Sport in South Africa is a multibillion rand industry and contributes more than 2% to the country’s gross domestic product.
The most popular team sports in South Africa are soccer, rugby and cricket. According to a 2004 survey, adult South Africans expressed most interest in: soccer with 78 percent of votes, rugby (47 percent), cricket (39 percent), wrestling (25 percent), athletics (22 percent), tennis (22 percent), boxing (18 percent), motorsport (12 percent), golf (12 percent) and netball (11 percent). (NB: the participants in the survey were allowed to choose more than one sport as preferred.)
After South Africa's readmission to the international sports arena in 1992, rugby and cricket teams have competed successfully and won numerous honours. Soccer has the widest base and the biggest number of supporters, but the national soccer team is yet to achieve major results in international competitions.
Many hope that the 2010 world cup will be a significant turning point for South African soccer.
South Africans are outdoorsy nation that likes both to watch sports and participate in them. The most popular sporting pursuits – both professional and recreational - are swimming, cycling, rugby, golf and tennis.
South Africa also has numerous sporting events for disabled athletes.
South African sports and recreation fact and figures:
- South Africa was banned from the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo due to the apartheid policies. This ban lasted until 1992.
- South Africa is one of the leading cricket-playing nations in the world and one of ten countries that is sanctioned to play Test cricket.
- South Africa won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and 2007.
- Golf is one of the best individual sports event that South Africans participate in, with top quality players.
- The triathlon is now one of the fastest growing sports in world with South Africa no exception.
- The Comrades Marathon is the world's oldest and largest ultramarathon run over a distance of approximately 90 km (55.9 mi) between the capital of the Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa, Pietermaritzburg, and the coastal city of Durban. The direction of the race alternates each year between the up run starting from Durban and the down run starting from Pietermaritzburg.
- The Two Oceans Marathon is a 56 km / 35 mile ultramarathon held annually in Cape Town, South Africa on the Saturday of the Easter weekend. Claimed to be "the world's most beautiful marathon", the race is run against a backdrop of spectacular scenery through the Cape Peninsula. Nearly 8,000 runners entered the 2007 event.