Sport in Malaysia
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Sports in Malaysia are an important part of Malaysian culture. Sports in Malaysia are popular from both the participation and spectating aspect. Malaysians from different walks of life join in a wide variety of sports for recreation as well as for competition. In the broadest definition of sports—physical exercise of all sorts—the four most popular recreational sports among the general population of Malaysia are exercise walking, aerobic exercise, strength training, and running. Other most popular sports are bicycling, swimming, climbing, camping, bowling, hiking, fishing, scuba diving and paragliding.
In the spectating aspect, the six spectator sports with most fans are association football, field hockey, rugby union, badminton, volleyball, handball, basketball and mixed martial arts. Malaysia has hosted several major sports events including the Commonwealth Games in 1998.
In the broadest definition of sports—physical exercise of all sorts—the four most popular recreational sports among the general population of Malaysia are exercise walking, aerobic exercise, strength training, and running. Most Malaysians live in housing areas with amenities such as public parks, pedestrian zone, health clubs and sport complexes nearby.
Other most popular sports are bicycling, swimming, climbing, camping, bowling, hiking and fishing. Scuba diving is another recreation, particularly around the southeastern region of Sabah (on the island of Borneo). Paragliding was recently introduced sport in Malaysia which is gaining popularity when many flying locations were developed around the country.
The Malaysia national badminton team has won 6 silver medals and 3 bronze medals in badminton in the Olympic Games since the sport was first introduced to the Olympics in 1992. In 1992 Razif Sidek and Jalani Sidek won the bronze medal in men's doubles. In 1996, Rashid Sidek won the bronze medal in men's singles while Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock won the silver medal in men's doubles. Lee Chong Wei won three silver medals in men's singles each in 2008, 2012 and 2016. In 2016, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying won silver medals in mixed doubles while Tan Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem won silver medals in men's doubles. In 2021, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik won bronze medal in Men's Doubles.
In singles, the top men's shuttler is world number 5 Lee Zii Jia while Malaysia's best women's singles shuttler is Soniia Cheah ranked world number 39. National top men's doubles pair, Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik are placed world number 6 followed by Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi who are ranked world number 10 and also followed by Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin who are ranked world number 12 while the top women's doubles pair, Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan are ranked world number 10 and mixed doubles pair, Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying are ranked world number 8 followed by world number 9 pair Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing in the BWF World Ranking (as of 17 May 2022). The Malaysia national badminton team is ranked world number 7 in the BWF World Team Ranking (as of 3 August 2021).
Malaysia has won the Thomas Cup, the world men's team trophy, five times since it was first contested in 1949 and has been runner-up nine times as of 2014. Malaysia also holds its own annual international badminton tournament, the Malaysia Open, now part of the Badminton World Federation's Super Series of top world class events.
Squash in Malaysia is governed by the Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM). The Kuala Lumpur Open and Malaysian Open are annual squash tournaments held in Malaysia. The Malaysia men's national squash team has reached the quarterfinal stage at the World Team Squash Championships six times. The men's team has won the Asian Squash Team Championships three times. The Malaysia women's national squash team has won the silver medal once and bronze medal at the World Team Squash Championships four times. The women's team has won the Asian Squash Team Championships seven times.
Nicol David is an eight-time world champion and ranked world number 1 in woman squash since 2006. Her compatriots Low Wee Wern and Delia Arnold are ranked world number 7 and 28, respectively in the WSA World Rankings (as of January 2015). Male squash players Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan and Ong Beng Hee are ranked world number 32 and 34, respectively in the PSA World Rankings (as of January 2015).
Hizlee Rais is ranked world number three in the World Bowls Singles Ranking List (as of 20 April 2013).
In 2016, Azizulhasni Awang made history for winning the first Olympic bronze medal in a cycling event. In 2021, Azizulhasni Awang made history again for winning the silver medal in 2021 Olympic men's keirin final. Malaysia hosts two international road cycling tours: the annual Tour de Langkawi and Jelajah Malaysia. Both races are part of the UCI Asia Tour. The Tour de Langkawi is the biggest cycling event in Asia and it is the one of five two hors-category (2.HC) classified races in Asia. The Jelajah Malaysia is the oldest bicycle race in Malaysia, touring around Malaysia.
Track cycling is a growing sport in Malaysia. Malaysia has several velodromes such as National Velodrome at Nilai and Velodrome Rakyat at Ipoh The Velodrome Rakyat is also Malaysia's first velodrome. Extreme cycling, such as mountain biking and urban freestyle BMX is also popular among youth in main cities in Malaysia. Riding bicycles is considered a mode of transportation as well as a recreational and leisure sport.
