Famous Sports Players in India
From the amount of newsprint and daily discussions dedicated to cricket, it is not tough to identify India’s favorite sport! Even though hockey is the official Indian sport and football enjoys a fair degree of popularity, the Indian cricket team is the most loved, often despised and debated group of players in the subcontinent.
Aside from cricket, football and hockey – Indians follow lawn tennis, badminton, athletics, weightlifting and boxing. Sports like car racing and mountaineering are popular among the younger generation. Those interested in flexing their mental muscles avidly follow chess.
This interest in Sports is not a recent phenomenon, Indian sports date back to the Vedic Era. The Atharva Veda defines an oath for the sportsman – “Duty in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left”.
Since ancient times, sports like Horse Riding, Wrestling, Archery and Athletics have always been very popular. Games like Polo, Chess and even Hockey are said to have their origin in India.
The Indian Department of Sports was set up in 1982 and came to be known as the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports since 2000.
The ministry provides infrastructure and promotes participation in various events at national and international levels. Individual state governments also have a department of sports which are concerned with the welfare of sports persons and promotion of state level championships.
The Sports Authority of India was set up in 1984 to promote sports all over India. The Government takes an active interest in sports and efforts are being made to update facilities and introduce Indian players to international trainers and equipment. India will host the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and has already hosted two Asian Games, in 1951 and 1982.
Indian Sports Awards:
The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports rewards exceptional sports persons and performances every year with a presentation ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The President of India presents these awards himself.
- The Best Indian Sports Persons are given the Arjuna Award.
- The Best Indian Coach is presented with the Dronacharya Award.
- The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award honors the best performance by a sports person or sports team in a year.
India at the Olympics:
Except for a few brilliant participations in events like Hockey, Track and Field, Archery, Weightlifting, Wrestling, Tennis, and Shooting; India’s record in the Olympics has been dismal.
The country first participated in the 1900 Olympics in Paris with just a single athlete, Norman Pritchard, who was fortuitously holidaying there. He won two silver medals in the 200 meters dash and 200 meters hurdles.
The Indian Olympic Association was formed in 1927 and the first official representation was at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. The Indian Hockey Team won a gold medal that year. The team successfully defended their title for six consecutive Olympics from 1928 to 1956.
India won the Hockey gold again in 1964 at Tokyo and 1980 at Moscow. Aside from Pritchard, other successful Olympic Athletes include Henry Rebello, the “Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh and PT Usha.
The women’s 4×400 meters relay team consisting of PT Usha, MD Valsamma, Shiny Wilson and Vandana Rao reached the finals of the 1984 Olympics. Leander Paes won the bronze medal for the Men’s Singles Competition in 1996.
Karnam Malleshwari picked up a silver medal for Weightlifting in 2000 while Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the sole silver medal at the 2004 Olympics for shooting.
Your favourite and India’s leading sportspersons you’ll find them all here.