(Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
And there you have it.
I hope you've found this slide show as interesting and informative as the research I did.
Although there were many others that I thought about adding, not just in the sports mentioned (and particularly in the cricket and badminton) but in other sports; I just felt some would have been too easy to include (table tennis and gymnastics are almost stereotypes at this stage) and to hard to make a decent argument for (for example sailing and tennis)
Stil others, although outstanding in their achievements (such as those in athletics and swimming) did not qualify for the professional criteria I set out.
As for Asian sport itself...where does it go from here?
With an even greater majority of the world's population expected to reside in Asia by 2050—strength to strength—especially as awareness of pro sports there spread.
In fact, as alluded to before, many sports such as Soccer, Cricket, Rugby, Baseball, Snooker and Boxing (and many more) have actively sought to encourage Asian interest by hosting major events and tournaments there, in the past and now, will likely even continue to moreso in the future.
If I had to bet on one global sport category that I think we'll see far greater Asian participation in the future, I think motorsport would be a good one to look out for. Particularly as the Far East in particular is no stranger to automobile engineering and manufacturing.
One sport I was genuinely surprised not to see much Asian participation though during my research was cycling. For anyone that's ever been to Asia, particularly to the Far East and South-Eastern Asia, its not exaggerating to say there's at least 3-4 times more bikes than cars on the roads. In terms of geography, the terrain and humidity is ideal for training—what gives?!
As incomes hopefully grow in Asia over the decades and as youngsters get more access to good sporting equipment and facilities, let's hope more Y.E Yang's, Ichiro's and Yao Ming's give even greater diversity to the sports we've come to love.
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