Meet Argentina

The Other Sports in Argentina

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There are times when people assume that football is the only sport that is played in the country. This is not the reality at all as Argentina is a sporty country and plays in wide variety of both team and individual games. The national basketball team is one of the best national teams in the world. The side won the Olympic Games in 2004 and also performed well at the World championships in 2002, 2006 and 2010 finishing second, fourth and fifth.

Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs

Many of the country’s top players play in the NBA in the United States. Perhaps the most well-known Argentine basketball player is Manu Ginobili who plays for the San Antonio Spurs. During his time playing in the NBA the 30 year old, who was born in Bahia Blanca, has won the NBA title with the Spurs on four occasions. Ginobili was an important part of the Side that won the Olympic gold in 2004 and was chosen as the tournament’s MVP. During his career at the Spurs his team mates have included fellow countryman Fabricio Oberto who has also represented the national side on many occasions.

Argentina are one of the fastest emerging national teams in Rugby Union and in the 2007 World Cup the side finished in 3rd place. The sport in the country is hugely popular but is mainly amateur. Many of the country’s top players once needed to travel overseas to play in other countries professional leagues. Since 2012 the national side have joined Australia, South Africa and New Zealand to play in the annual Rugby Championship. This tough tournament enables “the Pumas” to play home and away each year against the toughest opposition in the Southern Hemisphere.

The country now has a side that play in the professional rugby league, Super Rugby. “The Jaguares” are based in Buenos Aires and were admitted into the league at the start of the 2016 season. The side comprises of virtually all Argentine players, which means that the top players no longer need to travel abroad to find the best club rugby. One of the country’s most popular individual sports is Tennis. During the years the country has produced a number of players who have won Grand Slam tournaments. In the 1980s Guillermo Vilas, who was born in Mar Del Plata in 1952, won both the French and US Opens in 1977, and the Australian Open in 1978 and 1979.

Gabriela Sabatini made more money off the court than on it

While the left hander was winning titles in the men’s tournaments Gabriela Sabatini was doing like-wise in the ladies events.  In 1990 she won the US Open and the ladies Women’s Doubles title at Wimbledon in 1988. However despite her success on the court the glamorous Sabatini earned far more off the court with her own personal perfume brand and her modelling appearances. The darling of the nation’s tennis even had a rose named after her.

One of Argentina’s being successes on the tennis court came in 2016 when the men’s team won the Davis Cup for the first time, having been losing finalists on four other occasions. The side defeated Croatia in the final and the team included Juan Martin Del Potro, who in 2009 beat Roger Federer to win the final of the US Open. Golf is another sport where the country has produced some outstanding champions. Roberto De Vicenzo had a wonderful career winning 230 golf tournaments world-wide, and his career came to a head when he won the 1967 Open at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. He was 44 at the time and he won by 2 shots from the defending champion Jack Nicklaus.

Angel Cabrera is called El Pato (the duck) for his waddling gait. This however, has in no way hindered his golf. The man who was born in Cordoba in 1969 has won both the US Masters in 2009 and the US Open in 2007. He also lost at the Masters in 2013 to Adam Scott in a sudden death play-off. The country has produced some fantastic sportsman in a wide variety of sports.

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