Sports in Chinese 🥎 The Complete Guide To All Your Favourites

Your Definitive Guide to 32 Sports in Chinese

In our never ending quest to bring you the best content on the web when it comes to studying Mandarin, we continue today as we teach you 32 sports in Chinese.

Sports in Chinese

Of course though, the most important word of all is SPORTS, so let’s nail that one down right away…

SPORTS IN CHINESE – 运动 yùn dòng

Literally this means motion movement and also means exercise. Another common word for sports in Chinese is 体育 tǐyù.

As with a number of other vocabulary blogs, many of the sports hinge on learning a couple of key words.

REMEMBER – learning Chinese is all about piecing the building blocks together.

When we studied the shapes in Chinese we learned that knowing the numbers in Chinese helped unlock lots of shapes for us.

Sports is no different. The word for ball plays an imperative role in learning many (but not all of course) of the sports in Chinese. More-so than English.

Sure, English uses ball for Football, Baseball, Basketball… but Rugby and Tennis – not so. In Mandarin they all share that same keyword.

This makes our life much easier when learning the sports in Chinese!

Sports in Chinese || The 球’s (qiú)

Sports in Chinese || Running

Sports in Chinese || Swimming

Sports in Chinese || Skiing

Sports in Chinese || Boxing

Sports in Chinese || Horse Racing

Sports in Chinese || Golf

Sports in Chinese || Others

BONUS FREEBIE || Our Sports Quiz

Sports in Chinese || FAQ’s

If you want to hear all the sports in Chinese pronounced by a native speaker, watch our video, where teacher Jacqueline gives us a helping hand in pronouncing the words.

Sports in Chinese || The 球’s (qiú)

OK that keyword we were talking about, ball – in Chinese is 球 qiú.

By learning this we now unlock a large group of sports in Chinese.

球 qiú is quite a common Chinese character which you will see in other words such as:

  • Earth (the planet) – 地球 dì qiú
    • literally “ground/land ball/sphere
  • Fan (as in fan of a team) – 球迷 qiú mí
    • literally “ball/sphere enthusiast
  • Match (as in sports match) – 球赛 qiú sài
    • literally “ball/sphere match

Let’s take a look at some of the sports in Chinese that include 球 qiú.

Can you guess any before looking?

Notice how in English, only three of those nine sports listed above actually include the word BALL.

Yet in Chinese, you can take Badminton, which doesn’t even use a ball, yet 球 qiú is featured.

This is another one of the many reasons why CHINESE IS SUPER LOGICAL TO LEARN.

Pick up a few new keywords, and you are well on your way.

Let’s discover some sentences with those sports in:

Table Tennis in China


Pīngpāng qiú shì zhōngguó zuì shòu huānyíng de yùndòng

Note how pīng pāng qiú is quite easy to remember because when you put pīng and pāng together they almost make a table that the game is played on… 乒乓. It’s quite visual and this makes it easier to remember.

Basketball in China


Zhōngguó rén xǐhuān kàn měiguó (NBA) de lánqiú

Just How Large is China Really 😲 Size Matters Thumbnail

Just How Large is China Really 😲 Size Matters

How Big is China? 🐲 Size Matters – China is huge. We have some incredible facts just to prove how large China really is, 48 facts to be precise!

Cricket in China


Dà duōshù zhōngguó rén cóng wèi tīng shuōguò bǎn qiú

It’s true, baseball is far more popular in China that Cricket. In fact, Baseball has quite a cult following throughout Asia.

If you want to experience Cricket in Asia, best head to India, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh where they most certainly know about Cricket!

Football in China


Xǔduō zhōngguó zúqiú mí xǐhuān gòumǎi wàiguó zúqiú chènshān

Notice in the above sentence we included the word for “fan” that we taught you earlier.

See how we didn’t write zúqiú qiú mí but just zúqiú mí.

Chinese don’t like repetition so we knock off the 2nd qiú to make it a bit less of a mouthful. This happens quite a lot in Chinese.

For example, the word for but is dàn shì but you’ll often find Chinese shorten it to dàn.

Want to discover more about Football in China? Check out our video below for more key vocabulary, and our blog about the culture of Football in China and what to expect when coming to watch a football match in China.

Sports in Chinese || Running in Chinese

Running in Chinese
Running in Chinese

As running most definitely does not involve a ball, it’s no surprise that this word does not include our friend qiú.

Run in Chinese = 跑步 pǎobù

Literally this means run step.

