Interesting Facts About Asia’s Sports

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Soccer is the national sport of Myanmar (formerly Burma). Khin Maung Lwin (Secretary General of the Myanmar Olympic Committee) said, “As in most of the countries all over the world, football is the most popular sport in Myanmar. When our national football team became champions at the 5th Asian Games Bangkok 1966 and the 6th Asian Games Bangkok 1970, football became even more popular among our people.Apart from that, athletics, sepaktakraw and wushu are also popular in our country.”

Japan won five gold medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games: one from athletics and four from judo.

Susanthika Jayasinghe became the second athlete in Sri Lanka -formerly Ceylon- to win a medal in the Olympic Games when she won the silver medal in the 200m at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Australia. Sprinting great Susanthika won 100m and 200m gold at the 2007 Asian Championships in Amman (Jordan). At the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in 2007, she won the bronze medal in the 200m. Susanthika was born on December 17, 1975 in Atnawala, Sri Lanka.

Bangkok (Thailand) has hosted four Asian Games (1966, 1970, 1978, 1998).

Pakistan sent 32 sportspersons to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (West Germany). Pakistani athletes competed in six sports (athletics, boxing, wrestling, weightlifting, field hockey, sailing).

Sawao Kato was one of the best gymnasts in the 20th century. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kato won several international medals in Europe, Asia and Mexico. At the 1968 Olympic Games, he won three gold medals in the individual all-around, floor exercise and team competition.

Kabbadi is practiced by millions of people in Bangladesh and India. Unfortunately, it is not an Olympic sport.

Brunei Darussalam -one of the world’s richest countries- won two bronze medals at the Hiroshima Games in 1994.

Voleyball ( men & women ) was first featured at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo ( Japan ). The host country won the women’s volleyball competition. The winners were: Yuriko Handa, Kinuko Tanida, Emiko Miyamoto, Ayano Shibuki, Massako Kondo, Yoko Fujimoto, Setsuko Sassaki, Yoko Shinozaki, Katsumi Matsumura, Sata Issobe, Yoshiko Matsumura, Masae Kasai.

The Kingdom of Bhutan -it is about 2 times the size of Massachusetts- has never won a medal in any sport at the Asian Games.

Jordan sent 7 athletes to the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992. This Arab country participated in four sports: athletics (2), shooting (1), table tennis (1) and taekwondo (3).

Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) hosted the 1975 Field Hockey Men’s World Championship. Final standings: 1.India, 2.Pakistan, 3.West Germany, 4.Malaysia, 5.Australia, 6.England, 7.New Zealand, 8.Spain, 9.Holland, 10.Poland, 11.Argentina, 12.Ghana.

The United Arab Emirates won 22 medals at the 2005 West Asian Games in Doha (Qatar).

Japan is the birthplace of judo. The first judo world championships took place in Tokyo (1956). Judo made its debut as an official sport during the 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan.

The most popular sports in Oman -Arab country- are soccer, volleyball, athletics and handball.

The 1962 Asian Games were held in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. As hosts, Indonesia won a total of 48 medals and 9 golds. For political reasons, Israel and Taiwan did not participate in the Games.

Ahmed Al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates) won a shooting gold medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, which were held in Athens, Greece. A sportswriter said, “On a remarkable day in August during the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikh Ahmed Bin Hasher Al Maktoum blasted to victory in the men’s double trap shooting event, equalling the Olympic record of 189 points previously set by Australian Russell Mark at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games”.

Mongolia sent two female archers to the 1972 Summer Olympics. They were Natjav Dariimaa and Doljin Demberel.

Tokyo hosted the FIVB Men’s World Championship in 2007. Final standings:

1.Brazil,

2.Poland,

3.Bulgaria,

4.Serbia & Montenegro,

5.Italy,

6.France,

7.Russia,

8.Japan,

9.Germany,

10.United States,

11.Canada,

12.Puerto Rico,

13.Argentina,

14.Czech Republic,

15.Cuba,

16.Tunisia,

17.China,

18.Greece,

19.South Korea,

20.Venezuela,

21.Australia,

22.Egypt,

23.Iran,

24.Kazakhstan.

Japan has famous athletes: Ryoko Tani (judo), Takehiro Kashima (gymnastics), Kori Murofushi (track & field), Saori Yoshida (wrestling), Ayumi Tanimoto (martial arts), Mizuki Noguchi (marathon), Kosuke Kitajima (aquatics), Ai Shibata (swimming), Hiroshi Yamamoto (archery).