Famous Sports in India

National Sports Day
National Sports Day marks the birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.

India has a long history when it comes to sports. The fans who become spectators in stadiums have a craze, fun and learning approach with zeal, but the aspiring athletes vehemently play their game to achieve a set goal. The massive diversity of citizens in India causes wide reach love for all sports.

Undoubtedly, Cricket is the most prominent sport in India, but people play numerous sports in such a vast diversified country. Some well-known sports of India include Cricket, Football (Soccer), Field Hockey, Badminton, Tennis, Kabaddi, Track and Field (Athletics), Chess. Some of the leading athletes are MS Dhoni (former India cricket team captain), Jyotirmoyee Sikdar (athletics – 800m), Anju Bobby George (long jump), Major Dhyan Chand (hockey), Milkha Singh, PT Usha, Norman Pritchard, Mary Kom (boxing), TC Yohannan Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati (tennis).

India has also organised multiple sporting programmes, namely the Asian Games (1951 and 1982), Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games (2010), Cricket World Cup (1987, 1996 and 2011).

Being a participant in the Olympic Games since 1900 and winning an Olympic medal right off the bat when Norma Pritchard held two silver medals in athletics in the 200-meter dash and the 200-meters hurdles. It avoided a few games back in 1920 and let athletes go-to venues to play ever since.

Following are the traditional sports of India:

  • Ball Badminton: It is a racket game native to India, comprising a yellow ball made of wool for playing, resembling Badminton.
  • Kho-Kho: A well-known game where a team conquers the game that takes not much time to tag all the players in the other team.
  • Kabaddi: A “raider” comes in the opposite team’s half to tag opponents without the intake of breath in the body.
  • Lagori: Identified from Southern India, this game consists of a ball and a pile of flat stones. A member of one team hurls a softball at a pile of stones to knock them over, then makes attempts to restore the pile of stones while the opposing team throws the ball at their side. It is also known as Pittu.
  • Mallakhamba: It is an ancient Indian sport, where athletes practice different kinds of gymnastics moves and have some poses on a vertical wooden pole or a rope.
  • Rollball: This game is like handball on roller skates. Players bounce the ball while shifting and make goals by shooting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
  • Throwball: It is a sport similar to Newcomb Ball – a variation of Volleyball – played across India.
  • Kalaripayattu: It is a traditional martial art from India’s Kerala.
  • Gilli-Danda: Well played mostly by children, a South Asian game has two sticks, one long and the other short.
  • Nadan Panthu Kali: It includes ball and net sport played in the Kerala region.
  • Pehlwani: A type of wrestling from South Asia. One can win by pinning the opponent’s shoulders and hips to the ground altogether.
  • Yubi Lakpi: It is a seven-a-side traditional football game with a resemblance to rugby played in India’s Manipur using a coconut. It is said to be a combination of football and rugby.

The most significant audience record (with 1,34,000) in Indian football took place in the 1997 Federation Cup Semi-Final between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan at Salt lake stadium.

Past sporting programmes hosted in India were 1934 West Asian Games, New Delhi, 1951 Asian Games, 1982 Asian Games, 1987 Cricket World Cup hosted by India & Pakistan, 1996 Cricket World Cup hosted by India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka, 2010 Commonwealth Games Delhi, 2011 Cricket World Cup hosted in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka, 2013 Lusophony Games in Goa and 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar. Upcoming sporting programmes are 2022 Men’s ICC World T20, 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar & Rourkela.