Sport in Bangladesh

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. Bangladesh achieved arguably their greatest heights in ODI cricket when they defeated three of the top-rated teams in 2015. In April 2015, they white-washed Pakistan and clinched the series 3-0. It was another major achievement when they won a series against India 2-1 in June 2015. They stunned South Africa, defeating them 2-1 in an ODI series in the month of July and cemented their spot in Champions Trophy, 2017. Traditional sports like Athletics, Swimming, 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 to the ministry of youth and sports. There are a total of 42 different sports federations affiliated with the NSC.[1] Bangladesh Games is the largest domestic multi-sport tournament in the country where athletes and sports teams from all the districts participate.


Kabaddi is recognized 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. Bangladesh was once considered as a formidable side to play against in this sport but has now been weakening due to lack of funds and other reasons.


Main article: Cricket in Bangladesh

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. In 2011, Bangladesh hosted the 2011 Cricket World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka. Bangladesh was also elected to host the 2014 ICC World Twenty20. Bangladesh Cricket Board is the premier governing body to manage the development of the sport in the country.

In 2015 world cup, Bangladesh beat England incredibly and reached the quarter final for second time in the history. However, they were knocked out in quarter final against India.


Throughout history, football has been the most popular sport in Bangladesh.[2] Although it is under neglect from both the government and authorities including the country’s football federation, known as Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF).

Compared to the past, the standard of Bangladeshi football has degraded due to mismanagement, lack of support and poor investment. An interest in cricket resulting from the nation’s success in Test Cricket and participation in the Cricket World Cup overshadowed the past fame in the nation’s football. But however this did not affect football’s popularity: more football tournaments are organized 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.[3]


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. The Bangladesh Hockey Federation, the national governing body for the sport, every year organizes some domestic competitions in the country, most notably the Premier Division Hockey League.


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.[4] 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.

Other ball sports


Golf has recently seen an increase in its popularity in Bangladesh. The sport was not much notable until Siddikur Rahman became the first Bangladeshi golfer to win an Asian Tour event at the Brunei Open in 2010.[5] Subsequently, the sport began to get enough media coverage in Bangladesh and also succeeded to acquire sponsors to ensure its financial sufficiency.


There is Bangladesh Handball Federation (BHF) to develop this sport in the country which has been a member of International Handball Federation since 1986. Both men's and women's teams from Bangladesh represent the nation in various international events most notably the South Asian Games. In addition, BHF, in assistance with the ministry of education, holds annual inter-school championships for both boys and girls throughout the country.


Volleyball is very popular in Bangladesh and practiced throughout the country but still struggles to have pleasant performance at the international arena. Bangladesh Volleyball Federation (BVF) was formed in 1972 and got its affiliation from Fédération Internationale de Volleyball and Asian Volleyball Confederation in 1976. So far Bangladesh participated twice in the Asian Games, twice in the Asian Youth Volleyball Championship and thrice in the Asian Men's Volleyball Championship. Bangladesh Volleyball Team achieved Runners-up Trophy of International Volleyball Championships held in Pakistan from 28–30 January 2009.[6] There are also annual inter-school and national championships for the sport.


Basketball is a popular sport in Bangladesh mostly in the urban areas. Bangladesh Basketball Federation has been affiliated with FIBA since 1978. Bangladesh has never qualified for Basketball at the Summer Olympics or the FIBA World Championship. The national team's best finish at the FIBA Asia Championship was 13th in 1979. The other notable achievement was winning a bronze at the 2010 South Asian Games.


Rugby is a minor but rapidly growing sport in Bangladesh. The history of rugby in Bangladesh, however, dates back to the 19th century during the British rule when the Europeans used to play the sport in Bangladesh. After the fall of the British dynasty, the sport had little or no presence in the country. However, in 2007, after a long period of dormancy, some Japanese coaches started a youth program. Various schools sent under-12s to the training camp.[7] The Bangladesh Rugby Association, the national governing body for the sport has been training these children in order to start an inter-schools tournament.[7]

Racquet sport


Bangladesh shows a bright future in squash, with a flourishing amount of tournaments arranged recently,[8] Many promising players is coming up from this country. Recent measures taken by the government as well as the efforts made by the officials of the Bangladesh squash racket federation have resulted in the growth of popularity of squash in Bangladesh. The Government has proposed to provide a land where the main Federation headquarters will be built. Grameenphone Open Squash Tournament is a major tournament in Bangladesh. Some promising squash players from Bangladesh include Swapan Parvez, Raju Ram, Iman, Tamim, Habbarter Ribhu etc.[9]


Tennis is mostly played in the urban areas of Bangladesh. The Grand Slam tournaments like the US Open, Wimbledon are very popular among the urban people but so far nobody represented the country in a grand slam as very few take the sport professionally. Since 2008, the Bangladesh Tennis Federation has been holding an annual International Junior Tennis Tournament to promote and develop the sport in the country.

