Read about the 10 sports below. Then enter the name of a country where they are played in the Search box to learn more about life for Christians in those countries. Find ways to pray for the countries in The Voice of the Martyrs’ Global Prayer Guide.
Buzkashi is a favorite sport in Afghanistan. It is a difficult and dangerous sport played by two teams on horseback. As in football, the players try to get control of an object and take it to a scoring area. But the object is not a ball; it’s a dead, headless goat or calf. Players compete to win money and prizes, and some fans dream of seeing the sport played in the Olympics someday.
Langdi is a traditional game from India. Would you like to try it? Here are the basic rules. Two teams play on a square field. Players from one team stand in the square. The other team sends one player at a time into the square. That player must hop on one foot. Whoever is touched by the hopping player is out of the game. If the hopper puts his raised foot down, he is out and the teams change positions. The game is over when all the players on one team are out.
Kabaddi is another popular sport in India. The rules are similar to the rules of langdi. But in kabaddi, the “raider” who enters the opposing team’s territory must repeat the word “kabaddi” [kah-buh-dee] over and over as he tags players. His goal is to tag as many players as possible—all in one breath. If he takes a second breath, he is out of the game.
Children in Nepal play dhandi-biu [DAHN-dee byoo]. The equipment for the game includes a long, flat stick and a large seed or small stick. The seed (or small stick) is placed on the ground. A player hits the end of the seed with the long stick, flipping the seed into the air. When the seed flies up, the player then taps it lightly into the air two or more times with the long stick. On the last hit, the player hits the seed as far away as he can.
Cricket is somewhat like baseball. (See the photo above.) It is played mostly in countries that are British territories or used to be British territories. The bat looks a little like a boat oar. The fielders do not wear gloves. Unlike in baseball, after the “bowler” (pitcher) throws the ball, it may hit the ground and bounce up to the “batsman” (batter) before it is hit.
Kho kho was invented in India. It is a form of tag played on a field between two teams. One team is the chasers and the other is the defenders. They switch roles after seven minutes. The team that tags out the defenders the quickest wins.
Chinlone is the national sport of Burma. Players stand in a circle. They try to keep a rattan ball (see the photo) in the air for as long as possible. The players may kick the ball up or pass it to another player with their feet or knees, but not with their hands.
Jaegi [JAY-ghee] is a Korean game similar to hacky sack. You can find instructions for making a jaegi here.
Netball is played in many countries, including Malaysia and Tanzania. It is a popular sport for women and girls. As in basketball, two teams try to shoot the ball through a hoop. But players do not dribble the ball. They may take only one step while holding the ball, and they must pass it to another player within a few seconds. Defenders who are trying to stop a player from shooting must stay at least three feet away from the player with the ball. The goal has no backboard.
According to legends from long ago, soldiers in some parts of the world had an unusual way of attacking enemy camps. While racing through the camp on horseback, the soldiers speared the pegs holding up their enemy’s tents, causing the tents to collapse. Perhaps that is how the sport of tent pegging began.
In modern tent pegging, players on horseback compete to see who can best draw a wooden block out of the ground with a sword or lance and carry it across a field. The sport is played in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries.