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Sport in India

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Common Sports in India include cricket (by far the most popular), soccer, field hockey, lawn tennis, chess, etc. Although hockey is the official sport of India, cricket has become much more popular.

The history of sports in India dates back to the Vedic era. Physical culture in ancient India was fed by a powerful fuel--religious rites. There were some well-defined values like the mantra in the Atharva-Veda, saying", Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left". In terms of an ideal, these words hold the same sentiments as the traditional

Olympic oath: "



the Honour of my Country and the Glory of Sport."

Common Sports in India include <a href=cricket (by far the most popular), soccer , field hockey , lawn tennis , chess , etc. Although hockey is the official sport of India, cricket has become much more popular. The history of sports in India dates back to the Vedic era . Physical culture in ancient India was fed by a powerful fuel--religious rites. There were some well-defined values like the mantra in the Atharva-Veda, saying", Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left". In terms of an ideal, these words hold the same sentiments as the traditional Olympic oath: " ....... For the Honour of my Country and the Glory of Sport." Indian wrestler exercising near Varanasi , 1973. " id="pdf-obj-0-77" src="pdf-obj-0-77.jpg">

Indian wrestler exercising near Varanasi, 1973.


<a href=[ edit ] Cricket " id="pdf-obj-2-3" src="pdf-obj-2-3.jpg">

[edit] Cricket

Anil Kumble is the highest wicket-taker for India in both One-Day International and Test matches


Main article: Cricket in India

Cricket is by far India's most popular sport. The origin of the game Cricket was gradual. It evolved from various sources like a Scottish sport known as 'cat-and-dog' and a thirteenth century pass-time called 'hand in and hand out'. The game which is played today has its origin in the south eastern part of England. Cricket became a generally adopted sport in the second half of the seventeenth century. The Hambeldon club which was founded in about 1750 had played a significant part in the evolution of the game. It was superseded by the Marylebone Cricket Club (M.C.C) with its headquarters at Lords, London. This became the world authority of the sport and its sanctuary. An official country championships began in England in 1873 and it became an International game with the formation of the Imperial Cricket Conference (I.C.C) in 1909. The I.C.C membership was confined only to the British Commonwealth countries. In 1956, the name of Imperial Cricket Conference was changed to International Cricket Conference to enable countries outside the common wealth to become its members.

India won the 1983 Cricket World Cup under Kapil Dev, and finished as runner-up in 2003 World Cup under Sourav Ganguly. India also won the first (and only) World Championship of Cricket in 1985 under Sunil Gavaskar, and more recently, the ICC Twenty20 World Cup under Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Domestic cricket in India, though not very popular, has major tournaments like Ranji and Duleep trophy. India has produced many good cricketers but probably the best player was Sachin Tendulkar, who is among one of the all time best batsmen and was noted by TIME magazine in its Asian Heroes List.


[edit] Football


Main article: Football in India

[edit] Field hockey


Main article: Field hockey in India

Field Hockey is India's national game. Field hockey is hockey played outdoors in grass. Till the mid 20th century India dominated international hockey winning 8 Olympic Golds and the World Cup in 1975 and runners-up in 1973. Indian player Major Dhyanchand has been referred as a 'wizard' and German chancellor Adolf Hitler once offered him a Marshall rank in his army (although once he also confiscated Chand's stick and had it torn apart and dissected to check for magnets, glue etc.) However, India's recent performance has been below par and of the 12 nations which play this sport,India is

currently ranked 8th in the world. Even though cricket has by far overtaken hockey in popularity, Hockey still strikes an emotional cord especially with the older generation. India's Men hockey team recently won the Asia Cup held in Chennai, India defeated South Korea with a very coinvincing margin giving hopes for a revival of fortunes in the upcomming Olympics.

