Sri Lanka - Culture - Sports

Sports

Main article: Sport in Sri Lanka

While the national sport in Sri Lanka is volleyball, by far the most popular sport in the country is cricket. Rugby union also enjoys extensive popularity, as do athletics, football (soccer) and tennis. Sri Lanka's schools and colleges regularly organise sports and athletics teams, competing on provincial and national levels.

The Sri Lanka national cricket team achieved considerable success beginning in the 1990s, rising from underdog status to winning the 1996 Cricket World Cup. They also became the runners up of the Cricket World Cup in 2007, 2011. and of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 and 2012. Former Sri Lankan off-spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan has been rated as the greatest Test match bowler ever by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Sri Lanka has won the Asia Cup in 1986, 1997, 2004 and 2008. Current world records for highest team score in all three formats of the game are also held by Sri Lanka. The country co-hosted the Cricket World Cup in 1996, 2011 and have hosted the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. They lost to the West Indies by 36 runs.

Sri Lankans have won two medals at Olympic Games, one silver, by Duncan White at 1948 London Olympics for men's 400 metres hurdles and one silver by Susanthika Jayasinghe at 2000 Sydney Olympics for women's 200 metres. In 1973, Mohammed Lafir won the World Billiards Championship, highest feat of a Sri Lankan in a Cue sport. Aquatic sports such as boating, surfing, swimming, kitesurfing and scuba diving on the coast, the beaches and backwaters attract a large number of Sri Lankans and foreign tourists. There are two styles of martial arts native to Sri Lanka, Cheena di and Angampora.

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