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Sport in India includes cricket, football, field hockey, lawn tennis and golf. Though field hockey is the national sport of India, cricket is the most popular sport in the country.

India in Olympic Games

The Indian Hockey team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, later going on to defeat Germany 8-1 in the final
Indiamarker first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete (Norman Pritchard) winning two medals in athletics. The nation first sent a team to the Summer Olympic Games in 1920, and has participated in every Summer Games since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games since 1964.India had won total 20 medal at Olympic Games. India won its first gold medal in Men's Field hockey in 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games. Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games and India's first gold medal since 1980, when the Men's Field Hockey Team won the gold.

India is remarkable among nations for having won very few Olympic medals despite a population exceeding a billion, around half of them under the age of 25. Numerous explanations have been offered for the dearth, including poverty, malnutrition, neglected infrastructure, the lack of sponsorship, the theft of money and equipment, political corruption, institutional disorganization, social immobility, the predominance of cricket and other culturalfactors.

According to several informal statistics, India is the country in the world with the lowest number of total Olympic medals per capita (of those countries that have actually won at least one medal). According to another calculation, however, India ranks last but one, above Vietnam, in this statistic.

Medalists

Medal Name Games Sport Event
* 1900 Paris Athletics Men's 200 metres
* 1900 Paris Athletics Men's 200 metre hurdles
National team 1928 Amsterdam Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1932 Los Angeles Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1936 Berlin Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1948 London Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1952 Helsinki Field hockey Men's competition
1952 Helsinki Wrestling Men's freestyle bantamweight
National team 1956 Melbourne Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1960 Rome Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1964 Tokyo Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1968 Mexico Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1972 Munich Field hockey Men's competition
National team 1980 Moscow Field hockey Men's competition
1996 Atlanta Tennis Men's singles
2000 Sydney Weightlifting Women's 69 kg
2004 Athens Shooting Men's double trap
2008 Beijing Shooting Men's 10m Air Rifle
2008 Beijing Wrestling Men's 66 Kg Freestyle
2008 Beijing Boxing Men's 75 Kg


  • IOC regards this medal is credited to India, and International committees credits to Great Britainmarker.


Gilli - Danda

It is a sport played using one small stick (gilli) and a large stick (danda) like cricket with ball being replaced by Gilli. It is still played in villages of Rajasthanmarker, Uttar Pradeshmarker, Madhya Pradeshmarker etc. states of India only as a recreational sport among boys.

Kancha

It is played using marbles (kancha) in cities as well as villages by small boys only as gully sport. The winner gets the kancha of other boys.

Kite Flying

It is played by many people in India in cities as well as villages. The festival of 'Makar Sankranti' is marked with competitions of this sport in various competitions.

Badminton

Badminton is supposed to have originated in India 2000 years ago. Badminton is a popular recreational sport all over India. Young talents like Saina Nehwal, who entered the quarters of the women's singles event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, are emerging from different states. She has achieved a career-high ranking of 9th in the world and has been named the Most Promising Player of 2008 by the Badminton World Federation. This is the first ever achievement by any Indian shuttler after Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand won the All-England in 1980 and 2001 respectively.

Bandy

India does have a bandy team. Bandy Federation of India takes care of Bandy in India. It's headquarters are in Himachal Pradesh. Bandy is generally played in northern India where there is generally snow and ice. India is one of the few countries in Asia and one of the 25 countries in the world to have a national bandy federation. BFI plans to send a team to the Asian Winter Games in Astana-Almaty 2011.

Baseball and Softball

Baseball has recently started to show up in India. Softball is played at school and university level. Two Indian pitchers were selected after the Million Dollar Arm competition to play in the USA. A talent hunt kind of competition was conducted by MLB to find baseball talents in India and found the teenagers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. They were taken to the USA and received good coaching.. Now these two players are selected to play in major league baseball for Pittsburgh Pirates.. This achievement is being noticed by Indians and their interest in baseball may increase if these players are able to succeed in the USA.