[edit] Lawn tennis

Tennis is popular among Indians in urban areas. However India's fortunes in the Grand Slams singles have been unimpressive. The best result in Tennis for India has been placed 2nd in the Davis Cup (default as they refused to play against apartheid South Africa). owing mainly to the performance of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. Paes bagged a bronze Olympic medal in 1996. Sania Mirza is India's highest ranked women. She was the first Indian woman to qualify to the 3rd round of Wimbledon. She has also won a WTA tournament


[edit] Chess

Chess originated in India. It is quite a popular sport, but players lack sponsors. India has produced one of the all-time great chess players of the world Vishwanathan Anand. Other grandmasters are emerging from different states, including Parimarjan Negi, world's youngest International master and Koneru Humpy, world's junior champion.


[edit] Kabaddi


Main article: Kabaddi

Kabaddi originated from Punjab and Haryana states of India, agility and most importantly hand eye coordination. This sport is played by a person called a "raider" goes to one side where 4 teammates will be holding hands in a semi-circle. The raider has to try to touch one of the teammates and run back to his line. But the teammates holding hands can grab the raider and knock him down, which will earn his team a point. These are just the simple rules, there are more complex rules. India bagged gold at the Asian Games 2006 men's event and won a gold in kabaddi world cup held in India.

[edit] Formula One


Main article: Formula One

The Formula One Motor Racing sport is gaining popularity in urban India. It is one of the fastest growing sports as far as viewership is concerned. Since 2005, Narain Karthikeyan (an Indian) has been driving for Team Jordan. He is also the second test driver for Team Williams. Though no F1 circuits are in India at present, there is an F3 circuit at Sri Perumbudur near Chennai.

[edit] Badminton

Badminton is supposed to have originated in India 2000 years ago. Although India is not among the top teams, it does consistently produce players of high international ranking. Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand have won the prestigious All England Badminton Championships. Badminton is a popular recreation sport all over India. Young talents like Saina Nehwal are emerging from different states. There are many more players in it.It is been organising india coaching camp for the performancing players. Madhya Pradesh is at top. Many players are now practicing for taking India at top.(abhimanyu singh, sourabh verma, anusha nayak, vijeta bhargav and many more ) were selected for team.


[edit] Boxing

Boxing is one of the lesser profiled sports in India. Boxing does have school and national championship matches. However India is yet to produce a heavyweight champion. In November 2007, India's M. C. Mary Kom won the best boxer title for the third time and created a hattrick. Today there are great boxers like Aruna Mishra, Sarita Devi, N. Usha, Jenny Ralte, Lekha, Renu and Kalpana Chaudhary. India is a regular medal-holder at Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. The English boxing champion is Indian.

[edit] Basketball

Basketball is primarily a school sport in India. However the sport has extremely poor profile but has had The Harlem Globetrotters visiting the cities, Banglore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kochi. NBA superstar Kevin Garnett also went on an Adidas Tour of India including the cities of Banglore, New Delhi, and the Taj Mahal


[edit] Rugby

The British introduced Rugby to India. The game is being played domestically for over 100 years now. The popularity of the game has increased over the last few years and the game has spread all over the country. The main centres that play rugby are Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore. Rugby is predominantly played in clubs but lot of work is being conducted for grassroots development. The Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), is the governing body of rugby in India and hosts the All India & South Asia Rugby Tournament annually which is the premier national level tournament in the country.


See also: Indian Rugby Team

India right now has a National Rugby Union team. India started playing internationally since 1998. India has played 18 tests: Won 2, Draw 1, Lost 15. India also competes in the

7-a-side format at the international level but doesn't have a women's rugby team, though there has been some evidence of women being trained for rugby.

[edit] Golf

Golf is a sport that is becoming popular in India. There are numerous golf courses all over India. However, the sport is expensive and mostly corporates and the rich play the sport. There is an Indian Golf Tour. Many Indian professionals have competed on the Asian Tour and a few have made the top level European and PGA Tours. Among Indian golf stars are Jeev Milkha Singh, who became the first Indian to make the top fifty of the Official World Golf Rankings in late 2006, and Jyoti Randhawa. India's men's golf team won silver at the 2006 Asian Games.

[edit] Billiards and snooker

Billiards and snooker are popular club sports in India. India has produced players of international ranking, Geet Sethi, Michael Ferreira & Pankaj Advani to name some.

