What's your favourite sport? Did you know that some sports have been played since as early as 7000 BC? For enjoyment, for health, and for competition, people have been participating in sports for centuries. In fact, some of the most ancient sports are still popular today and will probably never go out of style. With that, we bring you 5 of the world's oldest sports in world history... and they are all still being played today! Is your favourite on the list?
Wrestling is considered the oldest sport in the world. How do we know? The famous cave paintings in Lascaux, France, dating back to 15,300 years ago, depict wrestlers. But actually, paintings with illustrated wresters have been found in caves all over the world, from 7000 BC in Mongolia, from 6000 BC in Libya and in prehistoric caves in Japan. A papyrus fragment was found with wrestling instructions on it, dating somewhere between 100 and 200 AD. And after all this time, it is still one of the most popular sports in the world.
It should not come as much of a surprise that running is included in this top 5 because it is the most accessible sport. Running is a universal human expression and always will be. It was the only sport actually recorded in the first Olympics in 776 BC. The sport included four different kind of running competitions.
Javelin throwing is yet another sport that was part of the early Olympics, and it is still part of the modern day Olympic games. It is a track and field sport in which a javelin is thrown as far as possible. The first javelin throwing was included in the Olympics in 708 BC, but only introduced to the modern day Olympics in 1906. In earlier times, the spears that were thrown were much lighter than now.
Polo was played for the first time during the Persian Empire in Central Asia, by emperors. Polo is a team sport played on horses, where both teams try to score by hitting a small wooden ball into the goal. The first documented evidence of this sport dates back to 316 AD. The modern game was developed in India during the British Empire, with it’s first polo club being established in 1833.
The game of hockey can already be traced back to ancient Greece. Images of people playing with a curved stick and ball have been found, dating back to 600 BC. The sport was originally called ‘Shinty’, but the first time the word ‘Hockey’ was actually used, was in 1363 by Edward III of England. When the British Empire expanded overseas in the 1800s, they introduced the game and made it immensely popular worldwide.
So next time you watch or play any of these sports, remember just how many centuries of people have been enjoying them before you!