Azizulhasni Awang, Josiah Ng, Mohd Rizal Tisin, Muhammad Shah Firdaus Sahrom, Fatehah Mustapa and Jupha Somnet are among the top track cyclists in Malaysia. Loh Sea Keong won the general classification and Asian rider classification at the 2013 Jelajah Malaysia. Mohamed Harrif Salleh and Mohamed Zamri Salleh won the points classification and mountain classification respectively at the 2013 Jelajah Malaysia.
Pandelela Rinong took a bronze medal in 10-metre platform event at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She became the first female Malaysian athlete to win a medal at the Olympics, as well as the first to win an Olympic medal in any sport other than Badminton. Bryan Nickson Lomas, Yeoh Ken Nee, Leong Mun Yee, Cheong Jun Hoong, Traisy Vivien Tukiet and Nur Dhabitah Sabri are among the top divers in Malaysia.
Abdil Mahzan was the leader of 2012 World Cup Points final standings. Abdil Mahzan earned the title of IGSA World Cup Series Champion in the street luge event. His personal best maximum speed is 131 km/h, achieved at the 2011 IGSA World Championship in Teutonia, Brazil.
The indigenous martial art of Silat is widely practiced throughout Malaysia. Among Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians, a wide variety of Chinese and Indian martial arts is also popular, such as the art of Silambam among Malaysians of Tamil Indian origin.
In the northern states of peninsular Malaysia, i.e., Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, which were historically influenced by the neighbouring Thai culture, the Thai national sport of muay Thai is practiced. Locally, it is known as tomoi, which is the Malay rendition of the term toi muay (Thai: ต่อยมวย, RTGS: toi muai), an alternative name for muay Thai.
In 2018, Malaysian trio of Nabil Jeffri, Jazeman Jaafar and Weiron Tan won the 2018 6 Hours of Fuji in the LMP2 Class during the fourth round of 2018–19 FIA World Endurance Championship, becoming the first Malaysian drivers to win a FIA World Endurance Championship race.
Khairul Idham Pawi became the first ever Malaysian to win a Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the Moto3 class in 2016 Moto3 in 2016 Argentine motorcycle Grand Prix at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo and 2016 German motorcycle Grand Prix at Sachsenring.
Paragliding was introduced into Malaysia circa 2005 as an extreme sport but gradually grew into becoming a recreational sport among outdoor enthusiasts, gaining wide public awareness and participation through social media awareness. Currently there are 17 flying sites around Malaysia were properly developed to facilitate the activities and they are rated according to their level of difficulties. Over the years, independent organisations such as flying schools, clubs and associations were formed to help develop the sport in terms of its safety standards, pilot training and public awareness.
Paragliders Malaysia (PGMY), Malaysia Sports Aviation Federation (MSAF), Persatuan Luncur Udara Malaysia (PLUM), Persatuan Luncur Udara Terangganu (PLUT) and Persatuan Luncur Udara Sabah (PLUS) are among the many established organisations working together to develop the paragliding sport in Malaysia.
Several international paragliding competitions were held in Malaysia since 2013 such as Bahau International Paragliding Competition (2013), Jugra International Paragliding Accuracy Championship (2015), Paragliding Accuracy World Championship (2015).
The Malaysia national football team (nicknamed Harimau Malaya) represents Malaysia at an international level. The national team captured the country's first major international football title when they became the champion of 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup. The Malaysia national under-23 football team won a gold medal in 2009 and 2011 Southeast Asian Games. The Malaysia national team has qualified for the Asian Cup in 1976, 1980 and 2007 AFC Asian Cup, however, they have never been able to go through to next stage. In the FIFA World Rankings, Malaysia's highest standing was in the first release of the figures, in August 1993, at 75th. It is ranked 153rd in the world and 31st in Asia (as of 18 February 2021). The Malaysia women's national football team is ranked 92nd in the world and 18th in Asia in the FIFA Women's World Rankings (as of 25 June 2021).
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) is the governing body for football in Malaysia. The home stadium of Malaysia national football team is the Bukit Jalil National Stadium. Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Premier League and Malaysia FAM League is a professional football league in Malaysia. Some of the major teams include: Melaka United F.C., Kelantan FA, Terengganu FA, Selangor FA, Penang FA, Kedah FA, Perak FA, Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C., Kuala Lumpur FA and Negeri Sembilan FA. Johor Darul Ta'zim as the 2016 Malaysia Super League champions and the 2016 Malaysia FA Cup then became the only club from Malaysia to become the 2015 AFC Cup champion after beating FC Istiklol 1-0.
