Sport in Algeria
Sport in Algeria dates back to antiquity. In the Aurès Mountains, people played games such as El Kherdba or El khergueba (a chess variant). Playing cards, checkers and chess games are part of Algerian culture. Horse racing (fantasia) and rifle shooting are among the recreational traditions of Algeria.
The first Algerian, Arab and African gold medalist was Boughera El Ouafi in the marathon at the 1928 Olympics of Amsterdam. The second Algerian medalist was marathon runner Alain Mimoun, who won the marathon at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports in Algeria manages sport-related activities.
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The most convenient and the most popular sport in Algeria is association football. During the Algerian War, the FLN football team (Le onze de l'indépendance), consisting of players who later joined the National Liberation Front (FLN) (an Algerian independence movement), participated in several tournaments and sports events.
The Algerian Football Federation (AFF) is an association of Algerian football clubs that organizes national competitions and international matches for the Algeria national football team. The AFF organized the meetings of the Algeria Championship of football, a professional league of 16 clubs, the Algerian Cup, and is also a member of the Confederation of African Football. Notable Algerian players in the history of the sport include: Lakhdar Belloumi, Rachid Mekhloufi, Hassen Lalmas, Rabah Madjer, Salah Assad and Djamel Zidane.
The Algerian national team qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 1982, 1986, 2010 and most recently 2014. In 1982, the national team came close to progressing into the second round, but was eliminated after Germany beat Austria in the so-called "non-aggression pact of Gijón". In 2014 Algeria proceeded to the Round of 16 for the first time after finishing in second place in Group H. Additionally, several football clubs have won continental and international trophies, such as the clubs ES Sétif and JS Kabylia.
Handball is the second most popular spectator and participation sport in Algeria. Algeria's national handball team has six titles at the Men's African Championship, four gold medals at the All-Africa Games and many other titles with many participations in the World Men's Handball Championship and in the Olympic Games. The national clubs are also strong and win many international titles.
Algeria, along with Tunisia, is one of the best African male handball teams. The men's national handball team has won several titles including in the African Championship in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989 and 1996. The women's national handball team has also triumphed in the tournaments of the African Championship and the Pan Arab games.
Algeria has a strong reputation in middle-distance running (800m, 1500m, 5000m); it has had many winners in the IAAF World Championships and gold medals in the Olympic Games. Several men and women have been champions in athletics since the 1990s including Noureddine Morceli, Hassiba Boulmerka, Nouria Mérah-Benida, and Taoufik Makhloufi — all specialists in middle-distance running.
Algeria has had many African and world champions in boxing, and has won many medals in boxing at the Olympic Games. The country's boxing champions have included Mohamed Benguesmia, Loucif Hamani, and Hocine Soltani, the Olympic champion in Atlanta 1996.
Algeria has had tens of thousands of Vovinam practitioners, some of whom competed in the World Championship of 2011 in Ho Chi Minh City. In judo, Amar Benikhlef and Ali Idir have won the African Judo Championships several times in their categories. Several women including Soraya Haddad and Salima Souakri have won medals at the African Championship of Nations of Women's Judo and at the Olympic Games.
Algeria's volleyball team qualified to the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship. They have won titles in several international competitions in the past.
Basketball is another important sport in Algeria; however, the country has won few international titles.
Freestyle swimmer and African and Arabic champion Salim Iles competed in the 2004 Olympics.
Another growing sport in Algeria is Rugby union. The Algeria national rugby team played their first official game on the 18th December 2015 since the creation of the Algerian rugby federation.This historic match was played against the Tunisian rugby union team, to which they won 16 - 6. This was also the first international match played on Algerian soil (Oran), which was televised on the Algerian channel Canal Algerie in the country for the first time.
Major sport events hosted
- 1960 World Military Cup (French Algeria)
- 1975 Mediterranean Games
- 1978 All-Africa Games
- 1990 African Cup of Nations
- 2004 Pan Arab Games
- 2005 Volleyball U19 World Championship
- 2007 All-Africa Games
Best athletes of the year
- Rugby union in Algeria
- Marathon des Dunes
- Algeria national rugby union team
- Algerian Rugby Federation
- (in Arabic) (in French) Official website of the Ministry of Youth and Sport