With its year-round favourable weather, the Dominican Republic has the perfect environment for any kind of sports, including baseball, golf, windsurfing, fishing or ocean sailing. As a result, the Dominican Republic plays host to leading international tournaments and events. The major sports of the country are:
Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic. In fact, after the US, the Dominican Republic has the second highest number of baseball players playing professionally in Major League Baseball (MLB). Currently, the MLB boasts around 100 Dominican players. Baseball is not only a sport but a way of life and it will continue to be a fundamental part of the country’s culture.
Basketball also enjoys a great deal of popularity in the Dominican Republic. In 2007, Al Horford, a Dominican basketball player, entered the draft and started playing in the NBA. As a result, basketball in the Dominican Republic entered a new era at the international level.
Golf is one of the top attractions in the Dominican Republic. Each year, thousands of tourists come to the island to play on some of the best golf courses in the world. There are around 24 courses with oceanfront fairways and many are designed by legends such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Pete Dye and others. The Federation of Dominican Golf is very active and they organize tournaments all year round.
Boxing is another important sport in the Dominican Republic. World Champions such as Carlos Teo Cruz, Joan Guzmán, Julio César Green and Juan Carlos Payano have all demonstrated the quality of boxing to be found in the DR.
The Dominican Volleyball League has been contested every year since 2007. This is a professional volleyball league with eight male and eight female teams participating. The women’s senior team is ranked 9th in the FIVB ranking and the men’s senior team ranks 38th.
The first Olympic participation by the Dominican Republic was in 1964 with just one athlete, Alberto Torres de la Mota (“El Gringo”) in Track & Field (100m). The first medallist was the boxer Pedro Julio Nolasco who won the bronze medal in the 1984 Olympic Games. The first gold medal, and second medal, was awarded to the two-time world 400 metre hurdles champion Félix Sánchez in the 2004 Olympic Games. At Beijing in 2008, boxer Manuel Félix Díaz and the taekwondo practitioner Gabriel Mercedes won golden and silver medals, respectively.
In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the Dominican Republic Olympic Committee sent the nation’s largest delegation to the Games. A total of 35 athletes, 15 men and 20 women, competed in 10 sports. For the first time in Olympic history, the Dominican Republic was represented by more female than male athletes. Women’s volleyball was the only team-based sport in which the Dominican Republic was represented in these Olympic games.
Dominican ultra-distance open water swimmer Marcos Díaz is the first and only swimmer to have united all five continents in the world by swimming.
Marcos was born on January 12, 1975 in Santo Domingo. As a child he was diagnosed with chronic asthma. At the age of 6 he began swimming on the advice of his doctors as a way to fight his condition. Through this sport he discovered how to handle adversity and self-improvement. In open water swimming he found a way to combine his love for the sea and his passion for long lasting and endurance sports. Marcos grew from a sickly infant to become one of the most outstanding athletes of our times.
Windsurfing & Kiteboarding
Among lovers of extreme water sports, the Dominican Republic is recognised worldwide for its beaches, and the town of Cabarete is known as the “kiteboarding capital of the world”.
Cabarete offers the perfect combination of beaches, wind and waves to create the best conditions for “kiteboarding”. Cabarete has played host to numerous world-class events. Every June, it hosts Cabarete Race Week, an international windsurfing competition that incorporates exciting windsurfing competition and a ton of fun.