Basketball

Basketball is a very popular sport in India. It is played in almost every school, although very few people take it professionally. India has both men's and women's team in basketball. It also made one Olympic appearance in basketball and appeared 20 times in Asian championship. India is currently ranked 46th in the world in basketball.

Boxing

Boxing is one of the lesser profiled sports in India. India has yet to produce a world champion in any weight class, although it is a regular medal-holder at Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. In November 2007, India's Mary Kom won the best boxer title and also secured a hattrick of titles. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Vijender Kumar won a bronze medal in the middleweight boxing category and Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar qualified for the quarterfinals. Akhil Kumar, Jitender Kumar, A.L.Lakra and Dinesh Kumar each won a bronze medal at the 2008 world championship. Vijender Kumar is current world number 1 on middleweight class.

Cricket



Cricket is by far India's most popular sport. It has contributed many famous players to the game such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Rahul Dravid. India won the 1983 Cricket World Cup under Kapil Dev and finished as runner-up in the 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 World Twenty20 in 2007 under Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Cycling

The history of cycling in India dates back to 1938. The Cycling Federation of India takes care of the sport. Cycling is unknown as a professional sport in India, but popular as a common recreational sport.

Equestrian Sports

India also has a wide following in various equestrian sports like Showjumping, eventing, dressage, endurance and tentpegging. Supported by the Equestrian Federation of India, eventing is the most popular of the five, with teams representing the country at most Asian games, winning a bronze medal in the 2006 and 2002 games. India has been represented at the Olympics twice, by Wing Commander I.J.Lamba, and Imtiaz Anees.

Field hockey

Field hockey is India's national game. Until the mid 20th century, India dominated international hockey, winning eight Olympic gold medals, the World Cup in 1975 and were runners-up in the 1973 World Cup. The Indian player Dhyan Chand, arguably the most famous Indian hockey player, was described as a 'wizard' by the European press. However, India's recent performance have been below par and India is currently ranked 8th in the world.



Floorball

Floorball is a sport which is gaining popularity in India. The Floorball Federation of India was started on 2001 and since then it has expanded rapidly. There has been 4 national floorball championships held with Uttar Pradesh being the champions. Women's floorball has also expanded alongside men and Mumbai is the first national floorball champion of India. Currently India is a provisional member of International Floorball Federation. India has participated in many international friendlies and steps are being taken to make India Ordinary member of Floorball.

Football (soccer)

Association football is one of the major sports in India. It was introduced during the British occupation and in some areas of the country it is equally popular as cricket. India was an Asian powerhouse until the sixties, but gradually the standard of football has gone down compared to other countries and currently India ranks 146 in the FIFA Rankings as of the 22nd of June 2009.

The All India Football Federation is the parent body of football in India.

Formula One

Force India F1 is a Formula One motor racing team. The team was formed in October 2007, when a consortium led by Indianmarker businessman Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol bought the Spyker F1 team for 88 million.After going through 29 races without a point, Force India won their first Formula One world championship points and podium place when Giancarlo Fisichella finished second in the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.

Golf

Golf is an emerging sport in India. It is especially popular sport among the wealthier classes and has not yet caught on with middle class and poor people due to the fact that it is expensive. The most successful Indian golfer is Jeev Milkha Singh who has won titles all over the world, namely three during the European Tour, four during the Japan Golf Tour and six during the Asian Tour. Although his current world ranking is 36, his highest ranking has been 28 (in March 2009). Sing has won the Asian Tour order of merit twice. Other Indians who have won the Asian tour order of merit are Jyoti Randhawa in 2002 (the first Indian to achieve this) and Arjun Atwal.

There are numerous golf courses all over India. There is an Indian Golf Tour. India's men's golf team won silver at the 2006 Asian Games.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is almost non existent after school level. It bears similarities to a local sport from Maharashtra called Mallakhamb, which is a pursuit of police and armed forces in India. However, interest and participation in gymnastics have not gained much popularity.

