In Spain, cycling most practised sport ahead of football

Madrid, Jan 3 (IANS) Cycling is the most practised sport in Spain, according to a study published on Sunday.

That is the surprise finding of a study published by the Spanish ministry of education, culture and sport on the sporting habits of Spaniards in 2015, reports Xinhua.

Perhaps unsurprising for a country which has produced cyclists such as five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain and other riders such as Alberto Contador, the study shows that 63 percent of Spanish people have a bicycle in their homes, with 55.9 percent of adults owning a bicycle (the rest are children), compared with 59.3 percent of people who have a ball of some kind.

Of those who own a ball, 51 percent own a football, while 27 percent play basketball.

Around 54.1 percent are would-be Rafael Nadals and own a racquet of some kind, be it tennis, padel, squash or badminton, which is gaining in popularity thanks to the efforts of reigning World Champion and World No.1 Carolina Marin.

A total of 38.7 percent of Spaniards said they have been cycling over the past year, while 38.5 percent have been swimming. Walking or trekking in hills had been done by 31.9 percent of those asked, 30.4 percent had done some running, and 29 percent had visited the gym.

Surprisingly, football in its many forms (5-a side, 7-a side or 11-a side) was played by just 22.4 percent, although advancing years are perhaps a prohibitive factor in more people not participating.

Despite the large number of golf courses in the country, golf continues to be very much a minority sport in Spain, practiced by just over three percent of the population.

The study also shows that the majority take up their favourite sport when young, with only 3.7 percent taking up a new sport after the age of 45.

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