What Are Asia’s Most Popular Sports?

Published on March 25, 2024, 8:08 am
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There are many sports that are popular globally, including football, tennis, basketball, golf, and cricket. These sports are all extremely popular in Asia but what sports do many people enjoy in Asia that might not be played as much elsewhere?


Kabaddi has long been popular in India and is one of the biggest sports in the country. The sport originated in India has spread to Pakistan and Bangladesh. Recently Kabaddi has been growing in popularity in Iran, Thailand, and South Korea, meaning the sport is spreading across the Asian continent. The Pro Kabaddi League is the leading Kabaddi competition, and you will find betting markets for the sport at a top Asia betting site committed to promoting sports in the region. There is a Kabaddi World Cup, a tournament that includes Japan, and Kabaddi is also played at the Asian Games.


There are several different organisations within competitive karate and tournaments are held across Asia, from youth to international standard. Karate is popular in Japan, China, Vietnam, and Iran to name but a few Asian countries that compete regularly at the highest level. The Karate World Championships is the biggest tournament and Japan leads the way at the top of the medals table with 98 gold at the time of writing. Karate has been approved as an Olympic sport and it was included in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Table Tennis

Table tennis is a sport played in countries across the world, especially as a recreational activity. However, table tennis is highly competitive across Asia, especially in Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. The Table Tennis World Championships have been played since 1926 and have recently been staged annually. Given the popularity of table tennis is Asia, it comes as no surprise to see China sitting well clear at the top of the medal table, with Japan in third place. At the time of writing, table tennis has been contested nine times at the Olympic Games and each time, it is China who have enjoyed the greatest success. In fact, if we look at the gold medal table, there have been 37 gold medals up for grabs, and China have won 32, South Korea have won 3, and Japan have won 1 gold medal. The only nation outside of Asia to win a table tennis gold medal at the Olympic Games is Sweden.


Baseball is the most popular sport in Japan and outside the United States, Nippon Professional Baseball is the top competition. Such is the popularity of Nippon Professional Baseball; it is the wealthiest sports league in the whole of Asia. Baseball has grown in South Korea and the Chinese Professional Baseball League based in Taiwan is another leading baseball competition in Asia. Millions of people play and watch baseball across Asia and even the High School Baseball Championship in Japan receives huge coverage.

Some of the other most popular sports in Asia which are not commonly seen in other continents include Bandy, kickboxing, and kho-kho.

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