China, Table Tennis
In China there is thought to be 300 million amateur players of table tennis, or ping pong as it is widely known. Chinese players dominate the World Championship and World Cup league tables. The sport has even played an important role in China's international relations; in April 1972, the US table tennis team were invited to visit China, an event later called "Ping Pong Diplomacy".
(In the women's section Chinese players have won all but two of the World Championships since 1971)
New Zealand, Rugby Union
Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and many New Zealanders would say it is an integral part of the country's culture. The national team, The All Blacks, are considered one of the best and most fearful opponents in the sport. This reputation is most likely something to do with their pre-match tradition, the Haka, a Maori dance that was performed by warriors before they went to battle...
(The Rugby World Cup tournament is the world's third largest sporting event and New Zealand will host the event in September 2011)
United States, Baseball
The history of baseball in the United States dates way back to 18th century, when it was played on a largely amateur level with no formal rules. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States and today it is the most widely played sport in the country with leagues catering for all levels of experience. Major League Baseball is the highest level of baseball played in the U.S. and the richest professional baseball league in the world.
Despite being increasingly overshadowed by football, England's national sport is actually cricket. In this year’s Cricket World Cup the team made it through to the quarter finals before being knocked out by Sri Lanka who won by 10 wickets. Interestingly the English national team is actually made up of several expats! Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott are originally from South Africa.