Sport in Jamaica
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Sport in Jamaica is a significant part of Jamaican culture. The most popular sports are those imported from Britain. The most popular sport is cricket; other popular sports include association football, athletics, and netball. Other sports such as rugby league and rugby union are considered growing sports.
Cricket is the most popular sport in Jamaica. The Jamaica national cricket team has won ten Regional Four Day Competitions and seven WICB Cups. Jamaicans also play for the West Indies cricket team, which won the 1975 and 1979 Cricket World Cup. Jamaica has produced some of the worlds most famous cricketers, including George Headley, Courtney Walsh, Chris Gayle and Michael Holding.
Association football is a very popular sport in Jamaica, and is played at the professional and amateur levels, as well as informally on the street. The Jamaica national football team has won the Caribbean Cup five times, in 1991, 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2010. In addition, Jamaica advanced to the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where they earned a 2-1 win against Japan, although failing to advance past the first round. The Jamaican National Premier League is the first division football league in the country. The top two teams from Jamaica qualify for the CFU Club Championship. A top three finish in the CFU Club Championship grants a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Jamaica is one of the leading countries in sprinting with the current world record holder for 100m and 200m, Usain Bolt and the former 100m world record holder, Asafa Powell, both originating from the island. Yohan Blake, silver medalist at the 2012 London Olympics in the 100m and 200m hailed from Jamaica also. Also, a team of four Jamaicans, Bolt included (Powell being absent in Daegu 2011 due to injury), won the gold and broke the World Record in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2011 IAAF World Athletics Championships, their new personal best being 37.04, from 37.10 in 2008. They broke the record for a third time at the 2012 London Olympics in a time of 36.84, being the only country to run sub-37 seconds. In addition, the country has a very strong high school athletics program throughout the schools which sees top high schools compete each year in the Inter-Secondary Schools Boys’ and Girls’ Championships. The 2010 winners of the event were Wolmer's Boy's School and Holmwood Technical High School (girls). The ability of Jamaicans to dominate the sprint is only further enhanced and highlighted by the supremacy of Usain Bolt, who earned his Olympic 'Double-Triple' (retaining his 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay titles from the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the 2012 London Olympics).
Netball is a popular sport among Jamaican women, and is the country's most popular women's sport. The Jamaica national netball team, known as the Sunshine Girls, have participated in the Netball World Championships every year since their inception in 1963.
Rugby league is a growing sport in Jamaica. The Jamaican national rugby league team is made up of both Jamaicans playing in local competition and British players of Jamaican descent who play for professional and semi-professional teams in the United Kingdom. Their first international was a 37-22 loss to the United States national rugby league team in November 2009. Rugby league in Jamaica is growing with universities and high schools taking up the sport. The JRLA Championship is the main rugby league competition in the country. The country's first professional team, Hurricanes Rugby League, was established in 2011, and are looking to compete in either the USA Rugby League or the American National Rugby League by 2013. During that time they will be training young players aged 14–19 who will be part of the Hurricanes RL Academy in the hope of developing into full time professional players.