Most Popular Sports in Iran

Iranians have long attached great importance to sports. The history of sports such as horseback riding, archery, and swimming in Iran dates back to three thousand years ago.
At present, a large number of sports in Iran, both modern and traditional, are active and have their own athletes. Wrestling is one of the sports that has had many fans in Iran since ancient times. But today the most popular sport among Iranians is undoubtedly soccer. Almost all cities and regions in Iran have their own local soccer team. Esteghlal and Persepolis (or Piruzi) are famous teams in Iran that have many fans in all cities and villages of Iran. Every year, this soccer match has thousands of spectators in the stadium and millions of TV viewers.
Volleyball, basketball, karate, bodybuilding, and handball are other sports that have many fans in Iran, especially among young people.

Tehran was the first city where the Asian Games were held. These games were held in 1974 in Tehran. Wrestling is the most honorable sport in Iran and a breeding ground for the namesakes and heroes of this region, which has always had a close relationship with chivalry and kindness. The presence of a large number of spectators in wrestling halls shows the fact that the discipline is popular throughout Iran.

About Tehran (Capital of Iran):

Tochal Peak

Milad Tower

Golestan Palace

Valiasr Street

History of sport in Iran

The history of sports and sports competitions in ancient Iran is not as clear as it should be. In some areas, Iranian sports are older than Greek sports. In ancient Greece, the Olympics included running, wrestling, boxing, horse racing, chariot racing; But in Iran, while some of these sports have a longer history, sports such as archery, rowing, etc. have been common.
Among the countries of the Orient, Iran was undoubtedly the only country in its education system that had given the highest priority to sports and physical education. The Iranians recognized the importance and value of the body’s ability and health as a very important means of providing a victorious army.
Herodotus, the famous Greek historian, writes: “Iranians learned three things from the age of five to twenty; Riding, archery, and honesty.

Ancient Iranian wrestling

Iranians have long been interested in martial arts, and one of their great goals in wrestling and martial arts has been to prepare themselves for wrestling and hand-to-hand combat, and there are many stories in ancient Iranian writers’ books and stories Folk tales all indicate the extraordinary status and importance of the heroic among Iranians.
Due to the attention of its predecessors to high physical strength, this sport has been of special value for overcoming enemies in wars and has been a part of men’s daily activities. It has its customs and every visitor who enters this place for the first time will be fascinated by it. Ancient wrestling, according to historical evidence, dates back to the early seventh century AH.

History of polo in Iran

Polo has existed in Iran since the time of the Achaemenid princes in 600 BC. They were sitting on horses, wearing military uniforms and playing polo. Polo was also known as the game of kings due to its popularity among kings and nobles, and Iranian horsemen could test the talent of their war horses in playing polo. Artifacts from the past millennia show that polo spread from Iran to India. Rudaki is also the first poet to talk about polo after Islam and Ferdowsi wrote the story of Siavash and Afrasiab polo-playing, but polo Culminated during the Safavid period. Historical documents show that Shah Abbas Safavi himself played polo and played polo in Qazvin, which was the capital of Iran before Isfahan, before declaring Isfahan the capital. It was during the presence of Shah Abbas in Isfahan that the historical Naghsh Jahan Square was built for playing polo. At the same time, Naghsh Jahan Square hosted hundreds of polo riders. In 1860, polo became popular in England, and although polo is now practiced professionally in more than 77 countries, it has been forgotten in Iran since the Safavid period, and today there are few professional polo athletes in Iran.

Soccer in Iran

The history of soccer in Iran is 100 years old and soccer was officially established for the first time in 1278 in the city of Masjed-e-Soleyman by British workers who had settled in this city to extract oil.
The first Iranian to officially play in a soccer team in Iran with the British was Karim Zandi, and his presence lasted from 1287 to 1297.
In 1300, with the formation of an association called the Association for the Promotion of soccer in Tehran, was the American Soccer School and taught soccer for the first time.
the first official match of Iranian soccer was in 1308, in which Iran played against the Soviet Badkoobeh team.
The national soccer team of Iran was established in 1317 and 1318 and in its first match, it played against the Afghan team in Amjadieh Stadium. The Iranian Soccer Federation was established in 1325 and became a member of FIFA in 1326. In 1978, the national team was able to obtain a permit to participate in the World Cup for the first time and became one of the top teams in Asia.

In the past decades, Iranian soccer made great progress in the national field as well as in the club, and the Iranian national soccer team participated in the 1998 World Cup in France, 2006 in Germany, 2014 in Brazil, and 2018 in Russia.
In the field of club teams, Iranian soccer also has big teams such as Persepolis, Esteghlal, Sepahan, Zobahan, which have achieved great success in Asia, and the two big teams of Esteghlal and Persepolis are the two top Iranian soccer teams, which have millions of fans. They have fans in Iran and even outside Iran, and therefore the confrontation between these two teams is very important and attractive from the point of view of soccer fans, and these two club teams are a kind of traditional rival of each other.

Volleyball in Iran

Iran’s national volleyball team is among the top ten teams in the world. The Iranian national team is ranked eighth in the world with 137 points in the latest FIVB World ranking, which was published in October 2018. From 2009 to 2018, the Iranian national team won two Asian Cups, two Asian Games gold, a fourth place in the World League and a sixth place in the World Cup. Iran’s national team in 2016 in the Olympic qualifiers was able to climb to the Rio 2016 Olympics as the second team after 52 years.

Basketball in Iran

The sport of basketball was officially introduced to Iran by an Iranian student named Fereydoun Sharifzadeh, who studied in Turkey, and for the first time in Alborz High School in Tehran, it was introduced to the students of this high school. This period has started in our country. With the spread of this sport in our country in 1324 AD, coinciding with 1945 AD, the Basketball Federation was established in the country and became a member of the World Federation of this sport. Exactly three years later, in 1948, our national basketball team succeeded in obtaining a license to participate in its first international competition, the London Olympics, and won 14th place. After the London Olympics, our country was invited to participate in the European basketball competitions in 1950, which were held in Turkey, in which our country was able to win third place in the competitions with the dazzling brilliance of the players. A year later, our country succeeded in achieving third place in Asia in the first Asian Games, which was held in India, which was the beginning of our country’s basketball activity, and our country’s basketball has always been one of the main contenders for the championship in Asia.

Titles won in world and Asian competitions

  • Asian Championship: 3 times in 2007, 2009, 2013, and in 2015 third place in Asia
  • Asian Games: 1 runner-up in 2014 and 3 times third place in 1951, 2006, 2010
  • West Asian Championship: 5 seasons in 2004, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2013 2 runners-up in 2012, 2014
  • Asian Cup Competition: 2 seasons 2012, 2014
  • FIBA Diamond Ball Competition: Fourth place in 2008
  • Olympics: Best result in 11th place at the 2008 China Olympics

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