Bangladesh Davis Cup team made its Davis Cup debut in 1986. Bangladesh succeeded to reach the semi-finals three years later in Davis Cup 1989 in Asia/Oceania Zone Group II that was held in Singapore.[10]

Table Tennis

Table tennis has been played in Bangladesh since the 1950s. Although the game is very popular in schools, colleges and universities, tournaments outside educational institutions are not rare. The Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation (BTTF) was created in 1972. The same year it became a member of the Asian and World Table Tennis Federations. Many national and international competitions are held by BTTF as well as some major sponsors.[11]

Bangladesh takes part in different international table tennis tournaments and achieved some success too. In 1997, Bangladesh boys' team got the third place in the first junior competition among 12 countries of the SAARC and ASEAN regions. Bangladesh also won some medals in South Asian Games. Bangladesh successfully hosted the Asian Cup Table Tennis Tournament in 1991. Bangladeshi table tennis player Zobera Rahman Linu has won the national table tennis championships in the individual category 16 times, which is the most by any sports-person in any country of the world.

Individual sports


Bangladeshi Cyclists is a cycling group in Bangladesh that (as of 2013) is the largest cycling community in the country.[12]


Bangladesh is riverine country, having more than 250 rivers flowing through it. Hence swimming has always been a part of the lives of Bangladeshis. Bangladesh has produced a legendary swimmer Brojen Das, who was the first Asian to swim across the English Channel,[13] and the first person to cross it four times. He is also the only person outside United Kingdom and Australia to win the title of King of the Channel.[14]


Bangladesh has been participating at the Olympics, Asian games and other multinational competitions for athletics but hasn't really pleased with its performance. Bangladeshi athletes have won some medals at the South Asian Games. Bangladesh Athletics Federation is the national governing body for athletics. The sport of athletics is a collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking.The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and race walking.


Shooting is a promising sport in Bangladesh. The only two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games for Bangladesh came from Shooting. Bangladesh have also won many gold medals at the South Asian Games. Shooting in Bangladesh came to spotlight when Asif Hossain Khan clinched the 10 metre air rifle gold medal in Commonwealth Games in 2002 and repeated his success in South Asian Games in 2004. The National Shooting Federation Bangladesh is the governing body for shooting sport in Bangladesh.


Archery is a new but promising sport in Bangladesh. Archery was introduced in Bangladesh in 2000 and the Bangladesh Archery Federation was formed in 2001 and got affiliated with the World Archery Federation in 2003.[15] Having won some gold and silver medals at some multinational Archery championships, Emdadul Haque Milon is the most promising young archer in Bangladesh.[16]

Combat sport


Boxing is not much popular in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Amateur Boxing Federation is the controlling board for boxing in Bangladesh. Most of the boxers in Bangladesh emerge from the Rajshahi and Jessore regions. Even though the performance of Bangladeshi boxers at international level has been very poor, the boxers have succeeded to win some gold medals at the South Asian Games.[17]


Bangladesh has been taking part in various multinational competitions for Karate and has won some gold medals at the South Asian Games. Bangladesh Karate Federation, the national governing body for Karate, holds some annual Karate championships to promote the sport.[18] Bangladesh Karate Do is the most famous among the Karate training institutes in Bangladesh.[19]


The Bangladesh Taekwondo Federation was formed in 1996 and is affiliated with the World Taekwondo Federation.[20] Bangladesh Taekwondo team achieved 2 Gold at Open International Taekwondo Championships-2009 held in Seoul from 18–22 August 2009.[21] Bangladesh has also won some gold medals at the South Asian games.[22]

National competition

Bangladesh Games

Main article: Bangladesh Games



International competition

Olympic Games

Asian Games

Commonwealth Games


  1. "All Affiliated National Federation/Association". National Sports Council. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  2. Melik, James (2011-04-28). "BBC News - Bangladesh football vies with cricket for sponsorship". Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  3. "Bangladesh To Go Grassroots In '09". 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2012-11-01.
  4. "Taking Bangladesh to new heights Niaz Murshed: South Asia's first Grand Master". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  5. Siddikur Rahman was the champion in the Indian open Golf in 2013. ( Siddikur Secures Historic Win
  6. "Achievements". Ministry of Youth and Sports, Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  7. 1 2 The Financial Express (Bangladesh) retrieved 10 July 2009
  8. "GP Open squash". The Daily Star. 31 May 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  9. "Swapan wins squash title". The Daily Star. 2011-08-01. Retrieved 2012-02-26.
  11. "TT in Bangladesh". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  12. New Age, Bangladesh. Available from Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  13. 10Kswim Heroes Retrieved 5 July 2010
  14. Kings of Channel, from Channel Swimming Association Website.
  15. "Archery, a promising event". The Financial Express Bangladesh. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  16. "Md. Emdadul Haque Milon". Bangladesh Olympic Association. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  17. "Boxing for a bright future". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  18. "Bangladesh Karate Federation". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  19. "A dragon in a Dhakaite's shadow". Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  20. "About Us". Bangladesh Taekwondo Federation. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  21. "Achievements". Ministry of Youth and Sports. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  22. "Bangladesh eye taekwondo gold". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Retrieved 25 January 2013.
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