What are Singapore's main sports 1

Popular sports in Asia

Overview of popular sports in Asia

Of course, Asians are also active in sports and the multitude of sports in Asia is about as diverse as the continent. Many of the sports have a traditional-cultural background, above all the numerous martial arts.

Strictly speaking, however, these are not pure sports, but are closely related to culture, upbringing and an attitude towards life.

In addition, the sporting interest in Asia is also shaped by western influences in general and the colonial times in particular.

Many countries that were once European colonies have retained the sports that the colonial rulers brought into the country. This explains why sports such as cricket, polo and rugby are very popular in Asia.

Not to be forgotten is football, which is also one of the very popular sports in Asia. There are also some very popular sports in Asia that are less known in our latitudes.


Here is a brief overview:



• Sepak Takraw

Sepak Takraw is a ball sport that is widespread and extremely popular in Asia. Translated, the name means something like “kick the rattan”, which is due to the fact that the sport is played with a woven rattan ball that weighs around 180 grams and has a diameter of 12 centimeters.

Overall, this ball sport is a very fast sport with a lot of dynamism, acrobatic inserts and a ball that can reach speeds of over 120 kilometers per hour. With the exception of the hands, the ball may be played with all parts of the body, for example the feet, knees, shoulders or head.

Many players wear a scarf as head protection, but usually the ball is moved over the net with their feet. If a player touches the ball with his hands or if the ball falls on the ground, this is considered to be out. The sport is called differently depending on the Asian country.

In Thailand, for example, the short form Takraw is mostly used, in Laos Kator, in Malaysia Sepak Raga and in Indonesia Rago. In Burma the ball game is called Ching loong, in the Philippines Sipa and in Singapore Sepak Raga or Sepraga.


• Kabaddi

Kabaddi is a team sport, the name of which is derived from a Hindi word that means "to hold your breath". In the game two teams play against each other, each with seven players with five reserve players.

The playing field consists of two halves and the goal is to knock off or capture opponents. To do this, a team sends a raider into the opposing half of the field. While the raider is on the opposing side, he has to hold his breath and say "kabaddi" continuously.

If the raider returns to his half without taking a breath, his team receives points corresponding to the number of players who were knocked off or removed. If he had to take a second breath, the opposing team receives points.


• Buzkashi

Buzkashi is a traditional equestrian game in Central Asia, which, depending on the country, is also called Kok-boru or Oglak Tartis. At the beginning of the game, a dead goat or a dead calf is placed on the playing field, usually a large piece of open steppe.

The object of the game is to place the dead animal in front of the judges. First the riders try to pick up the dead animal at a gallop and then try to prevent the person holding the animal from reaching the judges.

Everyone plays against everyone and since in principle everything is allowed, the riders often protect themselves with thick protective clothing and head protection, which, however, are not mandatory.

The winner is held in high regard and usually receives a special prize, for example a valuable horse.


Here is a video documentation on Kabaddi:

More tips, guides and advice on Asia:


Topic: Overview of popular sports in Asia


Owner at Artdefects Media Verlag
Manfred Laue, born 1964, traveling businessman in Asia, and Hong Cian Shok, born in 1988, backpacker living in Germany, who spends several weeks in Asia every year, and Christian Gülcan, the operator and editor of this website, write here. We want to convey interesting facts about travel destinations, cultures and economics.