[edit] Volleyball

Volleyball is a sport played all over India, both in rural as well as urban India. It is a popular recreation sport. India is ranked 5th in Asia and 27th in world rankings. Recently India won the Asian central zone championships beating high-ranked teams like Kazakhstan and Iran. India is doing well in the youth and junior levels. Secured 2nd in the 2003 World youth championships.However this sport lacks sponsors.

[edit] Table tennis

Table tennis is a popular indoor recreation sport in India. States like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu are producing a few world-class players.

Table Tennis Federation of India is the official sports body which controls the game in India (http://www.ttfi.org/).

India had produced some good players like Kamlesh Mehta, Chetan Baboor and Achanta Sharath Kamal who is currently ranked 90 in the world. He is also the current Commonwealth champion. Chetan was ranked around 66 when he was at his peak. Unfortunately the amount of money being pumped into table tennis in India is meagre as compared to other games like cricket & golf. Due to the lack of good performances by Indians in World Championships and Olympics has kept the sponsors uninterested in the sport.

[edit] Squash

Squash is a recreation sport, played in clubs in urban areas. Over the last few years due the efforts of Mr N. Ramachandran, Secretary General of the Squash Raquets Federation of India, a world class facility has been constructed in Chennai, India. If not for petty squabbles with factions in the North (New Delhi) and the West (Maharashtra) Mr Ramachandran's legacy would indeed have been a fabulous one.

However, unaffected by the politics the juniors in the country are forging ahead. Led by the erstwhile SRFI Academy pupils Saurav Goshal & Joshna Chinappa who have both won the British Junior Open (the Wimbledon of squash). Ever more players are now playing on the international circuit.

Some of the leading Indian Squash Players are - Ritwik Bhattacharya, Saurav Ghosal, Joshna Chinappa and Anwesha Reddy.

Indian Squash Professionals (ISP) is a non-profit making organization, formed in 1993, with the sole aim of promoting this game in India. The idea of forming ISP was born in 1993 by its Founder Director Mahendra Agarwal. It was in January 1993 that India had first ever squash tournament (since 1947 ) only for the Professionals or markers as they are known in India.

Between January 1993 till date, they have organized 63 tournaments, 25 free coaching camps all over India (including Rajkot, Jodhpur & Mussorie), adopted 5 players (Arif Paul, Deepali Anvekar, Priyanka Yadav, Abhishek Pradhan and Ankita Sharma).

[edit] Bowling

In the recent past this sport has gained some popularity in urban India, but is still a recreational sport and not yet considered as a competitive sport. It involves expensive infrastructure and space which is hard to come by in many Indian cities. 'Bowler's Den' has recently come up in Kolkata for people who take interest in Bowling.

[edit] Polo

It is supposed that polo originated in India, the Mughal emperors being the first players. Considered a royal game, polo is popular in the Indian army as well as in northern India.

[edit] Horse racing & Equestrian

Horse racing derbies are held in many cities in the winter season. In recent past, India earned bronze medal in the Equestrian event at the Asian Games 2006.

[edit] Sailing

Popular among sailors that live on their coasts of India.

[edit] Gymnastics

Almost non existent after school level. Bears similarities to local sport from Maharashtra called Mallakhamb. This has been pursued by police and armed forces of India, but Gymnastics in general has not gained much popularity. There are some schools in urban India (e.g. Mumbai) and Maharashtra state. But popularity to participate remains low.

[edit] Throwball

A woman's sport, played mostly at school level. The game is slowly developing as a favorite among women. It's a healthy sport that ensures exercise for young women and at the same time does not require them to push too hard.

[edit] Baseball & Softball

These sports have recently started to show up. Softball is played at school and university level.

Maharashtra is leading on the same followed by Punjab & Delhi team.

Now softball is growing in other states of India also.

Almost all the universities has this game It is played in 3 age groups:-

1) Subjunior


2) Junior

3) Senior.

[edit] Ice hockey

Though still in a primitive stage, the first national championship was held in Jammu & Kashmir in 2003.


