14 Countries With Official National Sports

Played On Horseback, Pato Is The National Game Of Argentina
Played On Horseback, Pato Is The National Game Of Argentina

Sport is an integral part of the life of citizens of every country on Earth. Every country plays some type of sports, and each country has at least one sport that is considered to be an intrinsic part of their culture and society. However, there are only 14 countries on Earth who have a national sport that is de jure, or established by law.

The Countries And Their National Sports

Argentina - Pato

Argentina's national sport of pato is a game played on horseback that combines elements of polo and basketball. In this game, two four-member teams riding on horse fight for possession on a ball and then score by throwing it through a vertically positioned ring. The earliest accounts of Pato go back to 1610, and the game has a turbulent and violent history. Instead of a ball, back then they used a live duck and it was not uncommon for people to be trampled and fights to break out. It was common for government ordinances to ban playing the game for much of the 18th century. During the 1930's Alberto del Castillo Posse drafted rules to organize the game and by 1953 the game had gained enough legitimacy to become the national sport.

Bahamas - Sloop Sailing

The Bahamas national sport is sloop sailing. It used a boat that has a single mast and a fore-and-aft rig that as only one headsail. Every year the Bahamas host regattas, which are a series of boat races. During these regattas sailors from all over the Bahamas, as well as internationals, come to show off their sailing prowess. Sloop sailing has been the national sport of the Bahamas since 1993.

Bangladesh - Kabaddi

Bangladesh's national sport of kabaddi is a contact sport that originated in ancient Indian. In the international version of the sport, two teams of seven players occupy opposite parts of a field. Each team sends a raider into the other team's half who must tag opposing members when his breath is held. Tagged players then must try and capture the raider before he returns to his side or hope he inhales before returning to his side. Kabaddi originated in different forms across the Indian subcontinent, but the modern standardized version of the sport did not take place until the early 1900s. In 1972 kabaddi became the national sport of Bangladesh.

Brazil - Capoeira

Brazil's national sport of capoeira is a martial art originating from Angola that combines elements of music, dance and acrobatics. The sport was developed in Brazil mainly be African slaves starting in the 16th century. After slavery end in Brazil in 1888 capoeiristas starting using their skills as bodyguards, hitman and groups would raid cities since they were despised by Brazilian society as former slaves. By 1890 capoeira was prohibited from being practiced. In 1932 Mestre Bimba founded the first capoeira school following the style luta regional baiana, since capoeira was still illegal. By 1940 capoeira was legalized in Brazil. In 1972 it was made the national sport of Brazil.

Canada - Lacrosse and Ice Hockey

Canada has a summer national sport in lacrosse and a winter national sport in ice hockey. In both games, the objective is to score by shooting the ball/puck into the opponent's goal past their goalie. On the defensive side, you must keep the other team from scoring and get possession of the ball/puck. Both lacrosse and ice hockey are known as very physical games, with lots of body contact. Lacrosse was developed by the indigenous people of North America as early as the 10th century, and it was well established by the 17th century. In 1855, William George Beers founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club and in 1867 codified the game. By the 20th century, there was lacrosse team across Canada at all levels. Ice hockey evolved from a simple stick and ball games played in the United Kingdom in the 18th century, but the contemporary version of the sport was developed in Canada. The first ice hockey game was played in 1875, with various amateur and professional leagues following it. Lacrosse and ice hockey were recognized as the national sport of Canada in 1994.

Chile - Chilean Rodeo

Chile's national sport is the Chilean rodeo. In this game, a team of two riders and their horses ride laps around an arena, with the goal of trying to stop a calf. Points are earned every time the calf is correctly driven around the corral of the arena. In its modern form Chilean horses are the only type allowed to be used, and riders must wear traditional garb. Chilean rodeo started in the 16th century during the rule of Spanish Governor GarcĂ­a Hurtado de Mendoza to help prevent cattle from getting lost by rounding them. For the commemoration of Saint Jacob, though this was later changed commemorate Saint Mark. Towards the end of the 17th century and onwards the sport began to get more regulated and popular. By 1961 the sport was regulated by the Federation of Chilean Rodeo and the next year in 1962 it became the official national sport of Chile.

Colombia - Tejo

Colombia's national sport is Tejo. It consists of throwing a metal disc across an alley at a distance of about 65 feet (20 meters), while trying to hit a metal pipe on a 3 foot by 3 foot (1 metre by 1 metre) board held up by a wooden frame and covered with clay set at a 45 degree angle. There is no widely agreed upon theory for the origins of tejo, but it is widely accepted that the sport had origins with the native aboriginals in central Colombia. Modern tejo competitions a found in towns of all sizes, with highly organized tournaments and corporate sponsors, usually beer companies. Tejo became the official national sport of Colombia in 2000.

