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Discover the passion and excitement of sports in Iraq!

From soccer fields to wrestling arenas, the people of Iraq have a love for diverse sports that bring communities together.

Find out the top 11 most popular sports in Iraq in our list.

Most Popular Sports in Iraq:

  1. Soccer
  2. Golf
  3. Basketball
  4. Volleyball
  5. Baseball
  6. Athletics
  7. Cycling
  8. Aikido
  9. Weightlifting
  10. Wrestling
  11. Handball

#1 Soccer

Football (Soccer)
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Iraq: Younis Mahmoud (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Iraq: 1 Million

Soccer is undoubtedly the most beloved sport in Iraq, with its popularity permeating every corner of the country. The sport is played and watched passionately by people of all ages and backgrounds.

The Iraqi Premier League is the top-tier domestic soccer competition, featuring strong rivalries between teams, and drawing large crowds to live matches. Younis Mahmoud, the retired Iraqi national team captain and forward, is considered the most famous Iraqi soccer player, having led the team to victory in the 2007 Asian Cup.

The Asian Cup triumph remains a source of immense pride and joy for the soccer-loving Iraqi nation, forever etched in the hearts of its people.

#2 Golf

golf
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Iraq: Ahmed Al-Saraj (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Iraq: 10,000

Golf in Iraq has experienced a resurgence in recent years, with a new generation of players taking an interest in the sport. The grounds might be limited, but the passion for the game is growing.

Although Iraq does not have any major domestic golf leagues or global star players, Ahmed Al-Saraj is recognized as a dedicated golfer who has promoted the sport in the country. In the face of adversity, Al-Saraj built a makeshift golf course in Baghdad to keep the sport alive during challenging times.

With golf gradually gaining ground, the sport continues to foster a sense of tranquility, discipline, and hope in a nation striving to rebuild.

#3 Basketball

Basketball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1930s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Iraq: Ali Hameed (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Iraq: 150,000

Basketball is steadily gaining popularity in Iraq, with local communities embracing the sport. From casual street games to organized leagues, the game has found a foothold in the hearts of many Iraqis.

The Iraqi Basketball Association Championship represents the highest level of domestic competition, with numerous teams across the country participating. Ali Hameed, a talented point guard and national team player, has contributed to raising the profile of Iraqi basketball through his on-court performances.

Basketball in Iraq continues to grow, inspiring young athletes to take up the sport and fostering a sense of collective pride within the country.

#4 Volleyball

Volleyball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Iraq: Laith Hussein (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Iraq: 100,000

Volleyball enjoys considerable popularity in Iraq, with the sport being played in schools, parks, and neighborhoods across the nation. Its combination of athleticism, teamwork, and strategy attracts a diverse range of enthusiasts.

The Iraqi Volleyball Association oversees domestic leagues and competitions, ensuring that the sport thrives at both grassroots and professional levels. Laith Hussein, an accomplished Iraqi volleyball player, has represented his country in numerous international competitions, earning recognition and admiration from fans.

As an accessible sport that fosters community engagement and camaraderie, volleyball continues to hold a special place in the Iraqi sports scene.

#5 Baseball

Baseball Softball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Iraq: Samir Hasan (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Iraq: 20,000

Baseball is a niche sport in Iraq, but it has attracted a small yet passionate fanbase. The sport has gained a foothold in the country thanks to local enthusiasts and dedicated players who continue to promote and celebrate the game.

Though there is no professional league in Iraq, amateur teams and community leagues keep the spirit of baseball alive. Samir Hasan, an accomplished Iraqi player, has garnered attention for his dedication to the sport.

Baseball, with its emphasis on teamwork and camaraderie, continues to build a committed community of players and fans across Iraq.

#6 Athletics

Athletics
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Athlete from Iraq: Dana Hussein (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Athletics Enthusiasts in Iraq: 150,000

Athletics has long been a part of Iraq’s sporting culture, with the country producing talented athletes who have represented Iraq on the international stage. The discipline and dedication required in athletics have struck a chord with Iraqi sports fans.

Local track and field competitions serve as the foundation for athletics in Iraq, fostering the next generation of champions. Sprinter Dana Hussein has boosted Iraqi athletics’ profile through her impressive performances in international competitions.