In 2022 AFC Champions League, Johor Darul Ta'zim F.C. became the first club from Malaysia to reach the Round of 16 in AFC Champions League after beating the likes of Ulsan Hyundai FC, Kawasaki Frontale and Guangzhou Evergrande to top the group of Group I in 2022 AFC Champions League
Malaysia was a founding member of the Asian Hockey Federation. The national team is Malaysia's representative in field hockey tournaments around the world. In the usual course of things, the team is made up of the best field hockey players in Malaysia. The governing body for the sports is the Malaysian Hockey Confederation. The Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) is a top league competition for field hockey clubs in the Malaysian hockey league system.
At the present time, the men's hockey team is ranked 13th in the world and 3rd in Asia in the FIH World Rankings (as of May 2019). The team won a silver medal in 2010 Asian Games. The Malaysia women's national field hockey team is ranked 22nd in the world and 5th in Asia in the FIH World Rankings (as of May 2019).
Malaysia features multiple national teams for men and women, senior and junior levels. The women's national team has traditionally been more successful than the men's team as it has dominated the Women's tournament at the Southeast Asian Games on many occasions.
The Malaysia national netball team represents Malaysia in international competition. Malaysian Netball Association is the governing body for netball in Malaysia. The team is ranked 23rd in the world and 2nd in Asia in the INF World Rankings (as of 31 October 2014).
The Malaysia national rugby union team represents Malaysia in international rugby union. The governing body is the Malaysian Rugby Union. The team is ranked 50th in the world and 4th in Asia in the IRB World Rankings (as of 2 August 2021). Malaysia have yet to make their debut at the Rugby World Cup, but have attempted to qualify since the South African World Cup in 1995. MRU Super League is the top flight of rugby union league in Malaysia.
Sepak Takraw in Malaysia is governed by Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM). The men's team is ranked world number two in the ISTAF World Ranking (as of 13 November 2014). The women's team is ranked world number three in the ISTAF World Ranking (as of 13 November 2014).
Major sport events
Malaysia participates in international sporting event such as the Olympic Games, the Asian Games, the Commonwealth Games and the Southeast Asian Games. Malaysia has hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games and came in fourth place in the medal tally. Malaysia also has hosted Southeast Asian Games five times and has become the overall champion in the gold medal tally in the 2001 Southeast Asian Games. Malaysian athletes have won a total of eleven Olympic medals, in badminton, cycling and diving.
National Sports Day
The National Sports Day (Malay: Hari Sukan Negara) is a national sports day in Malaysia, held annually on the second Saturday in October, with the main objective of promoting a healthy lifestyle among its population. The first National Sports Day was held in 2015.
The Sukma Games are a biannual event in Malaysia. The event was first held in 1986, and held every two years. Selangor become the sport powerhouse in Malaysia sport industry followed by Sarawak, Perak, Pahang, Penang, Terengganu, Johor, Sabah, Kedah, Federal Territory, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Kelantan and Perlis based on the all-time medal table.
Olympics, Paralympics and Deaflympics
Malaysia first participated at the 1964 Summer Olympics, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except the 1980 Summer Olympics, which it boycotted. Malaysia, since 2018, has taken part in the Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic Council of Malaysia is the National Olympic Committee for Malaysia. Malaysian athletes have won a total of eleven medals at the Summer Olympic Games. Eight medals have been won in badminton, two medals have been won in diving and one medal has been won in cycling.
Malaysia made its Paralympic Games debut at the 1972 Summer Paralympics. The country was then absent for three consecutive editions of the Summer Paralympics, before making its return at the 1988 Summer Paralympics. Malaysia has participated in every subsequent edition of the Summer Paralympics, but has never entered the Winter Paralympics. Malaysian Paralympic Council is the National Paralympic Committee for Malaysia. Malaysian athletes have won a total of seven medals at the Paralympic Games: three gold, two silver and five bronze.
Malaysia first participated at the 1993 Summer Deaflympics, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Deaflympic Games since then, except the 1997 and the 2013 Summer Deaflympics. The nation has never competed at the Winter Deaflympics. Malaysian Deaf Sports Association is the governing body of deaf sports for Malaysia. Malaysian athletes have won a total of eleven medals at the Deaflympic Games: one gold, seven silver and three bronze.
Hosted sports competitions
Sport media in Malaysia
On 28 July 1984, TV3 became the first commercial channel in collaboration with RTM bringing Malaysians the live coverage of the Los Angeles Olympics. The live coverage for multi-sport events and international championships always been done since then.
On 25 March 2010, Astro Arena, the country's first local sports channel went on air. Astro Arena (Channel 801) a 24-hour local sports channel will be delivered predominantly in Malay and available to all Astro customers under its Family Pack. Astro Arena is featuring live local sports, a comprehensive 7-day a week coverage of local and international sports news, informative magazine and information programming and interactive viewer involvement.
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