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Have you ever pondered the spirit of Romania?

It’s not just in its castles or traditional dances!

When it comes to sports in Romania, soccer surely leads the pack.

But what other sports excite the Romanian people?

Uncover the most popular sports in Romania in our list.

Most Popular Sports in Romania:

  1. Soccer
  2. Handball
  3. Basketball
  4. Volleyball
  5. Gymnastics
  6. Tennis
  7. Athletics
  8. Wrestling
  9. Canoeing
  10. Swimming
  11. Table Tennis

#1 Soccer

Soccer
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: Early 1900s
  • 🌟Most Famous Player from Romania: Gheorghe Hagi (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Romania: 1.8 Million

Soccer holds a special place in the hearts of Romanians. The sport is incredibly popular and attracts passionate fans from all across the country.

Liga I, Romania’s top-tier soccer league, is closely followed by enthusiasts. The country’s pride in their teams is evident, both during domestic league matches and international competitions. Gheorghe Hagi, nicknamed “The King” by fans, is Romania’s most celebrated player and a symbol of national pride.

Notably, Romania’s performance in the 1994 FIFA World Cup remains a cherished memory, where they reached the quarter-finals. Soccer’s significance in Romania continues to be reinforced by historical moments like these.

#2 Handball

Handball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 1930s
  • 🌟Most Famous Player from Romania: Cristina Neagu (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Romania: 85,000

Handball enjoys immense popularity in Romania, with its thrilling matches and remarkable players captivating the nation.

Romania’s Liga NaΘ›ionalΔƒ is the leading handball competition, featuring both men’s and women’s leagues. Romanian handball stars such as Cristina Neagu have reached international acclaim, further igniting the love for the sport.

The Romanian women’s national team has consistently performed well in international competitions, earning multiple medals in European Championships and World Championships. Such achievements highlight handball’s significance in Romania’s sports culture.

#3 Basketball

Basketball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 1930s
  • 🌟Most Famous Player from Romania: Gheorghe MureΘ™an (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Romania: 50,000

Basketball may have originated in North America, but it has found a dedicated following in Romania. The sport has seen consistent growth in viewership, participation, and talent within the country.

The Liga NaΘ›ionalΔƒ is the top professional basketball league in Romania, showcasing the country’s best talent in dynamic and competitive matches. Gheorghe MureΘ™an, who played in the NBA and holds the record for the tallest player in NBA history, stands as Romania’s most famous basketball athlete.

Romanian fans avidly follow both local and international basketball competitions, solidifying basketball’s prominent position among the nation’s popular sports.

#4 Volleyball

Volleyball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 1930s
  • 🌟Most Famous Player from Romania: Nadia Centoni (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Romania: 25,000

Volleyball holds a vital place in Romania’s sports scene, drawing in enthusiastic fans and skilled athletes.

The Divizia A1, consisting of both men’s and women’s leagues, is Romania’s premier volleyball competition, drawing attention from fans across the nation. Noteworthy players like Nadia Centoni have cemented their place in the volleyball world, garnering acclaim and recognition.

Romanians not only passionately support their local teams but also keep a keen eye on international volleyball events. The sport’s exhilarating nature and intense gameplay keep volleyball a popular choice among Romanian sports enthusiasts.

#5 Gymnastics

Gymnastics
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Gymnast from Romania: Nadia ComΔƒneci (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Gymnasts in Romania: 10,000

Gymnastics occupies a significant place in Romania’s sports culture, inspiring generations of talented and passionate athletes.

The country is renowned for its gymnastics success, with numerous national and international competitions showcasing Romanian talent. Nadia ComΔƒneci, the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 in the Olympics, is considered a national treasure and a testament to Romania’s prowess in the sport.

Memorable moments such as Nadia’s historic performance at the 1976 Montreal Olympics have left an indelible mark on the nation. Romanian gymnasts continue to excel, solidifying gymnastics as a cherished sport in the country.

#6 Tennis

Tennis
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: Early 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Player from Romania: Simona Halep (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in Romania: 35,000

Tennis is widely appreciated and admired in Romania, contributing significantly to the country’s sporting identity.

The Bucharest Open, a popular national competition, draws tennis enthusiasts and showcases domestic talent. Romanian tennis players, such as Simona Halep, a two-time Grand Slam winner, have achieved international success and recognition.

