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Top 10 Oldest Sports in the World


According to FIFA, football-related sports have been played since the early ages, between 200 and 300 BC (The world governing body of football). During the Middle Ages, many other “Ball” sports were played throughout Europe, some of which were quite similar to football. In England in the 10th century, a game known as “mob football” was played with an unlimited number of players. Football continued to be played throughout Europe, particularly in England, where the modern rules/codes were developed when football was played in schools. Sheffield FC is the oldest football club in the world, having been founded in 1857, while the FA Cup is the oldest football tournament in the world.


Gymnastics has its origins in ancient Greece, and it was originally a collection of training procedures used for military training. Except for the implements of war, exercises were carried out naked in ancient Greece. Athens mixed more physical training with mental instruction. The sport gained popularity among ordinary citizens throughout the Greek Hellenistic period (323 BCE–31 BCE), and it was later included in the Olympics. Following the Roman invasion of Greece, the Roman army embraced gymnastics as a form of training.


Humans have been swimming for thousands of years, and the Cave of Swimmers in the Libyan desert’s Gilf Kebir plateau contains one of the earliest portrayals of the pastime. According to archeologists, these prehistoric images are thought to depict individuals doing the breaststroke or doggy paddle (these movements may be unrelated to swimming). Swimming did not become a competitive activity until the 1800s, although people had been swimming since the prehistoric age.
The National Swimming Society of England staged these early contests, which were quickly successful. England is credited with being the first country to participate in swimming as a recreational and competitive sport. Swimming made its Olympic debut in 1896 as a men’s sport.


Thanks to sketches discovered in Iraq, we have proof that the earliest version of boxing dates back to roughly 3000 BC. The first evidence of boxing gloves may be seen in a painting depicting Minoans pounding one another around 1650 BC, but even later in Ancient Greece, boxers would wrap leather thongs around their hands for protection. Though the fundamentals of boxing haven’t changed much, there were no rounds back then, and while you were allowed to go to the body, evidence suggests that the head was by far the most important target. Boxing was banned during the Roman gladiator period, around 393, because it was thought too harsh. It naturally resurfaced and is now one of the most popular sports in the world, with its modern form deriving from 16th-century boxing in the United Kingdom.

Long Jump

Competitors sprint down a runway and jump as far as they can into a sandpit from a wooden take-off platform in one of track and field’s two horizontal jumps. The distance travelled from the board’s edge to the nearest indentation in the sand is then calculated. The long jump may be traced back to the Ancient Greek Olympics when participants carried weights in each hand. To generate momentum, they were swung forward on take-off and released in the middle of the jump. Since the first Games in 1896, the long jump has been a part of the Olympics in its current form.


Polo is an equestrian team sport in which the goal is to score goals against an opposing team. It was first played by emperors during the Persian Empire in Central Asia. This sport was first documented around 316 AD. Polo game was born in India during the British Empire, with the first polo club formed in 1833. While polo is a sport that predates recorded history, we know that it has its roots in the inspiring interaction that exists between humans and horses. Polo has evolved into ‘The Sport of Kings’ thanks to this exceptional affinity and the unique melding of athletic talents between horse and rider.

Javelin Throwing

The spear’s regular use in hunting and combat gave rise to the javelin as a sport. A javelin throw is a track and field event where a javelin is hurled as far as possible. It was first used in the 708 BC Olympics, and then again in the 1906 Olympics. The spears used in early Roman times were substantially lighter than the javelins used today. It has been a part of the modern Olympic Games since 1908 for men and 1932 for women.


In terms of historical significance, archery is comparable to wrestling. The origins of arrows can be traced back to around 60,000-70,000 years ago. However, research suggests that the bow and arrow as a pair were conceived circa 20,000 BC and that our forefathers utilised them primarily for hunting and survival at the time. However, there are pictures of archery in the same Cave of Swimmers in the Sahara noted above, indicating that, like swimming, archery has a long competitive history, despite its late arrival in the Olympics (first appearing in 1900). When weapons became popular, archery suffered a similar fall, so the fact that it is still survived for sports and hunting is noteworthy.


Wrestling is another world’s oldest sport. We know this because of a set of famous cave paintings in Lascaux, France, that represent wrestlers and date back 15,300 years. Paintings featuring depicted wrestlers have been discovered in caverns all over the world, dating back to 7000 BC in Mongolia, 6000 BC in Libya, and prehistoric caves in Japan. A papyrus fragment with wrestling instructions dated between 100 and 200 AD was discovered. It is still one of the most popular sports in the world after all these years.


Running is thought to be the oldest sport in the world because it requires no equipment. Although it’s difficult to identify exactly when running became a sport, it’s thought that humans began running around four and a half million years ago. The Lascaux caves in France have one of the earliest depictions of sprinting, going back to the Upper Paleolithic epoch (about 15,300 years ago). A foot race was the first event in the first-ever Olympics, which took place in 776 BCE. Even though this date is sometimes cited as the beginning of running as a sport, one of the oldest known running events took place in Ireland in 1829 BCE.

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