Iran - Polo, Wrestling and Varzesh-e Bastani

Iran has three national sports polo, wrestling, and varzesh-e bastani. Polo is a team sport played on horseback where the objective is to score by driving a ball into the opposing team's goal with a long mallet. Polo most likely originated in Iran, though the date of its invention is guessed at being anywhere from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Wrestling is a combat sport between two participants that involves many grappling techniques and is one of the oldest sports and forms of combat. Wrestling has a long tradition, and history in Iran and they are considered among the elite nations in this sports. Varzesh-e bastani is a traditional Iranian system of athletics that was originally used to train soldiers. It combines elements of music, martial arts, calisthenics, strength training and more. It combines elements of pre-Islamic Persian culture, Shia Islam, and Sufism. Polo, wrestling and varzesh-e bastani were all recognized as the national sports of Iran in 1976.

Mexico - Charreria

Mexico's national sport in charreria. Charreria is a competitive event similar to rodeo and developed from animal husbandry practices on the haciendas in Mexico. The participants must wear traditional charro clothing and a saddle with a wider horn. A charreria is held within a marked-off area of the arena the event take place in called a lienzo charro. The charreria consists of nine scoring events that happen in a particular order for men, and there is a precision equestrian event called escaramuza for women that is the tenth event in a charreria. The competitors are judged on style and execution, and teams compete in state, regional and national events. There is no prize money awards to winners since it is considered an amateur sport and is illegal under Mexican law. Charreria evolved from traditions brought from Spain and were originally competitions between haciendas (estates). The modern version of the sport developed after the Mexican Revolution to try and keep charro traditions from disappearing. Charreria became the national sport of Mexico in 1933.

Nepal - Dandi Biyo

Nepal's national sport in dandi biyo. In dandi biyo a wooden pin is laid across a four-inch hole in the ground. Then one player puts one end of a stick into the hole and then holds the other end of the stick. The players then jerk the stick against the pin to launch it into the air while fielders try to catch the pin. If the pin if caught the turn is over and if it hits the ground, then the player plays to try and score. Dandi Biyo is a game mostly played in rural Nepal and was at its height in popularity in the later 20th century among kids before the introduction of modern technology. Dandi Biyo became the national sport of Nepal in 1973.

Philippines - Arnis

The Philippines national sport is arnis. Arnis is a martial art that emphasizes weapon-based fighting with sticks, bladed weapons or other weapons. The are two main types of arnis and the one practiced in the Philippines is the Arnis Philippines (ARPI) system, which was established in 1986. The ARPI system uses form-padded sticks and for protection, there is headgear, which is required, and other optional armor. Scoring is observed by multiple judges that determine if hits are clean, the strength of the hits, the loudness, and more. A fighter can also score by disarming their opponent or forcing them out of the ring. The origins of arnis can be traced back to Prehispanic Filipino tribes and kingdoms. Throughout the years it has been influenced by Spanish fencing and Chinese, Indian and Arab martial arts. Arnis has played a key role throughout the Philippines history, and it is wars. Arnis was declared the national sport of the Philippines in 2009.

Puerto Rico - Paso Fino

Puerto Rico's national sport is Paso fino. Paso fino horses descended from a mix of Spanish horses and time adapting to the topography of Puerto Rico. It is thought that the first paso fino races took place in the 1790's and continued throughout the 19th century, despite being banned by Governor Juan de la Pezula in the late 1840's. The sport continued in secret but was eventually made legal again, though by the 1930's it had diminished. In 1943 the currently named Puerto Rico Paso Fino Horse Sporting Federation was founded to organize and spread awareness of the sport. In 1966 paso fino was declared the national sport of Puerto Rico.

Sri Lanka - Volleyball

Sri Lanka's national sport is volleyball. In volleyball, two teams of six players compete by hitting a ball back and forth over a net. The goal to score is to hit the ball over the net so that the other team does not hit it and it touches the ground. The origins of volleyball date back to Massachusetts in 1895 and from there were later refined into its more modern day form and spread to other countries around the world. Volleyball was introduced to Sri Lanka in 1916 by the director of the Colombo Y.M.C.A. Robert W. Carmack. The Sri Lanka Volleyball Federation, which is the main governing body of the sport, was founded in 1951. In 1991 volleyball was made the national sport of Sri Lanka.

Uruguay - Destrezas Criollas

Uruguay's national sport is destrezas criollas. In place of Easter celebrations, Uruguayans have Creole Week in which they remember and celebrate the gauchos. Men wear traditional gaucho clothing and take part in destrezas criollas (creole skills) which include various contests like bull riding, trick riding and breaking horses. There are prizes up for grabs for winners of each contest. Destrezas criollas celebrates Uruguay's cultural past and was made the national sport of Uruguay in 2006.

The Importance Of Sports

Sports is an important part of every country, society, and culture on Earth. Some sports like baseball, basketball and soccer are international sports, while other sports are specific to a certain region or culture. No matter the size, scope, rules or style of a sport they all have a common element of bringing people together to be entertain and for a while forget about the stresses of life.

14 Countries With Official National Sports

CountryNational Sport(s)
BahamasSloop Sailing
CanadaLacrosse and Ice Hockey
ChileChilean Rodeo
IranVarzesh e-Bastani, Wrestling, and Polo
NepalDandi Biyo
Puerto Rico
Paso Fino Horse Racing
Sri LankaVolleyball
UruguayDestrezas Criollas


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