12 Most Popular Sports in Pakistan

Pakistan is a country that loves sports. Most of us might only know the country as a cricket powerhouse. However, Pakistan also actively participates in various sporting activities.

Some of Pakistan’s most famous sports have been around ages. Similarly, some sports have been introduced in recent years. Nevertheless, the popularity of sports is immense in Pakistan.

most popular sports in pakistan
Pakistani players on the international platform (Source: Instagram)

At present, Pakistan Sports Board controls and facilitates players with various assistance in the country. The board controls 39 different sports federations.

So, among them, which are the top most popular sports in Pakistan?

To answer this query, we have come up with this list. So let us get through this list together and know about sports in Pakistan closely.

12 Most Popular Sports in Pakistan

We have gathered the required information primarily from Wikipedia. But before diving into the detailed information of the list, let us peek at the overall ranking first.

SportsGoverned By
12. BadmintonPakistan Badminton Federation
11. TennisPakistan Tennis Federation
10. ChessChess Federation of Pakistan
9. Billiard and snookerPakistan Billiards and Snooker Federation
8. WrestlingPakistan Wrestling Federation
7. SoccerPakistani Football Federation
6. KabaddiPakistan Kabaddi Federation
5. PoloPakistan Polo Association
4. TennisEquestrian Federation of Pakistan
3. SquashPakistan Squash Federation
2. Field HockeyPakistan Hockey Federation
1. CricketPakistan Cricket Board

12. Badminton

We will start our list with Badminton. The sport has been part of the country for many decades now.

In 1953, the Pakistan Badminton Federation was formed. After the formation of the federation, it has been organizing the sport all over the country.

Some popular Pakistani badminton players are Mahoor Shahzad, Irshad Ahmed, Nighat Sultana, and others. These athletes have represented their country at the national and international levels.

Mahoor Shahzad with a fan
Mahoor Shahzad with a fan (Source: Instagram)

From the 1950s to the 1970s, the country enjoyed the most success in the sport. As a result, it has been dubbed as Pakistan’s golden era in badminton.

However, in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic, Mahoor Shahzad qualified as Pakistan’s first Olympic Badminton Qualification.

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11. Tennis

One of the most popular sports in Pakistan is Tennis. Although the country hosts tennis events rarely, the Pakistani tennis players compete in various international events. 

The game is organized by the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF). Apart from ATP tournaments, Pakistan does not hold any international tennis events. However, it does not reduce the popularity of the sport.

Some of the greatest Pakistani tennis players include Khawaja Saeed Hai, Haroon Rahim, and in recent years, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.

Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi from Pakistan
Qureshi from Pakistan (Source: Wikimedia.org)

The first Pakistani player to reach a Grand Slam tournament was Khawaja Saeed Hai. He played in Wimbledon, the US Open, and the French Open. Similarly, Haroon Rahim won several ATP singles and doubles titles.

Qureshi made history when he reached the finals of the 2010 US Open men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. He is currently Pakistan’s number one tennis player.

10. Chess

On our number tenth of the most popular sports in Pakistan is Chess. The sport is closely related to the country’s Mughal history. Therefore, it is one of the traditional sports played throughout the country.

The style of playing chess is mostly in Mughal style. Therefore, the style of playing is slightly different from the international style.

The Chess Federation of Pakistan governs the sport in the country. It promotes the game and organizes the tournaments but in an international style of playing chess and as per the international rules. 

Chess in Pakistan
Chess in Pakistan (Source: Dostpakistan. pk)

The federation has an affiliation with International Chess Federation (FIDE), Asian Chess Federation, Commonwealth Chess Association, and Pakistan Sports Board.

Some of the most prominent chess players of Pakistan are Shahzad Mirza and Mahmood Lodhi. Additionally, FIDE has awarded them the title of International Master title.

9. Billiard and Snooker

The next sport on our list is Billiard and Snooker. The Pakistani Billiard and Snooker Federation was formed in 1958. Regardless, it has only been in recent years that the sport has found popularity in Pakistan.

The first known success in the sport was in 1994. Then, it was when Mohammed Yousuf got an international level success at the International Billiards and Snooker Federation (IBSF). He also won the 2006 IBSF World Masters Champion.

Billiards and snookers
Billiards and Snooker 

Since then, the sport’s popularity widened, and many others took up Billiard and Snooker. Similarly, Pakistan played host to the 2012 Asian 6-red ball Championship in Karachi.

Shokat Ali is considered the number one Pakistani player in Billiard and Snooker. In addition, he is an Asian Games Gold Medalist.

8. Wrestling

On our number 8 of the most popular sports in Pakistan is Wrestling. The sport has quite a history and is also one of the important sports of Pakistan. The sport is called “Koshti” in the local language.

Wrestling history in Pakistan dates back to ancient times, and regular tournaments are held locally in the country. The moves in traditional wrestling of Pakistan are also found in other countries. However, there are also a few which are unique to the country.

Wrestling in Pakistan
Wrestling in Pakistan (Source: Instagram)

The Pakistan Wrestling Federation governs the sport. It was only established in 1953. It governs and hosts the various tournaments in international style and rules. 

Muhammed Akhtar, Gama Pahalwan, Bholu Pahalwan are some famous figures of Pakistan’s wrestling. Akhtar represented Pakistan in international games and won three gold medals in 2007.

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7. Soccer

The history of soccer dates back to the mid-nineteenth century in Pakistan. The British soldiers first introduced it in British India, and since then, the sport has placed its roots in Pakistan.

The country is the manufacturer of the official FIFA World Cup ball. But despite this, the sport is more popular locally and has not seen much success.

