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6 Sports that have been entirely dominated by a single country 

BY Jake Anderson

25th Oct 2022 Sport

6 Sports that have been entirely dominated by a single country 

Jake Anderson explores six sports that are simply dominated by a single country, from China's stronghold on table tennis to England's reputation in snooker

Over the past few decades, the world has borne witness as extraordinary individuals have carried their countries to victory in sport. Those countries have gone on to dominate the competition, becoming reigning champions internationally. With each country remaining undefeated for several years, they inevitably command respect. Here are the sports in which that respect is due. 

Rugby 

The New Zealand National Rugby union team, otherwise known as the “All Blacks”, have continuously outclassed and outmanoeuvred their opponents during international playoffs. They became the first team to win over five hundred test matches.

New Zealand All Blacks 1905

The New Zealand All Blacks back in 1905 © Public domain

They also achieved three world cup titles, the same as their biggest rivals, South Africa’s Springboks, a skilled team in their own right. But eventually, the All Blacks manage to eclipse their team too. They now have a winning record of 61–38 against the Springboks, their greatest rivals.

Currently, they are the best international rugby team of all time, boasting a winning record of just under 80 per cent.

Table tennis  

China’s mastery of table tennis has kept the world captivated for years. Their players' laser focus and inhuman reaction time are beyond impressive—even by international standards.

China’s victory exists in perpetuity for their women’s singles and both of their doubles, not once losing. They have also been unchallenged gold medalists in their men’s singles matches for 18 years.

"The nation also has the world table tennis championships firmly in its grasp"

Since the sport made its Olympic debut in Seoul in 1988, China has won a total of 61 medals in table tennis. With 32 of those medals being gold, China’s dominance in the sport has remained unmatched. But that’s not all: the nation also has the world table tennis championships firmly in its grasp. They have more than double the medals of any of their rivals, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that they truly do dominate the sport. 

Snooker

China isn’t the only country to achieve tabletop glory. Snooker, a beloved English sport, has seen more English victories than any other in its world championships. The stakes have always been high for England since in 1875 it was invented by officers of the British army. These world championships were held in Sheffield’s world-renowned Crucible Theatre.  

While other countries showed skill, our small yet tenacious country has risen to the challenge nearly every single time. English snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has won the most, boasting seven world titles.  

"The sport of snooker isn’t coming home, it simply never left"

To win, players have had to show remarkable skill, accuracy and a keen awareness of the situation on the table; all so that they may control the flow of the game. The fact is, no other country can make these orbs of resin disappear at such a rate.  

The sport of snooker isn’t coming home, it simply never left. 

3000 metres steeplechase  

Since 1973, Kenya has shown a nearly uncontested dominance in this physically demanding obstacle course. Runners must jump over 28 hurdles and seven water jumps, requiring immense stamina and dexterity. Before its modernised athletic conception, the steeplechase was an equestrian event. But the athletic version’s origins can be traced back to Ireland. Horses and riders would race from one town’s steeple to the next, jumping over streams and stone walls along the way.  

3000M Steeplechase

3000m steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships 2007 in Osaka © Eckhard Pecher (Arcimboldo) via Wikimedia Commons

Currently, Kenya holds 35 Olympic medals for the event, eleven of which are gold—the most out of any country. They remained unmatched until 2020 when Morroco took the gold. But the fact of the matter is their reign lasted for over 35 years, a monumental feat. Kenya owes their winnings to many an athlete, but most of all Ezekiel Kemboi and Brimin Kipruto. Both of which have won multiple medals between them. 

Badminton

Once again, China proves their mettle by surpassing every single country in a racket sport. Badminton requires just as much speed, agility and accuracy as table tennis does, if not more. The sport involves much more running, as players must constantly stage themselves correctly to gain the advantage. Male players such as Chen Long and female players like Zhang Ning have risen to the challenge every single time.  

"Once again, China proves their mettle by surpassing every single country in a racket sport"

China’s ability is largely thanks to their players having to overcome rigorous competition stages at the town, provincial and national tournament levels. This ensures that promising talent is thoroughly tried and tested before they compete internationally, which is not something that every country does. 

Marbles

Out of all the sports that have consistently been won by a single country, marbles is perhaps the most unorthodox. Yet Germany continues to show great prowess in it winning 11 times against them, whilst England did so nine times against German teams.

British and World Marbles Championship

British and World Marbles Championship 2016 © James Kevin McMahon via Wikimedia Commons

The children’s game became a competitive sport in 1588 when two young men played each other for the hand of a young maiden. Players must take turns shooting their tolley (another marble) at the marbles which are placed in a circle. Each marble knocked out scores a point for the team responsible, the team who has collected the most wins.

After 1588, the British and World Marbles Championship tournament was created. It is still held every Good Friday at Tinsley Green’s Greyhound pub.

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