News in Asia: Sports Edition

In honor of the biggest sporting event in the U.S. having taken place this weekend, this week’s edition is looking at the most popular sports in several countries. We’ll start in the place I lived for two years.

South Korea

You could argue that the most popular sport is Starcraft, but for everyone else, the top sports are as follows:

  1. Football (Soccer to the Americans)
  2. Baseball
  3. Badminton
  4. Taekwondo
  5. Table Tennis

Fun personal story, the teachers at the high school I taught at tried to recruit me hard for the school’s badminton team.


The most popular sport originating from Thailand is probably Muay Thai. Takraw is also very popular and is sometimes referred to as kick volleyball. Other sports that are popular in Thailand are:

  1. Golf
  2. Football
  3. Scuba diving
  4. Rugby
  5. Wrestling


Remember Afghanistan 2015? When Afghanistan’s national cricket team qualified for the World Cup? Since cricket is the most popular sport in Afghanistan, this was a pretty big deal.

  1. Cricket
  2. Football
  3. Basketball (The national team won gold in the 2010 Asia Games.)
  4. Kite-flying
  5. Buzkashi

Buzkashi literally means goat-grabbing. It’s played on horseback where two teams try to drag a goat carcass across a goal. Kite-flying came to global attention with the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.


China has recently been dominating in the international sports arena in recent years, especially when it comes to the Olympics where the Chinese teams have done well in gymnastics, figure skating and various other sports.

  1. Table tennis
  2. Basketball
  3. Badminton
  4. Football
  5. Golf


Like in Thailand, Takraw is very popular in Malaysia. Other sports that are popular are:

  1. Badminton
  2. Bowling
  3. Football
  4. Squash
  5. Field hockey

Malaysia’s Women’s Squash team won the gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games


The sport where Indonesians are the most dominant is badminton. Indonesia has won a gold medal in the sport every year since it became an official Olympic sport in 1992.

  1. Football
  2. Basketball
  3. Cycling
  4. Boxing
  5. Pencak Silat

Pencak Silat is the umbrella term for the martial arts in Indonesia.

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Florida girl, would-be world traveler and semi-permanent expat. Her main strategy of life is to throw out the nets and hope something useful comes back, but many times it's just an old shoe. She also really, really hates winter and people who are consistently late.

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