Serbia, Sports

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Summary

Serbia (), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian Cyrillic: Република Србија, , Serbian Latin: Republika Srbija), is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. Serbia is landlocked and borders Hungary to the north; Romania and Bulgaria to the east; Macedonia to the south; and Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro to the west; it also claims to border Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. The capital of Serbia, Belgrade, is among Europe's oldest citie

Details

Sports play an important role in Serbian society, and the country has a strong sporting history. The most popular sports in Serbia are football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, water polo and handball.

Professional sports in Serbia are organized by sporting federations and leagues (in case of team sports). One of particularities of Serbian professional sports is existence of many multi-sports clubs (called "sports societies"), biggest and most successful of which are Red Star, Partizan, and Beograd in Belgrade, Vojvodina in Novi Sad, Radnički in Kragujevac, Spartak in Subotica.

Football is the most popular sport in Serbia, and the Football Association of Serbia with 146,845 registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country. Dragan Džajić was officially recognized as "the best Serbian player of all times" by the Football Association of Serbia, and more recently the likes of Nemanja Vidić, Dejan Stanković and Branislav Ivanović the elite clubs of Europe, developing the nation's reputation as one of the world's biggest exporters of footballers. The Serbia national football team lacks relative success although it qualified for three of the last four FIFA World Cups. The two main football clubs in Serbia are Red Star and Partizan, both from Belgrade. The rivalry between the two clubs is known as the "Eternal Derby", and is often cited as one of the most exciting sports rivalries in the world.

Serbia is one of the traditional powerhouses of world basketball, as Serbia men's national basketball team have won two World Championships (in 1998 and 2002), three European Championships (1995, 1997, and 2001, respectively) and silver medal at 1996 Olympics as well. A total of 22 Serbian players have played in the NBA in last two decades, including Predrag "Peja" Stojaković (three-time NBA All-Star) and Vlade Divac (2001 NBA All-Star and FIBA Hall of Famer). The renowned "Serbian coaching school" produced many of the most successful European basketball coaches of all times, such as Željko Obradović, who won a record 8 Euroleague titles as a coach.

Recent success of Serbian tennis players has led to an immense growth in the popularity of tennis in Serbia. Novak Đoković, seven-time Grand Slam champion, finished in 2011 and 2012 as No. 1 in the world and is also currently No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. Ana Ivanovic (champion of 2008 French Open) and Jelena Janković were both ranked No. 1 in the WTA Rankings. There were two No. 1 ranked-tennis double players as well: Nenad Zimonjić (three-time men's double and four-time mixed double Grand Slam champion) and Slobodan Živojinović. The Serbia men's tennis national team won the 2010 Davis Cup while Serbia women's tennis national team reached the final at 2012 Fed Cup.

Serbia is one of the leading volleyball countries in the world. Its men's national team won the gold medal at 2000 Olympics, and has won the European Championship twice. The women's national volleyball team won the European Championship in 2011.

The Serbia men's national water polo team is the second most successful national team after Hungary, having won two World Championships (2005 and 2009), and four European Championships in 2001, 2003, 2006, and 2012 respectively. VK Partizan has won a joint-record seven European champion titles.

Other noted Serbian athletes include: swimmers Milorad Čavić (2009 World champion on 50 meters butterfly and silver medalist on 100 meters butterfly as well as 2008 Olympic silver medalist on 100 meters butterfly in historic race with American swimmer Michael Phelps) and Nađa Higl (2009 World champion in 200 meters breaststroke – the first Serbian woman to become a world champion in swimming); track and field athletes Emir Bekrić (hurdler; bronze medalist at the 2013 World Championships) and Ivana Španović (long-jumper; bronze medalist at the 2013 World Championships); shooter Jasna Šekarić (1988 Olympic gold medalist) and taekwondoist Milica Mandić (2012 Olympic gold medalist).

Serbia has hosted several major sport competitions in the last ten years, including the 2005 Men's European Basketball Championship, 2005 Men's European Volleyball Championship, 2006 Men's European Water Polo Championship, 2009 Summer Universiade, 2012 European Men's Handball Championship, and 2013 World Women's Handball Championship. The most important annual sporting events held in the country are Belgrade Marathon and Tour de Serbie cycling race.

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External Links

  • WikipediaKey Development Forecasts for SerbiaSerbia Corruption Profile

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