Portugal holds a prominent position in the world of Sports. Portugese Professional Sports are numerous and they are played and organized all round the year across all parts of the country in the form of various competitions and championships. The common people in Portugal are super enthusiastic about sports. The country is best known for Football. From having a prestigious national team and franchise clubs to small local clubs and little known young boys playing in every neighborhood field and alley, football is deeply intertwined with the lives of the Portugese. Other professional sports in Portugal include golf, volleyball, tennis, airsoft, team handball, rink hockey, gymnastics,swimming, basketball, futsal, surf, athletics, hiking and rugby.
Portugal holds a number of premier sports championships and events throughout the year. In Portugal there are three Professional Sports Leagues for Basketball, Football and Handball. They are the Portugese Football Championship, Portugese Basketball League and the Portugese Handball League along with a host of others like the Portugese Beach Soccer League, Portugese Rink Hockey Championship, Rally of Portugal in Motor Racing, Campeonato National Honra/Super Bock in Rugby, Portuguese Futsal First Division in Futsal, Volta a Portugal in Cycling and many more.
Football is the most widely played sport in Portugal. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Figo, Rui Costa, Nani, Deco, Simão, Ricardo Quaresma, Fernando Couto, Paulo Sousa, Vítor Baía, Paulo Futre, Rui Barros, Pauleta have made Portugal famous in every corner of the world. The national team has a bundle of talents under expert coaches and has an impressive record in World Cups and other European Championships. The Portugese Liga Professional Football Club Championship is a well known and fiercely competitive national sports event where local franchises and clubs participate.
Athletics has been a popular sport in Portugal from a very long time in history. The country has gifted the world of sports with talented athletes like Rosa Mota, Carlos Lopes, Fernanda Ribeiro,Manuela Machado, Rui Silva and sprinter Francis Obikwelu. They have represented their nation in the Olympics and other European and World Championships and fetched numerous honors for their country in an array of events like long distance running, triple jump, long jump and cross country running.
Martial Arts is also a popular sport and is particularly famous for the ancient art of Jogo Do Pau or Portugese stick fencing. It originated during the middle ages, when men contended with each other in this art to win their desired woman. Telma Monteiro and Nuno Delgado brought home several medals in Judo from European championships as well as Olympics while Joaquim Videira is a rare talent in fencing ,winning numerous medals in both National and International Championships.
Portugal has also maintained a consistently impressive record in the Olympics ever since it joined the event for the first time in 1909. It has fetched a good 22 Medals from its 21 representations in the event out of which 4 are gold, 7 Siver and 11 bronze.
The country also has a national Rugby Team, one of the strongest among the European arena. Having proved their talent in the European scenario for long, the National Team also qualified into the Rugby World Cup Tournament in 2007.
Motor Sports are also common in Portugal. It organizes a Rally Competition called Rally De Portugal. The event was held for the first time in 1967 and went on to be hugely popular. It was awarded the Best Rally of the World in 2000. Finland’s Markku Alén is the most prominent name in motor rally history, who has won the event five times.
Futsal is another popular professional sport in Portugal. There are a number of local teams like Sporting CP, S.L. Benfica, AR Freixieiro, Boavista FC, FJ Antunes, Belenenses, SL Olivais, Sp. Braga and quite a few others. There is a National Portugese Cup where these teams compete, and the best among them play the Portugese SuperCup, a very prestigious championship.
Portugal is home to many professional cyclists like Joaquim Agostinho, Marco Chagas, José Azevedo, Sérgio Paulinho, Rui Costa and Tiago Machado. These famous bicycle racers play for reputed cycling teams like S.L. Benfica, Boavista, Clube de Ciclismo de Tavira, and União Ciclista da Maia and compete with each other in Volta a Portugal, a premier National Level cycle race.
Rink Hockey enjoys significant popularity in Portugal with a national level rink hockey team and a group of very prestigious clubs like F.C. Porto, S.L. Benfica, Sporting CP, and Óquei de Barcelos. The National Team boasts of 15 World titles and 20 European Titles making it a major European power in this sport.
Water Sports like surfing, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing are also popular professional sports in Portugal with a host of talented swimmers and surfers.
The Government of Portugal is a major force behind the rich sports culture in the country. It has helped in forming a number of sports federations and associations to promote and develop sports right from the school level to the national level. With such support and assistance from the Government, it is of little doubt that Portugese Professional Sports would continue to make a very promising presence not only in Europe but all over the world.
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