[edit] Flat water & sea kayaking

Indian flat water kayakers are considered emerging powerhouse in the Asian circuit. Aside from professional flat water kayaking, there is very limited recreational kayaking. Potential to generate interest in flat water kayaking is held by leisure resorts located near sea or other water bodies. But most often than not, Indian tourists consider kayaking a

one time activity and not a lifestyle sport to be pursued. As such any exposure to Kayaking at these resorts is lost on India.

[edit] Snow sports

Except for skiing, snow sports are non existent, mainly due to the lack of snow except in the extreme north. However, ski tournaments take place every winter in Gulmarg, Kashmir.

[edit] Extreme sports (Adventure sports)

Definition of extreme sports as applied globally might differ in India. With a cultural mindset towards sports as an activity pursued by frivolous, any pursuit of sport might be considered extreme. But for benefit of semantics, we will try to stick to sports that truly maybe considered extreme in their nature of variables that add that element of adrenaline rush to a sporting activity.

[edit] Whitewater kayaking

Whitewater kayaking has its rabid enthusiasts mostly concentrated in north towards Himalayas, and some in the south on the Kali River, in Karnataka. Most of these enthusiasts are or were Whitewater Raft guides who took to the sport of Whitewater kayaking.

Some of the prominent WW Kayakers based on their blip on the internet include - Abhinav Kala (http://treknraft.com/), Shalabh Gahlaut (http://kayakindia.com/), John Pollard (http://www.kalirafting.com/).

Many of these above and other WW Kayakers have notched first descents (similar to Climbing Ascents), on rivers in India and Nepal. The race for first descents is probably what will fuel the imagination of Indian WW Kayakers in the future.

Gear availability is another problem that plagues Indian WW Kayakers. While the global designs for WW boats and paddles changing annually, Indian WW Kayakers have to pay heavy duties for importation of any of the gear, or have buy used gear in Nepal and still end up paying terrible amount of duties. More often than not, you will see Indian Kayaking guides riding down the river in a Perception Amp or Piroutte or Dancer kind of design while the Kayakers from abroad in their new design, planing hull, centered volume kayaks from Riot, Pyranha or Wavesport. While the Indian guide will have a battered paddle bought many seasons back, and probably an inch or two longer, the international newbie tourist will sport a bent shaft ultra-light weight paddle that probably costs as much as Rs.30,000 or more (and know not which edge of the paddle dips in the water).

[edit] Rock climbing

A growing percentage of climbers have evolved into the climbing scene in India. A vibrant scene is evolving in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Shillong, Kolkata and other parts of North East and North.

Annual competitions promoting Rock Climbing are growing in their strength (this is a relative term but imagine over fifty participants and hundreds of viewership - not bad for an evolving sport.)

Along with the increasing interest in climbing, multiple climbing walls are sprouting all over the country. The number of these climbing walls is probably less than 20-30 all over the country (and many of these are just single wall with one or two routes at most.)

[edit] Mountain biking

Not largely organized for reasons as stated above, availability of gear, support groups, etc. But being pursued by individuals based on either locally available modified cycles, or imported mountain bikes. A group of Puneites have an online presence.

[edit] Scuba diving

Scuba diving and other adventure sports are played in the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshdeep islands.

[edit] Others

[edit] Koozahngal

This is a game played in south part of India,in Tamil Nadu.

[edit] Kho Kho

Kho kho is an old game of speed and cunning involving many individuals. Mostly played by girls.

[edit] Ultimate Frisbee (Ultimate)

Ultimate Frisbee is played in small pockets in India. Chennai city leads the sport in India in terms of number of people pursuing the sport [1]. Ahmadabad [2]& Delhi also have a few players pursuing this sport.

[edit] Sepaktakraw

This game is not that popular in India. Most people in India haven't heard of this game. After this game was included in the Asian games, it became better known. It is not sure whether India has a sepaktakraw team. Some evidence have been found from this website

[3]. India has participated in Sepaktakraw competition in the 2006 Asian games. They have played many matches but lost all of them except for one. In the men's regu section India had beaten Iran 2-0.

[edit] Basque Pelota

Basque Pelota is rare in India, though India has a Basque pelota federation, All India Pelota Vasca Federation.

American Football is non existent in India both in terms of viewership and profile.

Australian rules football Currently has a very small interest in India. [