Sport in Peru

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Sports in Peru are popular and widespread.

Football

Football is the most popular sport in Peru, and the Peruvian national football team competed in the FIFA World Cup four times.

The national team has also won two Copa América trophies: 1939 and 1975.

Taekwondo

Taekwondo was first introduced in Peru by John Polar. Polar, an Arequipeños instructor master the art of Taekwondo in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and introduced this form of martial art in the early 1970s. The first Peruvian Taekwondo Clubs were to be found in Arequipa.

In the late 1970s, Sa Bum Nim Byon Oh Park introduced taekwondo in Lima. In 1979, Sa Bum Nim Jon Hye, after a few years spent in Argentina also joined Byon Oh Park in disseminating taekwondo in Lima.

Simultaneously to these two, John Polar and Byong Oh Park, Alex Velazques was doing taekwondo with a reduced number of practices along with "La Yegua" Leiblinger who later moved to Argentina.

It was Byon Oh Park, who introduced the regulated form of taekwondo and started to teach to some new taekwondo instructors. Of those, Percy Vergara and Juan Infantas were the main instructors and the ones who started the dissemination of taekwondo to bigger audiences. Both Percy Vergara and Juan Infantas started to run a Taekwondo Club in the San Marcos University. They also opened up a new club, Black Belt Taekwondo Club where most of their best students from San Marcos continued training.

In 1981, the first open martial arts competition was run. In this competition, practitioners from kung fu, karate, kyokushinkai and other styles, along with taekwondo took part. It was the first time taekwondo athletes were to take part in any open national event. It was also the golden debut of taekwondo as the first three places were for taekwondo teams.

  • Third Place: Black Belt Taekwondo
  • Second Place: San Marcos Taekwondo
  • First place Jon Hye Taekwondo Academy

It is in that tournament that names of Cesar Landeo (Black Belt) and Luis Oshiro (Jon Hye) became famous and well known. Cesar Landeo in particular attracted the attention of athletes of different styles in martial arts.

After this experience taekwondo grew up in popularity and a number of clubs and academies started to flourish. In 1981, Saboming Ki Hyung Lee arrived to Peru and joined forces into making this sport even more popular. Percy Vergara started clubs in Regattas Lima, as Cesar Landeo started one in the Engineering National University (UNI) where he graduated as Electrical engineer. The UNI team has won more than 10 university championships between 1981 and 1994 at the university level. Other taekwondo Clubs appeared and flourished, thanks also to the contribution of Ki Bong Lee, So Yong Kim and Eui Wan Chong.

In the south of Peru, taekwondo was disseminated by Professor Angel Cabrera, Angle Leon, while in the north by Professor Luis Benites.

Today taekwondo, although it has lost the prestige it gained by the mid-1990s is still going strong, while great efforts are done to restore its stand in the Peruvian sport. The tireless effort of Cesar Landeo and Carlos Fuller should soon restore this.

In the 2008 Summer Olympics, Peruvian Peter López finished at fourth place.

Rugby union

Volleyball

Women's volleyball is a popular sport in Peru (Silver medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics, Runners-up in the Volleyball World Championship, and 12 times South American champion).

Surfing

Felipe Pomar, Second World Surfing Championship, Peru 1965, and Sofia Mulanovich, Women's World Surf Champion in 2004 and 2005.

Sailing

Peru is the only country of the region that has won the Central, South American & Caribbean Championships for six years in Sunfish Class. In the Optimist Class, it was three times World Champion in Team-Racing in 1997 and 1998, and have more South American Champions in J24, Windsurf, Laser Class and Lightning.

Shooting

Peruvian shooters have won three of Peru's four Olympic medals. Edwin Vásquez won Peru's only gold medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics, while Francisco Boza (Los Angeles 1984), and Juan Giha (Barcelona 1992) both won silver medals.

Tennis

Luis Horna and Jaime Yzaga are the most famous Peruvian tennis players. Tennis Hall of Famer and Davis Cup and Wimbledon winner Alejandro Olmedo was born in Peru, but played for the United States. Laura Arraya is the best Peruvian tennis player in the women's competition. Her brother is Pablo Arraya, a former Peruvian tennis player.

Although tennis is not quite as popular in Peru, the Peruvian Davis Cup team generally does well and is usually at the Americas Zone Group I. Twice Peru has gotten to the World Group playoffs in 1989 and 1994, but was not able to advance into the prestigious World Group. In 2007, the Peruvian team, commanded by Luis Horna and Iván Miranda, beat the Belarus team of Max Mirnyi and Vladimir Voltchkov, and will play in the 2008 World Group.

Club Lawn Tennis de la Exposición is located in the district of Jesús María in Lima, it is the usual court where Peru plays. The court was found in 1884, and was the home scenario for the golden generation of Peruvian tennis players of the 1980s. Its principal colosseum was named after the Buse Brothers, Enrique and Eduardo Buse. Enrique played at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1946 and again at the US Open in 1951.

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