Iraqi athletes continue to make their mark in the world of athletics, fueling the pride and aspirations of future generations.

#7 Cycling

Road Bicycle Racing
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1930s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Cyclist from Iraq: Ahmed Wais (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Cycling Enthusiasts in Iraq: 500,000

Cycling holds a special place in the hearts of Iraqis, both as a means of transportation and a competitive sport. The diverse landscape of the country offers opportunities for various types of cycling, from casual rides to challenging races.

While Iraq may lack a professional cycling league, local races and amateur events help fuel enthusiasm for the sport. Cyclist Ahmed Wais has represented Iraq in international competitions, reflecting the growing interest in the sport among the youth.

Cycling’s eco-friendly nature and the sense of freedom it provides make it a beloved pastime and sport for many Iraqis.

#8 Aikido

Aikido
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1990s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Practitioner from Iraq: Haider Jabbar (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Practitioners in Iraq: 10,000

Aikido, a Japanese martial art, has garnered a dedicated following in Iraq as more people become interested in its principles of self-defense, harmony, and personal development. The sport emphasizes blending with an opponent’s movements rather than using brute force, making it accessible to a diverse range of enthusiasts.

Several Aikido dojos have been established in Iraq, teaching students the art’s techniques and principles. Haider Jabbar, an Iraqi Aikido instructor, has played a significant role in popularizing the martial art across the country.

With a focus on spiritual growth and self-improvement, Aikido continues to inspire and unite Iraqis through its unique blend of physical and mental training.

#9 Weightlifting

Weightlifting
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Weightlifter from Iraq: Salwan Abbood (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Practitioners in Iraq: 30,000

Weightlifting has a strong presence in Iraq, with many athletes dedicating themselves to the challenging and disciplined sport. The Iraqi Weightlifting Federation provides the structure and support for the sport’s growth and development in the country.

While there is no specific professional league for weightlifting in Iraq, local and national competitions showcase the talent and dedication of Iraqi athletes. Salwan Abbood is a prominent Iraqi weightlifter, having represented the country in various international events, including the Olympic Games.

Weightlifting’s emphasis on strength, discipline, and perseverance resonates with the Iraqi people, making it a respected sport within the nation.

#10 Wrestling

Wrestling
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Wrestler from Iraq: Ali Al-Zaidi (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Wrestlers in Iraq: 40,000

Wrestling is a popular sport in Iraq, and it holds a special place in the country’s sporting culture due to its ancient roots and rich heritage. The sport tests an athlete’s strength, balance, and endurance, making it an exciting and engaging spectacle.

Local wrestling clubs and informal tournaments fuel the sport’s growth in Iraq, attracting aspiring athletes and enthusiasts alike. Ali Al-Zaidi, an accomplished Iraqi wrestler, has represented Iraq in international competitions, earning recognition for his performances.

Wrestling continues to maintain its presence in Iraq, contributing to the nation’s rich sporting culture and inspiring new generations to take up the challenge.

#11 Handball

Handball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Iraq: 1960s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Iraq: Ali Hussein (Iraqi)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Iraq: 50,000

Handball is a captivating sport in Iraq, with its dynamic gameplay and non-stop action appealing to a broad range of enthusiasts. The Iraqi Handball Federation‘s efforts have helped develop and promote the sport across the country, engaging both players and fans.

Though Iraq does not have a professional handball league, national tournaments and local competitions ignite the passion for handball among the population. Ali Hussein, a standout Iraqi handball player, has made significant contributions to the sport by representing Iraq in international competitions.

As handball continues to grow in popularity, it entrenches itself as an integral part of Iraq’s sporting scene, offering excitement, teamwork, and entertainment.

FAQ

What is the most popular sport in Iraq?

Soccer, also known as football, is the most popular sport in Iraq, deeply connected to the country’s culture, with a massive following and enthusiasm shared by people of all ages and backgrounds.

What is the national sport of Iraq?

The national sport of Iraq is soccer (football), holding a special place in the country’s cultural and sporting traditions, uniting communities and igniting passion among the Iraqi people.

What are the most watched sports in Iraq?

The most watched sports in Iraq include soccer (football), followed by basketball, volleyball, handball, athletics, cycling, and wrestling, each drawing sizable interest and fan bases throughout the country.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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