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Ever wondered what fuels the passion in Malaysia?

It’s not just their flavorful cuisine or rich culture!

When it comes to sports in Malaysia, badminton definitely leads the pack.

But what other games stir the Malaysian soul?

Explore the most popular sports in Malaysia through our list.

Most Popular Sports in Malaysia:

  1. Badminton
  2. Soccer
  3. Sepak Takraw
  4. Field Hockey
  5. Swimming
  6. Cycling
  7. Athletics
  8. Squash
  9. Bowling
  10. Volleyball
  11. Rugby

#1 Badminton

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Lee Chong Wei (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Malaysia: 1 Million

Badminton is Malaysia’s national pride with a rich history of triumphs and achievements. The sport has woven its way into the nation’s heart, and Malaysians closely follow both local and international badminton events.

The Malaysia Open is an annual badminton tournament that attracts top players from around the globe, stirring excitement among Malaysian fans. One cannot mention Malaysian badminton without honoring Lee Chong Wei, a three-time Olympic silver medalist who has significantly shaped the country’s badminton success.

With a strong foundation and a legacy of great players, badminton continues to be Malaysia’s sports powerhouse.

#2 Soccer

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Soh Chin Aun (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Malaysia: 1.5 Million

Soccer, a worldwide phenomenon, has found a dedicated fan base in Malaysia. The sport is deeply rooted in the nation’s culture, bringing people together to support their favorite teams and players.

The Malaysia Super League is the country’s top-tier soccer league, driving enthusiasm and commitment among fans. Soh Chin Aun, a.k.a “The Iron Man,” remains an icon in Malaysian soccer history, having represented the national team in numerous regional and international tournaments.

With a passionate following and a growing pool of talent, soccer in Malaysia is a force to be reckoned with.

#3 Sepak Takraw

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: Early 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Jamaluddin Hassan (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Malaysia: 250,000

Sepak Takraw, a traditional Southeast Asian sport, is especially popular in Malaysia. Combining elements of soccer and volleyball, the game demands agility, endurance, and skill from its players.

The Malaysia Sepak Takraw League paves the way for local talent to showcase their prowess and compete for national recognition. Jamaluddin Hassan, known for his acrobatic skills and masterful technique, is a Malaysian Sepak Takraw icon.

Fostering both cultural and athletic pride, Sepak Takraw remains a fan-favorite pastime in Malaysia.

#4 Field Hockey

Field Hockey
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Dharmaraj Ravindran (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Malaysia: 200,000

Field hockey holds a significant place in Malaysia, alongside its worldwide success. The sport has a long history in the country, and fans eagerly follow both local leagues and international competitions.

The Malaysia Hockey League is the nation’s leading field hockey tournament, fostering competition among clubs from various regions. Dharmaraj Ravindran, the former national hockey team captain, is an esteemed figure in Malaysia’s field hockey arena.

With a solid foundation and a supportive fan base, field hockey’s prominence in Malaysia stands strong and enduring.

#5 Swimming

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Swimmer from Malaysia: Pandelela Rinong (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Swimmers in Malaysia: 500,000

Swimming attracts aficionados from across Malaysia, with its diverse events catering to various styles. The sport invites athletes to demonstrate their strength, speed, and technique in both local and international competitions.

The Malaysia Open Swimming Championships is a prestigious event drawing top talent from the nation and neighboring countries. Pandelela Rinong made history as the first Malaysian female Olympic medalist in diving, a testament to Malaysia’s competitiveness in aquatic sports.

Swimming in Malaysia continues to make waves, fostering athleticism, discipline, and sportsmanship.

#6 Cycling

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Cyclist from Malaysia: Josiah Ng (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Cycling Enthusiasts in Malaysia: 1 Million

Cycling, both as a sport and a leisure activity, has a special place in Malaysian hearts. With sprawling landscapes and well-maintained road networks, Malaysia is a haven for passionate cyclists.

The annual Tour de Langkawi is the country’s premier professional cycling race, attracting international competitors and spectators. Track cyclist Josiah Ng, a celebrated figure in Malaysian cycling, has notably represented the nation in international arenas.

