for high-profile clubs like Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. 

The Romanian team was one of the first four European teams that participated in FIFA’s first season in 1930. The team has to date, participated in seven FIFA World Cups. The team last appeared in the world championship in 1998 and currently ranks 53rd in the world. In 1994, the team reached the quarter-finals.

Club football is also quite popular in Romania. The Romanian club Steau Bucuresti was the first club from Eastern Europe to win the Europe Champions Cup in 1986. The club was also the runners-up in the 1989 Championship, where it lost to AC Milan.

Handball In Romania

The second most popular sport in Romania is handball. The Romanian men’s national handball team is the most successful in the country. It won the IHF World Cup an unprecedented four times in 1961, 1964, 1970 and 1974. The record was levelled by Sweden and France in 1999 and 2011, respectively.

Romanian women are quite impressive handball players. The women’s national team won the Handball Cup in 1962. Women’s handball clubs, including the CSM Bucuresti, Dinamo and Steaua, have won numerous European titles in the past.

Romanian female player Cristina Neagu is the only player to have won the title of the IHF Player of the Year Award four times. Another prominent player is Luminita Dinu, who is regarded as a handball legend in the country.

Basketball In Romania

Basketball is the third most popular sport in Romania. Although Romania has not made a major impact internationally in the field, basketball’s popularity is on the rise in the country as the younger generation prefers playing it over other sports. 

The first Romanian player who joined the NBA was Georghe Muresan, the tallest man in the league at his time. Romania also hosted the FIBA EuroBasket in 2017 and the Women’s Basketball World Cup in 2020. 

Romania has various basketball leagues, with the Liga Națională Baschet de Masculin as the top league in the country. The league has three divisions and 24 teams. The current champion of the league is the U Cluj-Napoca, while Dinamo București is the most successful club in league with 22 titles. 

Volleyball In Romania

The next sport on our list is volleyball. Like basketball, volleyball is also more popular among the younger generation in the country. However, in the past, the men’s and women’s volleyball teams have been very successful and have won numerous medals at international contests, particularly during the mid 190ss. 

The Romanian men’s national volleyball team won a bronze medal at the Olympics in 1980. In 2010, the men’s team reached the final four of the European Volleyball League and again in 2011. Romania also hosted the CEV Women’s Champions League in 2017-18.

Club Volleyball is also very popular in Romania. The most popular clubs, including CSM Bucuresti, Rapid and Dinamo Bucuresti, have won numerous European titles. 

Gymnastics In Romania

The last sport on our list is gymnastics, the most popular individual sport in the country currently. Romanian gymnasts are very skilled and famous worldwide, and the sport has been around for a long time. 

One of the greatest Romanian gymnasts is Nadia Comaneci, who put Romania at the forefront of world gymnastics. She was the first gymnast who scored a perfect 10 during the Summer Olympics in 1976. The gymnast won three gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal at the tender age of 14 and earned several others later in her career. She is also the only athlete awarded the Olympic Order twice, in 1984 and 2000.

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