Discovering the Popular Sports in Papua New Guinea

Discovering the Popular Sports in Papua New Guinea

Are you curious about the popular sports in Papua New Guinea? Look no further! In this article, we will explore the exciting world of sports in Papua New Guinea and discover the games that capture the hearts of its people. From rugby to soccer and traditional sports like kundu drumming, Papua New Guinea offers a diverse range of athletic endeavors. So, whether you are a sports enthusiast or simply interested in learning about different cultures, join us as we delve into the fascinating world of sports in Papua New Guinea.

Team Sports

Rugby League

Rugby League is one of the most popular team sports in Papua New Guinea. The sport has a strong following and is deeply ingrained in the country’s culture. The Papua New Guinea national rugby league team, known as the Kumuls, is highly regarded and often competes against other international teams. The sport has a rich history in the country and has produced many talented players who have gone on to play in top rugby league competitions around the world.


Soccer, also known as football, is another widely enjoyed team sport in Papua New Guinea. The sport has gained immense popularity in recent years, with a growing number of youngsters actively participating in soccer leagues and competitions. The Papua New Guinea national soccer team, nicknamed the Kapuls, represents the country in international tournaments. Soccer clubs and academies have been established across the nation, providing training and development opportunities for aspiring players.


Cricket has been steadily gaining popularity in Papua New Guinea, with an increasing number of people showing interest in the sport. The national cricket team, known as the Barramundis, competes in various international tournaments and has achieved notable successes in recent years. The sport has been actively promoted at both the grassroots and professional levels, with cricket facilities being developed and coaching programs being implemented. The Papua New Guinea Cricket Board has been working towards further popularizing the sport and nurturing young talent.

In conclusion, team sports play a significant role in Papua New Guinea’s sporting landscape. Rugby League, soccer, and cricket are among the most popular team sports in the country, with passionate fan bases and dedicated national teams. These sports not only provide entertainment and thrill but also serve as a means for athletes to showcase their skills on a global stage.

Traditional Sports

Sepak Takraw

Sepak Takraw is a traditional sport that originated in Southeast Asia, including Papua New Guinea. Also known as "kick volleyball," Sepak Takraw is a unique blend of football and volleyball. The objective of the game is to use any part of the body except the hands to kick or strike a rattan ball over the net and into the opponent’s court. It requires great agility, coordination, and acrobatic skills to execute impressive moves and score points. Sepak Takraw is not only a popular traditional sport in Papua New Guinea but also a significant cultural activity that brings communities together.

Marn Grook

Marn Grook is an ancient sport that has been played by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years, including the tribes in Papua New Guinea. Often considered as a precursor to Australian Rules Football, Marn Grook involves kicking and catching a ball made of possum or kangaroo skin. The game is played on a large oval-shaped field, and the objective is to score goals by kicking the ball between two tall wooden posts. Marn Grook is not only a physical contest but also holds cultural significance, as it was traditionally used to settle disputes and strengthen tribal bonds.


Lapta is a traditional bat and ball game that has its roots in ancient Persia and is also popular in Papua New Guinea. The game resembles a mix of baseball and cricket, where a batter hits a ball thrown by a pitcher, aiming to cover the maximum distance possible. The fielding team tries to catch the ball or tag the batter out, similar to baseball. Lapta requires skillful batting, quick running, and strategic fielding. It is often played in open spaces, providing an enjoyable pastime for both participants and spectators alike.

These traditional sports, including Sepak Takraw, Marn Grook, and Lapta, showcase the rich cultural heritage and diversity of Papua New Guinea. By participating in and preserving these traditional sports, communities in Papua New Guinea keep their customs alive and create opportunities for people to connect and celebrate their shared history.

Water Sports


Canoeing is a popular water sport in Papua New Guinea, offering both recreational and competitive opportunities. The country’s vast network of rivers, lakes, and coastal areas makes it an ideal destination for canoeing enthusiasts. Whether you are an experienced paddler or a beginner, there are plenty of options to explore.

Papua New Guinea’s diverse landscapes and pristine waterways provide the perfect backdrop for canoeing adventures. From tranquil rivers meandering through lush rainforests to fast-flowing rapids and challenging whitewater courses, there is something for everyone. You can choose to embark on a relaxing paddle amidst stunning natural scenery or challenge yourself with thrilling rapids.

Local communities in Papua New Guinea have a deep connection with canoeing, which is often intertwined with their cultural and traditional practices. You may have the opportunity to learn about the traditional canoe designs, techniques, and rituals associated with this water sport. It is a unique way to immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the country while enjoying the excitement of canoeing.


Surfing has gained immense popularity in Papua New Guinea over the years, attracting surfers from all around the world. With its pristine beaches, warm tropical waters, and consistent swells, the country offers excellent surfing conditions for both beginners and experienced surfers.

Papua New Guinea boasts a variety of surf breaks, ranging from gentle waves suitable for beginners to powerful reef breaks that challenge even the most skilled surfers. Whether you prefer long, mellow rides or fast, hollow tubes, there is a wave for every surfing style. The uncrowded nature of many surf spots ensures a peaceful and enjoyable experience on the waves.

In addition to the thrilling surf, Papua New Guinea’s coastal areas are known for their breathtaking natural beauty. Surrounded by lush rainforests, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, you can indulge in a truly immersive surfing experience. The combination of adrenaline-pumping rides and stunning scenery makes surfing in Papua New Guinea an unforgettable adventure.


Swimming is not just a water sport in Papua New Guinea; it is a way of life. With its abundant rivers, lakes, and pristine beaches, the country offers numerous opportunities for swimming enthusiasts. Whether you prefer calm, crystal-clear lagoons or invigorating river swims, Papua New Guinea has it all.

One of the highlights of swimming in Papua New Guinea is the chance to explore the country’s stunning underwater world. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities, allowing you to witness the vibrant coral reefs, colorful fish species, and other marine creatures. You can also visit natural swimming holes, hidden waterfalls, and remote beaches, where you can enjoy a refreshing dip in idyllic surroundings.

Swimming in Papua New Guinea is not just limited to recreational purposes. The country has produced talented swimmers who have represented Papua New Guinea in international competitions. The sport plays an important role in the country’s sporting culture and provides opportunities for aspiring athletes to showcase their skills.

In conclusion, water sports hold a special place in the hearts of Papua New Guineans. Whether it is the thrill of canoeing, the adrenaline rush of surfing, or the serenity of swimming, there is something for every water sports enthusiast in this beautiful country. Take the plunge and discover the wonders of water sports in Papua New Guinea.

In conclusion, Papua New Guinea is a diverse country with a rich sporting culture. The popularity of sports in this nation is evident through the enthusiasm and participation of its people. From rugby league to soccer, cricket to netball, Papua New Guinea offers a wide range of sports that cater to different interests. The passion and dedication displayed by athletes and fans alike is a testament to the significance of sports in the social fabric of Papua New Guinea. Whether it is at the national level or within local communities, sports play a vital role in promoting unity, fostering talent, and providing opportunities for growth and development. As the country continues to make strides in the sporting arena, it is clear that Papua New Guinea’s love for sports is ingrained in its identity and will continue to thrive in the years to come.

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