5 most popular sports in Taiwan

Since the late 1800’s, Taiwan has been referred to as Chinese Taipei due to regional and political issues. While the island may be in the shadows despite having a separate sovereign identity, its people have their distinctive preferences when it comes to sports.

Various forms of sports are popular throughout Taiwan, some of them more traditional, while some have been introduced from the west and embraced widely by the locals.

The majority of the world considers that traditional forms of sports are more prevalent in countries like Taiwan, where the cultural influence is so strong. So, when you think of sports in Taiwan or Chinese Taipei per se, you may think more along the lines of combat sports like martial arts, including t’ai chi ch’uan and taekwondo.

However, we are here to dispel these notions and talk about the most popular sports in Taiwan. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

Baseball In Taiwan

Baseball is immensely popular in Taiwan, and many consider it the national sport of Taiwan. It was first introduced in the country during Japanese rule. Over the years, the locals not only embraced the sport but focused on honing their skills, making Taiwan a strong contender in baseball.

The Taiwan national baseball team won the gold medal in 2006 at the Doha Asian Games. The team won the game against Japan, a strong competitor. Taiwan also has its own professional baseball league, the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL).

The primary competition held by the league is the Taiwan Series.

Taiwanese baseball players are household names and are revered in their communities. In addition to playing locally, Taiwanese players also play internationally. Many renowned players are playing baseball in the U.S. and Japan. For instance, Chien-Ming Wang plays for the New York Yankees, while Chien-Ming Chiang plays for the Japanese Yomiuri Giants.

Basketball In Taiwan

Basketball is another western game that has made its way into Taiwan and gained immense popularity. The country has its basketball league called the Super Basketball League. It was founded in 2003. However, if we compare it with other national basketball leagues, it is not very strong.

Jeremy Lin was the first Taiwanese basketball player to make it to the NBA and has become very popular in Taiwan and the USA. Other players like Sean Chen have tried but did not make it beyond tryouts for the NBA.

Football In Taiwan

Next on our list of most popular sports in Taiwan we have football. The sport may not be as popular as basketball and baseball, but it has a strong fan following and is enjoyed as a participatory and spectator sport by the masses.

The Chinese Taipei Football Association (CTFA) manages and runs football affairs in the country. It organises various domestic level competitions and manages the country’s men’s and women’s football teams. The national team has done well at the Asian level on various accounts.

The most prominent football league in the country is the Enterprise Football League.
This semi-professional league was previously known as the National First Division Football League.

The strongest teams in the league are Taiwan Power Company F.C. from Fongshan and Tatung F.C. from the capital city of Taipei, which represent the country in the AFC President’s Cup, a continental club tournament organised by the Asian Football Confederation.

Another prominent league is the Intercity Football League which was founded in 2007. Matches for the Intercity Football league are held in the latter half of the year, while Enterprise Football League is held in the first half.

Besides formal leagues, there are various amateur football clubs in the country, mostly run by expatriates but helping to promote the sport throughout the country. There are also high school leagues that take part in the National Youth Cup.

Tennis In Taiwan

Tennis has been popular in Taiwan for quite some time now. Many Taiwanese tennis players have performed well and gained recognition at international levels. Among the male players, Lu Yen-Hsun and Wang Yeu-Tzuoo are regarded as history makers, putting Taiwan on the world tennis map. Among the female players, the title goes to Wang Shi Ting, who was ranked world no. 26 in 1993.

Volleyball In Taiwan

The Chinese Taipei Volleyball Association manages the sport in the country and has been organising the Enterprise Volleyball league every year since 2004, which is a men’s amateur league. The national volleyball team currently ranks 30th on the FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball) World Rankings.

Besides the above mentioned sports, such as cycling, table tennis, marathons, and golf, are also quite popular in Taiwan and played throughout the country.

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