Pakistan has a rich sporting history and is home to a diverse range of sports. Interestingly, Pakistan has seen golden days for different sports with the nationals cheering for their sporting heroes.
The lush geography of Pakistan allows people to play a diverse variety of sports on all sorts of terrains. Moreover, good interconnectivity and infrastructure between cities easily allow inter-city battles, tournaments, and even international competitions.
However, some sports saw a downfall with time in terms of popularity. Nonetheless, while the trends might have altered, the truth remains that Pakistanis love sports; whether it is a friendly challenge on the streets or an international level rivalry.
Here’s a list of the most popular sports we play in Pakistan and are really good at.
Definitely, the Pakistani nations adopted national sport! Our country is packed with cricket-fanatic fans that make every tournament played by the side a nationwide festival. Pakistan is a formidable side of the globe. As of today, Pakistan has played 444 test matches, of which winning 145, losing 135, and drawing 164. Moreover, our team has played 939 ODIs.
Pakistan cricket was dealt a huge blow when a chain reaction to a terrorist attack resulted in no international matches being played inside the country for a decade. However, international teams have started to tour Pakistan again. Exciting competitions like the PSL (Pakistan Super League) and The Quaid e Azam trophy have also started gaining international acknowledgment and appreciation. The jam packed stadiums in every match are an example.
Gladly, cricket is becoming an even more exciting sport now that the top-flight cricketers from around the globe are joining our field. Warren Deutrom the CEO of Cricket Ireland said “The courtesy, the generosity, the hospitality, the warmth, the love of cricket is plainly obvious for anyone to see.” when he visited the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.
Field hockey is Pakistan’s national game. The first match took place in 1948. However, unfortunately, we have witnessed the decline of hockey today. This sport has given us three Olympic gold medals and 4 world cups. The golden era lasted from 1970to 1984.
Unfortunately, the poor performance of the hockey federation and the declining resources needed for the sport have resulted in its downfall. Moreover, the lack of stardom is also another contributing factor.
Tennis is another amazing sport Pakistanis play. Indeed, the urban class of Pakistan watches tennis enthusiastically because we have so many Federer, Nadal and Djokovic fans.
While many play tennis in Pakistan, it is true that we have very few professional players for the sport. While Aisam Ul Haq has made his presence felt in both Men’s Singles and Doubles, players like Haroon Rahim and Aqeel Khan have started to raise eyebrows as well. The lack of infrastructure, professional training and clubs are contributing reasons. However, we have many amateur players in the country.
The Pakistan Golf Federation is funded by the government which in turn provides various clubs, associations and competitions to the individuals. There are approximately 48 private golf clubs with over 18000 members.
Moreover, golf is one sport you will see men play aged above 40. The oldies have many golf tournaments in different cities while their wives enjoy watching it from a distance.
Kabbadi is one of the most popular sports in Pakistan for good reason. It is played in various rural parts of the country. It is quite similar to wrestling, but you have mud as your arena and the rules are rather different.
The Pakistan Kabaddi Federation was founded in 1964. Since then it has flourished and landed the players in the international arena. Therefore, the best part about Kabaddi is the cheering. The breathless calls of ‘Kabbaddi, kabbaddi, kabbaddi’ are truly rejuvenating.
Pakistan has won 6 bronze medals and 2 silver medals in Asian Games. They have also won the world cup in 2020. Our top kabaddi players are Shabir Ahmed and Hassan Ali.
It might not be at its peak right now but to date, the success rate of Pakistan in Squash is unmatchable to any other country in the world. Indeed, especially during the deadly reigns of Squash legends Jansher Khan and Jehangir Khan. The latter still holds the record of the towering winning streak of 555 consecutive matches in the world.
While Pakistan still hosts international tournaments and has a rather developed infrastructure, newer generations of players are yet to reach even close to the magnificence of their seniors.
Badminton is one of my favorite games. it is a popular sport in Pakistan because all you need is rackets, a shuttle cock, and two players. Not only will you witness almost everyone playing badminton in their backyard, but you will also see professional badminton players from Pakistan.
Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF) is the backbone of badminton in Pakistan and it was formed in 1953. Apparently, Awais Zahid and Mahoor Shahzad are Pakistani national champions. Mahnoor Shahzad has won twice in women’s singles and came as a runner-up twice in women’s doubles in BWF international challenge.
Polo runs in the northern areas of Pakistan. While we have different versions of the sport, Pakistan hosts a number of international-level championships and tournaments annually. Interestingly, the Shandur Polo festival is the most recognized festival in Pakistan that attract people from around the globe.
Rides from all around the world train and compete in Pakistan. Indeed the shandur festival happens from 7-9th July in the Chitral district. Pakistani military encourages and invests in equestrian activities; hence a large number of such competitions are hosted in different cantonments and arenas facilitated by the military of the country.
Everyone loves Amir Khan, right? Pakistani fans are spread across the country rooting for him when he plays. Moreover, since he has Pakistani descent, his visits to the country really encourage young blood to train well, participate and compete. Considerably, Pakistani players are mastering their performances adequately in international boxing competitions.
Pakistan Boxing Federation invests in the players and trains them well. Karachi has one of the best boxing clubs in the country.
When it comes to international recognition, table tennis is one of the least professional sports in Pakistan. However, you will witness various amateurs playing table tennis in clubs, universities, and even homes. Apparently, the cost involved is pretty low, and hence many youngsters want to play it and master the game.
Snooker is one of the most loved sports in our country. Mohammad Asif represents Pakistan internationally. He has won twice in the amateur IBSF world snooker championship.
However, interestingly Ahsan Ramzan is the new hero from Pakistan. He is the youngest player hailing from Karachi at only 16 years of age. He is the youngest to win a trophy for the country in IBSF world snooker championship.
The National Rifle Association of Pakistan (NRAP) is the national backbone for shooting in Pakistan. Lt. General (R) Alam Jan Mehsud NRAP restored the sport in 1986 and till date, we have the best shooters hailing from the country who compete in international matches.
Today, Ghulam Mustafa Bashir remains the best shooter from Pakistan. Moreover, the Pakistan army soldiers won the international sniping and shooting competition in Beijing among 21 teams from 14 countries. If you enjoy shooting, you should check out the Cholistan cup event in southern Punjab that showcases a safe and exciting gun culture.