Promoting health, teamwork, and friendly competition, cycling in Malaysia enjoys a growing popularity among enthusiasts of all ages.

#7 Athletics

High jump
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1930s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Athlete from Malaysia: Lee Hup Wei (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Athletics Enthusiasts in Malaysia: 1 Million

Athletics, the cornerstone of many sporting events, is well-loved in Malaysia. Its diverse disciplines have produced a multitude of national champions who embody strength, endurance, and agility.

The Malaysian Open Athletics Championships propels local talent to the forefront, often leading to regional and global participation. High jumper Lee Hup Wei, a multiple SEA Games gold medalist, stands out among Malaysia’s athletic heroes.

With continuing efforts to produce champions and nurture the sport, athletics remains a vital aspect of Malaysia’s sporting culture.

#8 Squash

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1970s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Nicol David (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Squash Players in Malaysia: 100,000

Squash has carved a niche in the Malaysian sports world, with a legacy of celebrated players who have triumphed on the global stage. The fast-paced and strategic game challenges both physical and mental capabilities.

The Malaysian National Squash Championships showcases the country’s top players, demonstrating their skill and prowess in the sport. Nicol David, the longest-reigning world champion, is a testament to Malaysia’s talent and dedication in the world of squash.

With its growing fan base and a nation of inspired players, squash’s prominence in Malaysia remains unshakable.

#9 Bowling

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1960s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Shalin Zulkifli (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Bowling Enthusiasts in Malaysia: 400,000

Bowling is an excellent recreational and competitive sport in Malaysia, attracting diverse age groups with its blend of skill, strategy, and fun. The indoor sport promotes friendship and sporting spirit across the nation.

The Malaysian International Open Bowling Championship attracts top bowlers from around the globe, offering a world-class competition for players and spectators. Shalin Zulkifli, the country’s most decorated bowler, has represented Malaysia in numerous international events and earned various titles.

Remaining a popular pastime and a competitive sport, Malaysia’s love for bowling stays strong and unwavering.

#10 Volleyball

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Chew Eng Soon (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Volleyball Players in Malaysia: 300,000

Volleyball is a popular team sport in Malaysia, enjoyed by enthusiasts across the nation. The dynamic, fast-paced game appeals to athletes and spectators alike with its blend of teamwork, strategy, and power.

The Malaysia Volleyball League serves as the premier league within the country, fostering the spirit of competition and camaraderie. Malaysian player Chew Eng Soon has represented the national team in regional and international tournaments, contributing to the sport’s credibility on a global stage.

Cultivating sportsmanship, teamwork, and dedication, volleyball maintains a significant place in Malaysia’s sporting culture.

#11 Rugby

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Malaysia: 1890s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from Malaysia: Saizul Hafifi Md Noor (Malaysian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Rugby Players in Malaysia: 150,000

Rugby has gained traction in Malaysia, capturing the hearts of sports enthusiasts with its unique blend of strength, agility, and teamwork. The action-packed sport has given rise to a vibrant community of dedicated players and fans.

The Malaysia Rugby Union organizes various regional and national competitions, elevating the game’s status within the country. Saizul Hafifi, a prolific player, has garnered recognition for his talent on the field, contributing to Malaysia’s growing rugby presence.

As the sport continues to grow in both talent and popularity, rugby solidifies its place in Malaysia’s sports ecosystem.


What is the most popular sport in Malaysia?

The most popular sport in Malaysia is badminton, known for its rich history of triumphs and achievements, with a large fan base and a legacy of great players, including the celebrated Lee Chong Wei.

What is the national sport of Malaysia?

The national sport of Malaysia is badminton, deeply ingrained in the nation’s heart and synonymous with the country’s pride, boasting a rich tradition of competitiveness and success on the global stage.

What are the most watched sports in Malaysia?

The most watched sports in Malaysia include badminton, soccer, sepak takraw, field hockey, swimming, cycling, athletics, squash, bowling, volleyball, and rugby, each holding a significant place in the country’s sports landscape and attracting fans nationwide.

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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