Handball

India has a handball team, although it hasn't made any impact at world stage. Indian Handball federation manages Handball in India. Handball is played at local level in India but hasn't made it big in domestic level. India has yet make an impact at international level.

Ice hockey

Ice hockey in India is played mainly in the Himalayan region of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. In winter, the game is extremely popular and there are more than 25 clubs and villages that play the sport. However, due to lack of artificial freezing, the game is limited to the cold winter months of December, January and February which facilitate natural freezing of lakes and ponds. However, the first artificial ice hoceky rink was inaugurated in Dehradoon, Uttarakhand in March 2009. The rink has an international sized surface of 60 by 30 metres and also offers a small practice rink.

The Ice Hockey Association of India just concluded the 4th National Ice Hockey Championships in Leh from 22 to 29 January 2009. The Ladakh Scouts Regimental team won the finals. The Ice Hockey Association of India also selected its National team there which represented India in the Asian Challenge cup to be held in Abu Dhabi in March 2009.

Kayaking

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 the sea or other water bodies. But more often than not, Indian tourists consider kayaking a one-time activity and not a sport to be pursued.

Whitewater kayaking

Whitewater kayaking has its rabid enthusiasts mostly concentrated in the 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 whitewater kayakers include Abhinav Kala, Shalabh Gahlaut and John Pollard. Many of them 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 whitewater kayakers in the future.

Gear availability is another problem that plagues the sportsmen and sportswomen. While the global designs for whitewater boats and paddles change annually, Indian kayakers have to pay high fees if they want to import any kind of gear or they have to buy used gear in Nepal. More often than not, one 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 Wave Sport.

Due to increasing media coverage, more people do kayaking every season. Damming of rivers though assures that the specialty of kayaking in India will soon be changed with short sections of runnable river between dams as against the multi-day expeditions now.

Kabaddi

Kabaddi is a sport which originated in India. It is one of the most popular sports in India played mainly among people in villages. India has taken part in 4 Asian games Kabaddi and won gold in all four of them. India is the powerhouse of world Kabaddi. There are three forms of kabaddi played in India. The three forms of Kabaddi are Amar, Suranjeevi, and Gaminee. Amar is generally played in Punjab, USA, Canada, and other parts of the world. Suranjeevi is the most played form of Kabaddi in India and the world. This is the form used in international matches generally and played in Asian games. India won the Kabaddi world championship in 2007 beating Iran 29-19.

Korfball

Korfball is a game played by over 50 countries in the world. It is not as popular in India as other sports, but is still played by a significant amount of people. India came third twice in the Asia-Oceania korfabll championships.

Lacrosse

Lacrosse is a fairly new sport in India which was introduced in 2006. It is now being played by schools in Shillongmarker, Meghalayamarker and mostly unknown in the rest of the country.

Lawn tennis

Tennis is popular among Indians in urban areas. However, India's fortunes in the Grand Slams singles have been unimpressive although Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have won many Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles Grand Slam Titles. Sania Mirza is the only notable Indian woman tennis player, having won a WTA title and breaking in to the Top 30 WTA ranking. On the men's side, young Yuki Bhambri and Somdev Devvarman are flying India's flag on atp tour. Yuki is the current Australian Open junior singles champion.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is now getting momentum. For the last four years, Himachal MTB has been organised regularly by HASTPA, an NGO. It is attended by a number of national and international participants, such as Indian Army, Indian Air Force, ITBP and a number of young and energetic MTB individual riders from cities like Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Chandigarh. Last year, the government of Sikkim (Department of Tourism) introduced its own MTB race with South East Asia's biggest prize money. The second edition saw 48 professional participants from across the globe. Firefox, Merida, BSA and la-sovereign are some of the known MTB Cycles that are available in India.