Let’s learn a couple of sentences with this word in


Zuótiān wǒ pǎole shí gōnglǐ


Wǒ xǐhuān yīgè xīngqí pǎo sān biàn

Sports in Chinese || Swimming

Sports in Chinese - Swimming

Going with another Olympic sport that definitely doesn’t involve a ball here.

Swimming in Chinese = 游泳 yóu yǒng

Literally this means travel swim.

The first character appears in the word to travel, surprisingly, lǚ yóu 旅游 !


Tā bù huì yóuyǒng

Sports in Chinese || Skiing

Skiing in Chinese

Onto more snowy matters as we go Skiing.

There are some great places to Ski and Snowboard in China whilst we are on topic!

Our student Tereza went Skiing at the 2022 Winter Olympic site with her mum Lenka and other LTL students. You can read about their experience Skiing in China on our blog.

Skiing in Chinese = 滑雪 huáxuě

BONUS – Snowboard in Chinese = 滑雪板 huáxuě bǎn

Just add a bǎn on the end to change Skiing to Snowboarding.

Literally Skiing in Chinese is slide snow and Snowboarding in Chinese is slide snow plank.

Weather in China ☀️ The Complete Guide Thumbnail

Weather in China ☀️ The Complete Guide

Summarising the weather in China within a few hundred words is near enough impossible. Here is our simple month-by-month and city-by-city guide.

Sports in Chinese || Boxing

Time to get the gloves on as we go Boxing.

Boxing in Chinese = 拳击 quánjí

Literally this means fist beat.

Quite a brutal literal translation there really isn’t it!

Staying in this area of Sport, Kung Fu is a nice easy one to remember given the similar sound:

Kung Fu in Chinese is

Sports in Chinese || Horse Racing

Sports in Chinese - Horse Racing

All aboard the Horses.

Horse Racing in Chinese = 赛马Sàimǎ

Literally this means race horse.

A nice easy translation there.

With gambling being banned in China this wouldn’t be the most popular sport in the Mainland, but head south to Hong Kong and you’ll have two world renowned race tracks which host some first class Horse Racing action every week.

During the season, Sunday’s play host to the Sha Tin racecourse which is generally a little more low-key, full of elder locals, equipped with a pen and paper.

However, head to Happy Valley on Wednesday’s nights and you’ll be a part of a world class racing spectacle with great horses, jockeys and entertainment on show. Many foreigners in Hong Kong enjoy attending Happy Valley race nights given their excellent atmosphere and cheap entry.

Sports in Chinese || Golf

Golf in Chinese

Wait a minute, Golf is a sport with a ball, why have we not included it in the 球’s (qiú)?

Golf is an exception to the rule. A sport that includes a ball, but not the 球.

In fact, the word golf is a loanword, sounding very similar to English.

Due to this, the literal translation of tall so husband makes absolutely zero sense.

If you want to discover more loanwords in Chinese check out our blog.

Coffee in Chinese ☕️ A Complete Guide to Ordering a Cup of Joe in China Thumbnail

Coffee in Chinese ☕️ A Complete Guide to Ordering a Cup of Joe in China

Do you know how to order a coffee in Chinese? Well luckily for you LTL has a complete guide of how to order all your favourite types of coffee!

Other Sports in Chinese

Check out our video at the top of the blog to unlock EVEN MORE sports in Chinese!

Have we missed out your favourite sport?

Drop us a comment and we’ll include it for you!

Sports in Chinese – Quiz

Welcome to our super quick Shopping Quiz! Enter your First name and email to begin. Don't worry you can unsubscribe at any time!

First Name
内衣 nèiyī

Home Textiles


运动 yùndòng

Personal Care



配件 pèijiàn

家具 jiājù

饰品 shìpǐn

衣服 yī fú

Mobile Phone



箱包 xiāngbāo

户外 hùwài

鞋品 xié pǐn



Love learning languages? Why not check out our guide to 20+ sports in Russian too whilst you’re at it!

Sports in Chinese || FAQs

How do you say Sports in Chinese?

Sports in Chineseis 运动 yùn dòng.

Literally this means motion movement and also means exercise. Another common word for sports in Chinese is 体育 tǐyù.

How do you say Football in Chinese?


zú qiú

How do you say Table Tennis in Chinese?


pīng pāng qiú

How do you say Olympics in Chinese?



Ào lín pǐ kè

Olympic Games


Ào yùn

How do you say Tennis in Chinese?


wǎng qiú

How do you say Badminton in Chinese?


yǔ máo qiú

What is China’s most popular sport?

Table Tennis is China’s most popular and national sport.

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