Sunday, October 5, 2014

Published on 2014 Incheon Asian Games official blog on June 19, 2014: http://blog.incheon2014ag.com/malaysia_sport/

Everyone has participated in at least 1 sporting activity at some point of their lives. In Malaysia, Minister of Education has put into effect the “1 student 1 sport” policy in primary schools and high schools all across the nation.
Extra sporting programs have been created to help students become better-rounded not only in academics but physical activities as well. Sports have become a major activity in the local universities whereby annual sports or recreational activities, as well as intervarsity sports carnivals will be held to encourage more student participation. Eventually, sports will evolve and become directly part of a nation’s culture. Let’s take a look at the top 5 most popular sports in Malaysia!
1. Badminton  
First introduced to Malaysia by the officers of the East Hindia Company in the early 1900’s, badminton is one of the most played sports in Malaysia. Characterized by high speed action, precision, alertness, and reaction, this sports activity only requires 2 players, racquets, and what is known as a “shuttlecock” to play. Badminton has gained a lot of popularity over the years with Malaysians of all ages. As a matter of fact, Malaysia’s badminton team has earned a great reputation for their numerous triumphs in international tournaments. With the recent matches between Japan and Malaysia, the Thomas Cup definitely brought the craze of badminton in Malaysia to new heights!
Image from KaHoong Chai
Image from KaHoong Chai
2. Basketball
Basketball can be often spotted around the corner of the schools and basketball courts can be seen at most of the residential areas. People of all ages like to play in the morning, at the afternoon, or even at night in Malaysia. Attracted to the swift, dynamic, powerful and competitive spirit of the game, it is a sport that is most played, especially among Malaysian Chinese. With such huge NBA stars now having even more international stardom, this is another sport that continues to gain popularity amongst the youth in Malaysia.
Image from Wild Channel Malaysia
Image from Wild Channel Malaysia
3. Football
Just like most countries on earth, Malaysians hold football in the highest esteem. During the football season, particularly on the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014, throngs will hang out at their favourite Mamaks (Indian Muslims style food outlets found in Malaysia which operates 24 hours a day) to catch the game, and give rejoicing shouts when a goal is scored. Futsal, a variant of football that is played on a smaller scale and essentially played indoors have their futsal centres mushrooming in every region in Malaysia. Interestingly, football players such as Gareth Bale, Thiago Alcantara, Mesut Ozil topped and dominated the list of the top 10 trending sports personalities in Malaysia in 2013 by Google Trends.
Image from Tottenham Hotspur Ltd
Image from Tottenham Hotspur Ltd
4. Hockey
Malaysia has a long, sporadic history in the Hockey World Cup. Malaysia once hosted the World Cup in 1975 and achieved a commendable fourth; however, the team failed to uphold such glorious results in number of games. Currently, Malaysia is ranked 13th in the FIH world rankings and 4th in Asia. Although Malaysia has made only 6 appearances in the Hockey World Cup, the team is now gearing up for the Rabobank World Cup in 2014.
Image from Google
Image from Google
5. Marathon
Marathon running has exploded in Malaysia in recent years. On any given morning, you will see a number of Malaysians running or jogging at parks and streets everywhere. Besides the annual international marathons such as the Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon, the Penang Bridge International Marathon, and the Adidas King of the road marathon. More and more competitions are starting to sprout as the sport gains more and more popularity.
Image from Sulekha
Image from Sulekha
Malaysia is indeed a venerable melting pot of diverse cultures and backgrounds in which sports play a crucial role in fostering friendship and national harmony. In accordance to the aforementioned sports, there are many other sports that continue to gain popularity. With the 2014 Incheon Asian Games just around the corner, more and more Malaysians will be exposed to newer sports by the time the Games are over and maybe next year’s Top 5 most popular sports in Malaysia will be different!

This article is written by an official member of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games bloggers, IAG Crew. Some content might be different from official position of the Organizing Committee.

|The Official 2014 Incheon Asian Games Writer ‘IAG-Crew’ ㅣThoong Kit Yee

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