Top Ten Most Popular Sports in Pakistan
Pakistan has a rich sporting history. Over the years’ different sports in Pakistan have seen their golden days and some sports have had a decline in their popularity due to different reasons. Trends might have changed but one thing remains unchanged and that is the love of Pakistani nation for sports. Following is a list of top ten most popular sports in Pakistan
Volleyball continues to be a popular sport in Pakistan. The sport is quite famous in the rural areas of Pakistan. Many local events of volleyball are held in major cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad and also in rural areas, throughout the year. Such events have good crowds and a passionate atmosphere.
Boxing has been gaining popularity in Pakistan. Compared to other sports, Pakistani boxers have performed reasonably well in the international events. There are boxing clubs in major cities of Pakistan. Karachi has produced some of the best Pakistani boxers over the year. One of the major reasons for recent popularity of boxing in Pakistan is perhaps Amir Khan. Though the British boxer of Pakistani origin does not represent Pakistan officially, he has a huge fan following in Pakistan and his continuous visits to Pakistan have helped the cause too.
Tennis is definitely one of the most watched sports among the urban class of Pakistan. With international stars like Federer, Nadal and Djokovic having hundreds of thousands of fans in Pakistan, the sport is quite popular. However, if we look at the number of players, then Pakistan will have very few professional or even amateur players of tennis. The main reason for this is lack of infrastructure, organization and events.
The decline of hockey continues. Hockey is the sport which has given Pakistan 3 Olympics gold medals and 4 world cups. Several factors are contributing to the decreasing popularity of the sport which was once the most popular sport in Pakistan. The poor performance of the hockey federation and as a result hockey team over the last few years is one factor. Lack of proper infrastructure, lack of stardom and international appeal are also contributing to the decline of Hockey. Unless something extraordinary happens, the trend is likely to continue.
Since, 15 years or so, squash has been known for its past glory and the world championships which players like the Great Jahangir Khan and Janshair Khan won in 90s. With Pakistani players failing to make a strong impact internationally, squash continues to struggle for its place among the sports fans of Pakistan. The limited number of squash courts in the country and membership fee of existing courts being out of the reach of common man, there’s a lot that needs to be done.
Badminton is popular in Pakistan as it is a sport which has a low cost and can be played anywhere requiring just two players. The sport has been played in schools, colleges and universities of Pakistan since quite some time. This is perhaps the only sport in Pakistan which is played more by the females than males. It is quite common in girls and women of Pakistan. The sport is not watched as much as it is played and lacks professionalism as well. The large number of amateur players and hobbyists have earned it the 5th place on our list of most popular sports in Pakistan.
4- Table Tennis:
Neither table tennis has ever been a sport in which Pakistan performed well internationally, nor a lot of people watch it with keen interest. Yet this sport is popular in Pakistan. One of the reasons can be the small area that is required for the sport and also the relatively low costs involved. It is played in almost every school, college and university. There are many table tennis clubs in the country as well. But like many other sports there is no proper structure for the sport. The table tennis federation is not strong enough and does not have enough funds to take the sport to the international level in Pakistan.
Snooker has been popular in Pakistan since quite some time. In hundreds of snooker clubs throughout the country, thousands of young players play snooker with passion. There are hardly any training or development programs for snooker players. Most of the players start as a hobby. The raw talent of snooker can be found in small snooker clubs spread across the country, and sometimes talent like Muhammad Asif (Winner of ISBF World Snooker Championship) shines internationally and makes the nation proud.
The most popular sport of the world is still not the most popular sport in Pakistan in 2016, but things are changing quickly. In almost all the urban centers of Pakistan, football has gained huge popularity over the last few years. It has become the dominant sport in many schools, colleges and universities. Over the years Pakistan football federation has continuously failed this beautiful game in Pakistan, but the international appeal and stardom of the game is so huge that football is still growing in Pakistan. There are hundreds of thousands of fans of European football clubs like Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayren Munich. Football is the 2nd most watched and played sport in Pakistan in 2016.
Cricket remains the undisputed champion in terms of popularity in Pakistan in 2016, despite the fact that Pakistani soil has not seen much international cricket action. One can argue that the craze for cricket is not the same as it was in 90s or 2,000s (the decade) but this might just be artificial or seasonal. Whenever the cricket world cup or any other event arrives, the whole nation catches the cricket fever. The passions run high with screening of matches in different public places. There are Hundreds if not thousands of cricket clubs in different parts of the country and many local tournaments are held in every city throughout the year. Kids still play tape ball cricket in the streets and try to copy the style of super stars like Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz and Misbah ul Haq.