The Pakistani Football Federation governs the sport. It was established in 1947 and was recognized by FIFA in early 1948. Pakistan has both men’s and women’s national football teams.

Soccer team Pakistan
Soccer team Pakistan 

The national teams are also members of the Asian Football Confederations and its sub-confederation, the South Asian Football Federation.

The Pakistani Premier League and Pakistan National Football Challenge Cup are some of the prestigious Pakistani football tournaments. Likewise, the country also hosts Pakistan National Women’s Football Championship annually.

6. Kabaddi

Our number 6 of the most popular sports in Pakistan goes to Kabaddi. It is one of the popular sports whose origination traces back to ancient India. It is popular, especially in many rural parts of Pakistan.

The most popular form of Kabaddi in Pakistan is Asian-style Kabaddi. It is one of the most popular styles in South Asia. In 1964, the Pakistan Kabaddi Federation was established. It governs and organizes various sports in the country.

Kabaddi in Pakistan
Kabaddi in Pakistan (Source: Instagram)

Similarly, the federation has affiliations with International Kabaddi Federation and also the Asian Kabaddi Federation. The Kabaddi has a long history in Pakistan. In 1966, the first National level Kabaddi tournament was played.

In 2020, Pakistan won the 2020 Kabaddi World Cup (Circle Style) against India at the National Stadium in Lahore.

5. Polo

Many might find it amusing to see Polo as one of the most popular sports in Pakistan. However, the game, whose origination traces to Persia, had made its way to Pakistan and is one of the most important sports.

Every year, several large Polo competitions are held in the country. One of the most prestigious competitions is the Shandur Polo tournament. It is played at the world’s highest polo ground and attracts many tourists in Northern Pakistan.

The Pakistan Polo Association is the governing body of the sport in the country. It has an affiliation with the Federation of International Polo and Pakistan Sports Board.

Polo at Shandur Top
Polo in Pakistan (Source: Instagram)

Likewise, the country also takes part in the Polo World Cup. Murad Ismail, Raza Muhammad Ali Khan Bangash are some prominent players from Pakistan. Since 2009, Raza Muhammad has been the number one polo player.

4. Tent Pegging

Tent pegging is on our number 4 of the most popular sports in Pakistan. The sport is popular in various provinces of the country, and the Equestrian Federation of Pakistan (EFP) governs the sport.

There are various tent pegging clubs across the country. These clubs and EFP organize various events all across the country.

The EFP has affiliations with International Federation for Equestrian sports International Tent Pegging Federation. It also has affiliations with Asian Equestrian Federation Pakistan Olympic Association.

Tent Pegging in Pakistan
Tent pegging in Pakistan (Source: Wikimedia.org)

Since it has affiliations with international federations, Pakistan actively participates in various international events. Likewise, the major event of the National Horse and Cattle Show is held at Fortress Stadium.

In 2014, Pakistan commenced the World Cup for tent pegging. Malik Ata Muhammad Khan, Khan Qamar Zaman Khan, are some of the most notable tent peggers.

3. Squash

We are in our top 3 of the most popular sports in Pakistan, and we have Squash on the list. Pakistan has achieved the most success in this game, and they are a powerhouse when it comes to the sport.

Aside from its success in the international platform, Squash also has a large following. The Pakistan Squash Federation is the governing body, and the Pakistan Open tournament is one of the country’s premier events.

Jahangir Khan of Pakistan
Jahangir Khan of Pakistan (Source: Instagram)

Jahangir Khan and Janser Khan are two legends of Pakistani Squash. They have won several World Squash Championships. Furthermore, Jahangir Khan had an unbeaten world record for 555 consecutive squash matches.

As one of the dominant countries in Squash, the sport is so popular that every province in Pakistan has its own men’s and women’s championships.

2. Field Hockey

Field Hockey is the national sport of Pakistan. Although the country has a crazy love for cricket, they also love their national sport. Pakistani national team is one of the top-ranked teams in the world.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation governs the sport and organizes various events. It has been part of the International Hockey Federation since 1948.

Likewise, Pakistan is also one of the founding members of the Asian Hockey Federation. In addition, the country also has the Pakistan Hockey Federation Women Wing for women’s field hockey.

Pakistani players playing against Malayisa
Pakistani players playing against Malaysia

Some of the notable achievements of the national team include three gold medals at the Olympic Games, four times Hockey World Cup, most Asian gold medals. Additionally, Pakistan is the only country to win Champions Trophy three times.

The country has one of the most successful teams in sports history. Some famous Pakistani field hockey players are Mohammed Saqlain, World-Record holder Waseem Ahmad.

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1. Cricket

With the country’s craze for cricket, we have given it the number 1 position of most popular sports in Pakistan. Aside from the huge following, the game is played all across the country.

Pakistani national cricket team is known as one of the most powerful cricket teams on an international level. Therefore, there is no argument when it comes to their performance on the field.

Similarly, the national team has also won various tournaments and trophies. The most notable ones are the 1992 Cricket World Cup, 2009 ICC World Twenty20, and 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.

Pakistani cricket team
Pakistani cricket team (Source: Wikimedia.org)

The country has produced many prominent players. Players like Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, Shahid Afridi hold numerous records on the international level. In addition, Imran Khan has been inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

While the Pakistan Cricket Board is the governing body, the country also has its women’s cricket team. In addition, the country also hosts Pakistan Super League and Kashmir Premier League.

Conclusion

We conclude our list of the most popular sports in Pakistan with the above list. Pakistanis love sports, and many have been part of the culture for a very long time.

We hope we were able to shed some light on the various sports that the country participates in and enjoys.

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