When it comes to the most popular racket sports such as badminton and table tennis, it’s clear where the most successful players come from. The land of racket sport skills is Asia, whether a table tennis star Ma Long from China or Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia. In addition, the most played racket sports are the most popular in Asia too, where the participant can be counted in hundreds of millions.
In this article, I’ll explain why racket sports are so popular in Asia and why they are so good at them compared to the rest of the world.
Why Do Asians Play So Much Racket Sports?
There are over 300 million table tennis players and 220 million badminton players globally. Those numbers lift them to the top of the list of the most popular sports in the world. That said, most of the players come from Asia, so what’s the reason for it?
Racket sports are popular in Asia because of their great success, attracting more people to play. In addition, racket sports such as badminton and table tennis are easily accessible and affordable for everyone, without a requirement for huge outdoor fields or expensive equipment.
The popularity of racket sports, especially badminton and table tennis, is a neverending wheel. First, Asians gain international competitive success in sports, attracting more people to participate. When the government and other authorities see the rising popularity and demand, more table tennis clubs and badminton courts are made, further increasing participation.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how popular rackets sports are in Asia. First, badminton.
As you can see, the top 10 badminton countries by popularity are dominated by Asian countries. Out of the ten countries, only two of them, Denmark and New Zealand aren’t Asian countries.
Next, let’s review table tennis.
By popularity, the top 10 table tennis countries aren’t as Asia-dominated as badminton. Out of the ten countries, only five are Asian countries. Still, the top positions, Singapore, the Philippines, and China, are far ahead of other countries when examining the regional popularity scale.
Looking at the two tables above, you can instantly see how popular badminton and table tennis are in Asia. However, other racket sports such as racquetball, squash, and padel aren’t as popular in Asia. This can be because of many reasons; however, one of the reasons is that they require more raw strength compared to badminton and table tennis.
Why Are Asians So Good At Racket Sports?
Now that you know why racquet sports are so popular in Asia, the answer to why Asians are so good at them is yet unanswered. So, why is that?
In short, Asians are so good at racket sports because the average Asian body type is small, giving them an advantage for high-speed racket sports such as badminton and table tennis. In addition, badminton and table tennis aren’t nearly as popular globally, making the competition smaller.
That said, a more suitable average body type mixed with less competition worldwide equals success.
About the Asian body type, let’s talk science so I can back up my claims.
Table tennis and badminton are both high-speed sports that doesen’t require a drastic amount of power. Therefore, the sports are more fitting to the average Asian body type, which tends to be smaller when compared to people around the world.
A study found in the National Library of Medicine states that Asians tend to have smaller body frames, based on the wrist circumference or elbow width, compared to western people, for example. Smaller bodies are faster than big but less powerful. As it turns out, table tennis and badminton are extremely fast sports that rely more on wrist movement for power instead of pure strength.
When you think about it, it makes total sense. Why do you think Americans are so good at basketball and American football? They are taller and bigger, which gives them an advantage. Again, the statement is, on average, based on large scientifical studies.
The other reason for racket sports and the success of Asian people is because the global competition isn’t as fierce. Badminton especially is seen as a relaxed backyard hobby practically everywhere than Asia, resulting in fewer participants and thus, less real competition.
Regardless of the reasons, you can easily see the Asian domination by looking at Olympic medals from racket sports such as badminton and table tennis. Let’s start with badminton.
Out of the 12 countries with Olympic medals from badminton, seven are Asian, and five are non-Asian.
In addition, in the top 6 countries, only one country, Denmark, has managed to compete with the top Asian countries.
Next, table tennis and their Olympic medalist countries,
Again, out of the total 12 nations, 7 Are Asian. However, the dominance in table tennis isn’t as clear as in badminton. China has a whopping 60 Olympic medals, whereas the next country has 18.
An even bigger gap is with China, and Asian country and the best performed non-Asian country, Sweden from Europe with 3 Olympic medals.
What Country Is the Best In Badminton?
Many countries have won Olympic medals from badminton and even more people within their countries. This raises the question, what country is the best in badminton?
China is by far the best country in badminton, boasting 47 total Olympic medals, wherefrom 20 are gold, 12 silver, and 15 bronze. The second-best nation is Indonesia, with 21 Olympic medals. Therefore, China has more than twice Olympic medals as Indonesia, the second-best country.
China is a land of many people, and given that badminton is extremely popular there, it’s no wonder that they produce a large number of world-class badminton players.
However, table tennis is even bigger in China, especially its national sport. Let’s learn why.
Why Is Table Tennis China’s National Sport?
So, table tennis is China’s national sport? There are over 8000 sports globally, so why did the country with most people choose table tennis as their national sport?
Table tennis is China’s national sport because Chairman Mao Zegon, the former president of the Republic of China, declared it in 1954. The choice was made because table tennis can be played with a few inexpensive pieces of equipment, and it wasn’t highly popular in western countries.
A national sport can’t be horse polo which costs more to play annually than an average Chinese earns in their lifetimes. So, that’s one of the reasons.
Second, table tennis was already very popular in 1954s China, which naturally affected the choice.
Third, each country needs to have something they can call own, without copying or being too similar with other countries, in China’s case, especially the Western ones. Thus, table tennis was a great choice as a national sport because it wasn’t very popular in Western countries.
Nowadays, the person who wrote this post, a.k.a me, lives in a Western country and can’t get enough of table tennis! It’s one of my favorite sports.
My Favorite Badminton Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find some badminton equipment that I love and think you could like!
- Racket: My favorite badminton racket is the Yanox Carbonex 8000 because it fits well with my controlling playstyle. This racket is made from graphite & aluminum and weighs around 85 to 90grams, so it’s medium weight and durable. I love the control and accuracy of this racket, and the design makes me want to play badminton.
- Shuttlecocks: I like to play with yellow nylon shuttlecocks because most courts I play badminton on have a light environment, and I’m not playing at a competitive level. So, I don’t want to spend insane much money on feathers shuttlecocks because they often break. That’s why Yonex Mavis 350 shuttlecocks are my absolute favorite.
- Badminton shoes: When it comes to badminton shoes, they need to have excellent support, shock absorption, and cushioning. As you can see, I’m a Yonex lover, and that’s why I play badminton with Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Z badminton shoes!
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.