Argentina is a country that enjoys several types of sports due to its mild climate and diverse people, mostly European. Sports in Argentina, regardless of the type have a significant fan base and have experienced a rising popularity trend over the years. Although Football is the most popular sports due to Lionel Messi belonging to the country but one cannot deny the fact that other sports such as basketball has a keen following as well.
Today, Argentina is home to auto-racing, football, basketball, Rugby, Tennis, Field hockey, Boxing, and many other sports. Moreover, the country has emerged as one of the strongest regions of sports. If you thought that Argentina was a dry country in terms of sports, think again. In this article, we are going to discuss what sports are played in Argentina. Follow us.
Football. Argebtina is full of both indoor and outdoor football fields, where both children and grown-ups can enjoy football during their free time. Even in schools, the first thing the kids do is grab a football to play during the break. Such is the influence of football.
In addition to that, the national team over the years has won two FIFA World Cups along with several Olympic Gold Medals, one Confederations Cup, and six World Youth Championships. In addition to that, the Argentine clubs have managed to win the Copa Libertadores 25 times, which is a record alongside the FIFA Club World Cup 9 times.
There was a time when Diego Maradona was the most celebrated football player in Argentina but today, Lionel Messi has taken his place. Argentina is a fierce rival of Brazil and both teams over the years have fought rigorously with each other for titles. Known as the “Battle of the South Americans”, the football matches between the two countries draw huge attention across the globe.
While the men’s football team in Argentina continues to wear the popularity crown, the women’s football team is not far behind. With time, the team has worked hard and progressed to the point where it not only motivates but gives a tough competition to other national teams.
Basket is a popular sport as well but mostly in the provinces of Argentina. The Basketball Clubs Association organizes the top-level league in the country known as the LigaNacional de Basquet. Furthermore, the national basketball team was able to win the first FIBA World Championship in 1950 but it was not until the 2000s when the sport started regaining popularity in the country.
Argentina was able to conquer the 2004 Summer Olympics by winning the most number of medals and displaying an impressive performance in 2002, 2006, and 2010 World Championships. The team also managed to win a bronze medal at the 2008 summer Olympics. In addition to that, the national basketball team has also won the 2001 Tournament of the Americas and the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship.
It might come as a surprise but auto-racing is a hugely followed sport in Argentina due to the fact that Formula One Legend Juan Manuel Fangio belonged to Argentina. He was a five-time Formula One world champion, winning 102 amongst 184 international races. After the passing of Fangio, Carlos Reutemann took over and was described as the best driver of the 1970s. In recent years, Jose Maria Lopez has emerged as one of the world’s top touring drivers having won the World Touring Car Championships in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Furthermore, Argentina has also hosted the Dakar Rally from 2009-2018.
Although Rugby Union is considered an amateur sport but the national team has managed to become one of the most powerful rugby teams in the world by finishing third in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and managing to work its way up to the third position in the World Rugby Rankings. The problem with Argentina’s Rugby Union is that during the first two decades of the sport’s professional era, most players had left the country for Europe, mainly France and England. Inconsistency and a constant fluctuation in the team has led to the sport being mildly followed. However, it does have its fan base that prefers following nothing other than rugby.
Since the 1970s, Tennis has remained a very popular sport in Argentina. Both tennis stars Gabriela Sabatini and Guillermo Vilas played their way to the second position and managed to win several Grand Slams. Although Argentina does not have a tennis player that has reached the first place at the ATP rankings but the players have battled fearlessly to stop other players from winning competitions.
During the 2000s, there were several Argentine players in the top 10, and then came the 2004 French Open, which decided an all-Argentine Final. In 2004, Gaston Gaudio won the Roland Garros. Then in 2005, David Nalbandian defeated world number 1, Roger Federer, to claim the Tennis Masters Cup. Today, Juan Martin del Porto stands as the country’s leading tennis player having won the 2009 US Open.
Field Hockey in Argentina constitutes the women national team. Known as ‘Las Leonas’, the Argentine women’s field hockey team is one of the most successful field hockey teams in the world with four Olympic medals, a World League, Two World Cups and Seven Champions Trophy. Furthermore, in 2002 and 2010, the team had won the World Cup as well. In addition to that, the team in 2000 and 2012 won the silver medal at the Olympic Games alongside a bronze medal in 2004 and 2008. To top it off, the Las Leonas has also won the annual Champions Trophy seven times. Luciana Aymar is described as the most successful field hockey player in the history of the sport. She is the only one to have been awarded the FIH Player of the Year Award eight times.
The men’s field hockey team on the other hand won a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics along with a bronze medal at the 2008 Champions Trophy and the 2014 World Cup.
Although Argentina has a huge collection of boxing legends but Pascual Perez was the country’s first boxing champion. In addition to that, Juan Martin Coggi, Santos Laciar, and NicolinoLocche along with several others contributed to the sport as well. In total, Argentine boxers have brought home a total of 24 Olympic medals amongst which seven are gold models.
Marcela Acuna was a world champion female boxer from Argentina who locked horns with the most popular boxers of the 2000 era in Argentina. On 17 April 2010, Sergio Martinez knocked out Kelly Pavlik of America to claim the Middleweight champion of the world title.
Polo is a big sport in Argentina probably due to the fact that the country’s polo team won the Olympic gold medal in 1924 followed by another gold medal win in 1936. Gonzalo Pieres Adolfo Cambiaso and his brother Facundo alongside the NovilloAstrada brothers and Tommy Iriarte are considered amongst the top polo players in the world.
Furthermore, the three most important events of the polo world are also held in Argentina known as the Argentine Open, the Tortugas Open and the Hurlingham Open. If you go back in history, you will observe that Argentina has always proved to be a leading country in Polo. It has won five World Polo Championships to date.
Jose Jurado is Golf’s most celebrated figure in Argentina. He is known to be the only Argentine golfer to travel the world to compete in international competitions. For this reason alone, Jose Jurado is described as the “Father of Argentine Professional Golf”. In addition to that, there are several other prominent players as well such as Angel Cabrera, Jose Coceres, Antonio Cerda, Eduardo Romero, and others who have won the 1953 Canada Cup. Over the years, Argentine golfers have won the British Open in 1967, the U.S Open in 2007, and the Augusta Masters in 2009.
Handball in Argentina is not that big of a sport due to infrastructure and federated players but over the years it has emerged as an increasingly popular sport. The men’s national team regularly quality for top competitions such as the World Championship. Today, the sport has given birth to immensely talented players such as the Diego brothers and Sebastian Simonet.
Sailing is big in Argentina. So big that the national sailing team has won 10 Olympic medals. Even children seem to be very interested in the sport and do not miss the opportunity to witness sailing competitions held annually. At the moment, Carlos Espinola stands to be the most successful sailor having won the most number of Olympic medals. However, another champion Santiago Lange is not far behind with his four World Championships and a gold medal won at the 2016 summer Olympics.
From football to sailing, it is evident that Argentina is one of the few countries that enjoy the luxury of witnessing several types of sports each year. It could be said without a doubt that Argentina has a huge contribution to the sports mentioned above and continues to do so. With so many achievements over the years, Argentina will go down in history as one of the most successful countries in terms of sports.