Global Sports History - Middle East
What are sports and why are they such an important aspect of our civilizations, despite its seemingly non existent contribution to our survival? Well, in actuality, sports have long time played an important in role the training of troops and army units. Used to develop team work skills among soldiers, sports allowed generals to train their men to work together, preparing them for battle both physically and mentally.
Some of the earliest evidence to show sports as a part of society come from cave paintings found in France. These paintings dated back as far as 170, 000 years ago, quite remarkable to think that we are that similar to man of so long ago. In these paintings, images of men wrestling and racing sprints against each other could be seen.
These are not the only paintings that seem to show organized sport among primitive societies. Cave paintings found in the Bayangkhongor Province of Mongolia, from the 7000bc, during the Neolithic Age, clearly shows a wrestling match with with the contenders being viewed by a crowd of onlookers. This demonstrates a high development of the art, with the possibility of bets being placed, as well as champion chosen by wealthy members of the society. Across the world, cave there are many sites containing paintings that show different forms of sport taking places, among these are archery, wrestling and even swimming.
While most of the world may think the middle east may be the devoid of sports, they could not be further from the target. Quite surprisingly, they have most of the sports that you will find any where in the world, including water sports and even winter sports in some places. Indeed, you will find that you can encounter your regular compliment of sports in most middle eastern locations.
Granted, their may be some issues that must be surmounted for many reasons, for instance, religions often place many restrictions on dress and participation of the sexes. For instance, some sports require the participants to wear potentially revealing clothing and traditionally, women are often restricted to full coverage. As a result, many women may have been barred from participating in certain sports.
Cricket happens to be quite popular in middle eastern countries, though they don’t appear to participate on the world stage very often. On any given day, you are likely to meet a group of men, focused either on a match or taking part in an intense game themselves. The history of sports in the middle east is no different from that of any where in the world.