Romanians passionately follow and support local and international tennis events, appreciating the sport’s elegance, discipline, and competition. With a thriving tennis scene and exceptional athletes, tennis continues to hold a prominent position in Romania’s sports culture.

#7 Athletics

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Athlete from Romania: Gabriela Szabo (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Athletic Enthusiasts in Romania: 15,000

Athletics encompass an essential part of Romania’s sports landscape, with the country producing numerous champions, medalists, and record holders.

Gabriela Szabo, the Olympic gold medalist and world champion in middle-distance running, remains an iconic figure in Romanian athletics. The nation hosts various national and international athletic events, such as the Bucharest International Marathon, which draw significant attention.

Romania’s proud athletic history continues to inspire new generations of athletes, solidifying its importance within the country’s sports culture.

#8 Wrestling

Wrestling
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Wrestler from Romania: Nicolae GhiΘ›Δƒ (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Wrestlers in Romania: 2,500

Wrestling is an integral part of Romania’s sporting tradition, with a strong emphasis on technique, discipline, and strength.

The country has produced remarkable wrestlers who have competed on international platforms. Nicolae GhiΘ›Δƒ, the Olympic medalist and three-time European champion, is a shining example of Romanian wrestling talent.

National championships and international tournaments, such as the European Wrestling Championships, are closely followed by Romanian fans, showcasing the sport’s rich cultural significance in the nation. With a solid foundation and committed athletes, wrestling continues to hold its ground in Romania’s sports environment.

#9 Canoeing

Canoeing
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: Mid 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Canoeist from Romania: Ivan Patzaichin (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Canoeing Enthusiasts in Romania: 5,000

Canoeing, both as a sport and a leisure activity, has found a special place in Romania’s sports sphere. The country’s numerous lakes and rivers provide perfect conditions for this exciting sport.

Ivan Patzaichin, a multiple Olympic gold medalist and world champion, has elevated Romania’s status in the canoeing world. His accomplishments have inspired a new generation of canoeing enthusiasts. The sport enjoys significant attention, with national championships and international competitions like the Canoe Sprint European Championships being followed avidly by Romanian fans.

With its beautiful natural landscapes and dedicated athletes, canoeing continues to occupy a prominent position in Romania’s sports culture.

#10 Swimming

Swimming
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Swimmer from Romania: Camelia Potec (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Swimming Enthusiasts in Romania: 25,000

Swimming has an essential role in Romania’s sports landscape, with the country producing several outstanding swimmers who have excelled in international competitions.

Camelia Potec, the Olympic gold medalist and European champion, is a prime example of Romania’s swimming talent. Her success has paved the way for many aspiring swimmers in the country. National swimming championships and international events such as the European Swimming Championships receive considerable attention from Romanian fans.

Swimming’s popularity in Romania can be attributed to the perseverance of its athletes and the achievements they have made on the global stage.

#11 Table Tennis

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in Romania: 20th Century
  • 🌟Most Famous Player from Romania: Ovidiu Ionescu (Romanian)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Table Tennis Players in Romania: 8,000

Table tennis not only provides excitement and agility but also holds a special place in Romania’s sports scene.

The Romanian Table Tennis Federation oversees competitions and the development of the sport within the country. Players like Ovidiu Ionescu are making an impact on the international stage, giving fans a reason to follow and support Romanian table tennis.

National championships, as well as international tournaments such as the European Table Tennis Championships, are followed with enthusiasm by Romanian fans. As Romania continues to develop its table tennis scene, the sport’s popularity and relevance in the country’s sports culture grow stronger.

FAQ

What is the most popular sport in Romania?

Soccer, also known as football, is the most popular sport in Romania, deeply embedded in the nation’s culture, and drawing widespread support from fans, with millions following domestic and international competitions.

What is the national sport of Romania?

The national sport of Romania is soccer (football), as it dominates the country’s sporting landscape and attracts passionate fan bases, uniting Romanians in support of national and local teams.

What are the most watched sports in Romania?

The most watched sports in Romania are soccer (football), followed by handball, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, tennis, and athletics, each enjoying significant viewership and dedicated fan bases throughout the country.

I'm a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. I run stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton, took part in the German Mini Golf Championships, started learning 'real' Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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