Top 10 Famous Sports in Pakistan, You Need to Know

The founder of Pakistan Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a great love for sports, this is the reason after Pakistan’s independence Government encouraged athletes and sports to grow fast in the country.

But unfortunately in the 1970s, Pakistan lagged because of insufficient funding for sports. The Government stopped funding athletics at that time, which caused Pakistan to lag behind other countries.

However, things have changed since the late 1990s. The government started funding sports and trying to improve Pakistani athletics as well as sending athletes foreign to compete in international competitions.

The top ten sports in Pakistan are listed here.

1. Cricket 

sports in pakistan

Cricket is the first sport that comes to mind when you talk about sports in Pakistan due to its huge popularity. People in Pakistan start playing cricket at a young age.

Currently, the craze for this game is not the same as it was in the 1990s or 2,000 because of the 2009 incident on the Srilankan team. 

Since the incident, no foreign cricket team visited Pakistan until 2015 when Zimbabwe toured Pakistan for an away series. 

Pakistan has tried its best to bring back cricket to the country. Fortunately, many teams have toured Pakistan since 2015. Include Zimbabwe, West Indies, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and an ICC World XI team.

Pakistan also has a women’s cricket team, both men’s and women’s teams are governed by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) organises the  Pakistan Super League (PSL) and Kashmir Premier League (KPL) both events are professional Twenty20 cricket leagues.

Pakistan Super League (PSL) was founded on 9 September 2015 by Pakistan Cricket Board. The league is organised every year with six teams representing six cities of Pakistan competing in the league. The good thing is that Pakistan hosted all of the 2020 Pakistan Super League matches.

2. Hockey

sports in pakistan

Hockey is the national sport of Pakistan, even though it is not as popular as cricket. Just like cricket, hockey was also brought to the Indian subcontinent by the British.

Pakistan has a hockey governing body known as the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). Additionally, Pakistan has a women’s national hockey team that competes for Pakistan in international hockey tournaments.

Check our detailed blog on Hockey in Pakistan

Pakistan hockey team participates in all major international hockey events. Pakistan’s hockey team won 4 world cup titles, 3 Hockey Champions Trophy, 8 gold medals in the Asian games and 3 gold medals in Olympic Games.

3. Football

sports in pakistan

Football is a very famous sport in Pakistan, especially in rural areas. Football remains the second most popular sport in schools and colleges. Although football is popular locally, our national football team is not much successful as it could be.

Football in Pakistan is governed by the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF). PFF is also a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA. The federation manages both the men’s and women’s football national teams.

Like cricket and hockey, football was also introduced to the subcontinent by the British and quickly sport gained popularity among natives. 

Did you know about the India Pakistan rivalry in football? Well if you don’t know, the rivalry still exists, although this rivalry is not as competitive compared to other sports such as cricket and hockey. 

Football matches between India and Pakistan are popular in both countries. After the independence of both nations India and Pakistan played 25 games, with 15 victories for India and 3 victories for Pakistan and draw seven.

4. Kabaddi

sports in pakistan

Kabaddi is a traditional sport in Pakistan that is highly popular throughout the subcontinent. There are two types of kabaddi “circle style” and “standard style”. Standard-style kabaddi is usually seen in professional leagues and international games like the Asian Games.

Kabaddi is an ancient game known by different names in different regional languages, such as kabaddi in Pakistan and India, Guddo in Sri Lanka, kapardi in Nepal and bhavatik in Maldives.

Pakistan Kabaddi Federation manages kabaddi in Pakistan. The federation was formed in 1964. The first national-level Kabaddi competition was held by Pakistan in 1966. 

Did you know, Pakistan defeated India in the 2020 Kabaddi World Cup in Circle Style kabaddi at the National Stadium in Lahore.

5. Snooker 

sports in pakistan

Snooker’s popularity in Pakistan increased in recent years. Pakistani snooker players are passionate about the sport; however, because there are hundreds of snooker clubs in Pakistan, the majority of Pakistanis play snooker as a hobby.

Pakistan has a snooker federation named Pakistan Billiard & Snooker Federation. The Federation was established in 1958. The main purpose of this federation is to promote snooker in the country.

Mohammad Asif and Muhammad Yousaf are the best snooker players in Pakistan that represent Pakistan in international tournaments. Mohammad Asif has won the amateur IBSF World Snooker Championship twice, while Muhammad Yousaf won the 1994 IBSF World Snooker Championship and the 2006 IBSF World Masters Championship.

6. Polo

sports in pakistan

Polo is the world’s oldest sport, and it is gaining popularity around the world. Polo is quite important in Pakistan, particularly in the north. The region’s people have a strong passion for polo. Every year, many polo tournaments are organised in Pakistan.

The Shandur Polo Tournament, organised by the Gilgit-Baltistan Government, is one of the most important competitions, held at the world’s highest polo ground at an altitude of 3,700 metres. A large number of people from northern Pakistan come to watch this tournament.

Pakistan Polo Association manages polo in the country. The federation was formed in 1947, and its primary purpose is to develop the sport in the country.

7. Tennis

sports in pakistan

Tennis is popular in Pakistan’s urban areas, particularly among the upper class. Tennis in Pakistan is not popular as other sports, but it still has some fanbase in the country.

Pakistan has only competed in a few international tennis events, but the country has yet to achieve worldwide success. Because lack of facilities and infrastructure, the sport can’t find success in Pakistan yet.

Pakistan has a few tennis players. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Haroon Rahim, and Khwaja Saeed Hai are the names that represent Pakistan at the international tennis competition.

8. Boxing

sports in pakistan

Boxing is another sport that has emerged in Pakistan in recent years. Pakistan has a few boxing clubs in major cities, and Pakistan has produced some of the finest boxers in recent years.

Pakistan has a boxing federation named Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF). The federation organises boxing fights in Pakistan, and the purpose of this federation is to promote boxing in Pakistan.

Despite a dearth of equipment and facilities, Pakistani boxers won gold in the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. Hussain Shah, Haider Ali, and Asghar Ali Shah are famous Pakistani boxers who represent Pakistan on the global stage.

9. Squash

sports in pakistan

If you look back 15 to 20 years, Pakistan was the dominant country in squash. Despite the downfall of squash, many people in Pakistan continue to follow the sport.

Currently, the popularity of squash in Pakistan has declined because of the limited number of squash courts in the country. Pakistan host several international squash championships, although the country remains behind in the international competition.

Jansher Khan and Jahangir Khan are two names that represent Pakistan on a global level. Both players have won several titles for Pakistan in their carrier.

10. Badminton

sports in pakistan

Badminton is the final sport on our list., it is the only sport in Pakistan that are more popular with women than man. Badminton has been played in Pakistani schools and colleges for quite some time. Pakistani badminton players may not have a rich history in the sport, but they have at least been able to compete in several international tournaments.

Like the other sports, Pakistan has also a federation for badminton named Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF). PBF organises a competition named Pakistan International (badminton) tournament that provides the stage for Pakistani players to compete against international players.

In 2011 World Badminton Federation ban PBF from participating in its international events because of the existence of two factions within the federation. In 2014 after the federation elected the new national badminton body, WBF removed ban from PBF.

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