Sport in Bangladesh is a popular form of entertainment as well as an essential part of Bangladeshi culture. Kabaddi is the national sport of Bangladesh. However, cricket and football are considered as the most popular sports in Bangladesh.
Traditional sports like Kabaddi, Boli Khela, Lathi Khela are mostly played in the rural areas. While foreign sports like cricket, football, hockey, volleyball, handball, golf, badminton etc. are more popular among the urban folks. The National Sports Council (NSC) is the governing body to control all the sports federations and councils in the country and is responsible for the ministry of youth and sports. There is a total of 42 different sports federations affiliated with the NSC. Bangladesh Games are the largest domestic multi-sport tournament in the country where athletes and sports teams from all the districts participate.
Kabaddi is recognised as the national sport in Bangladesh. The sport is played all through the country. Bangladesh has been regularly participating in Asian Games for Kabaddi. However, the recent rise of other sports has led to the decline in its popularity.
Cricket is arguably the most popular sport in the country. The popularity began to rise significantly when the national team went on to win the ICC Trophy in 1997 and for the first time qualified for the Cricket World Cup in 1999. In 2000, Bangladesh became a full member of International Cricket Council, which allowed it to play Test cricket. Bangladesh regularly hosts many international One Day matches, Test matches and Twenty20 Internationals. Bangladesh hosted the 2011 Cricket World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka, and in 2014 ICC World Twenty20. The Bangladesh Cricket Board is the premier governing body to manage the development of the sport in the country.
Throughout history, football has been the most popular sport in Bangladesh. Although it is under neglect from both the government and authorities, including the country’s football federation, known as the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF). Compared to the past, the standard of Bangladeshi football has degraded due to mismanagement, lack of support and poor investment. However, this did not affect football’s popularity; more football tournaments are organised in and outside Dhaka than of any other sports and football fever grips the nation during every FIFA World Cup. Federation officials and experts are still hopeful about the development of football in the country in the next ten years despite financial obstacles and lack of professionalism.
Hockey has been one of the most popular sports in Bangladesh. It comes right after Cricket and football considering the popularity. However, lack of responsible officials and maladministration has led this sport to decline as well. Bangladesh, even though, regularly participates in the Hockey Asia Cup and also hosted its edition of 1985.
Chess is a popular indoor game in Bangladesh and the country has given birth to many talented chess players. Bangladeshi chess player Niaz Murshed is the first Grandmaster to emerge from South Asia in 1987. The Bangladesh Chess Federation has become a member of the FIDE in 1979. Every year it arranges some 15 to 20 tournaments at the national and international levels. The Bangladeshi Chess Championship is the annual individual national chess championship in the country.
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