Netball

Netball is a lesser known sport in India played only by women. India's team is ranked 22 in the world and has played only very few matches. The team has failed to qualify for any of the netball world cups. Recently they have played eight matches in total.

Rock climbing

Annual competitions promoting rock climbing are growing in strength. Some events draw over fifty participants and hundreds of viewers, which is relatively good for an evolving sport. Along with the increasing interest, multiple climbing walls are sprouting around the country. These walls probably number less than 30, most of them single walls with one or two routes at most.

A growing number of climbers have entered the climbing scene in India, particularly in Mumbaimarker, Delhimarker, Bangaloremarker, Shillongmarker, Kolkatamarker and Indoremarker. For locations to climb in India, see Climbing locations in India.

Rugby

Like other sports founded in Englandmarker and introduced during the British Raj such as cricket, rugby union has a long history in India. The first recorded match was played on Christmas day 1872, at CFC in Calcutta. Although low in profile as compared to cricket or field hockey, it is growing as some Indian sporting clubs are beginning to embrace the game. It is considered the second most popular winter sport after football in India.

Currently, there are 17,500 registered players in the country and the Indian national team are ranked 80th out of 95 nations in the IRB world rankings. The home of rugby in India is considered to be Kolkatamarker.

Scuba diving

Scuba diving is carried out in Andaman, Nicobar, the Lakshadweepmarker islands, Karnatakamarker, Goamarker, Malvanmarker as well as Tarkarli. Andaman, Goa and Malvan are PADI certified centers.

Sepak takraw

Sepak Takraw is not very well known in India, although it was a demonstration sport at the Delhi Asiad in 1982. The Sepak Takraw Federation with its headquarters in Nagpur, Maharashtra, was founded on 10 September, 1982. It is recognised by the Indian Olympic Association and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports since 2000. So far, the Federation has conducted 14 Senior, seven Junior and six Sub-Junior National Championship in different cities and is also conducting Federation Cup Tournament and zonal National Championship.

The game is very popular in the north eastern state of Manipur and some of the best players hail from there. In the 22nd King’s Cup International Sepak Takraw Tournament held at Bangkok, the India men team lost in the semifinals and claimed bronze in the team event. In doubles event, the women team lost in the semifinals, but bagged bronze medals.

Snow sports

Snow sports are uncommon in India due to a lack of snow except in the extreme north. Ski tournaments take place every winter in Gulmargmarker, Kashmirmarker. Winter sports are generally more common in the northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Skiing, snow rugby, snow cycling and snow football are few of the common sports played in India. Skiing is more popular although India has taken part in Luge in winter olympics since 1998. Shiva Keshavan is the only India to have won a medal in international meet in winter sports.

Table tennis

Table tennis is a popular indoor recreation sport in India, which has caught on in states like West Bengalmarker and Tamil Nadumarker. The Table Tennis Federation of India is the official sports body. India, which is currently ranked 90 in the world, has produced a single player ranked in the top 100, Sharat Kamal.

Throwball

Throwball gained popularity in India as a competitive sport and Indian authorities of the game was instrumental in organizing Asian level and later, world level association for the sport. The game is popularly played in schools, colleges, clubs throughout Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan, China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. It is also slowly taken up by other countries such as France, Australia, Brazil or the United Kingdom.

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 the world. Doing doing well in the youth and junior levels, India came in second in the 2003 World youth championships. Currently, an important problem for the sport is the lack of sponsors.

References

  1. Abhinav Bindra wins 10m air rifle gold
  2. Medalists - India, The official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/sports/olympics/12indiagold.html?ref=olympics New York Times: With India’s First Gold, Suddenly a Billion People Notice the Olympics
  4. http://www.sportstaronnet.com/tss2738/stories/20040918005300800.htm The mystery of the missing medals
  5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jul/25/india.olympicgames2008 Track and failed: the making of a sleeping Olympic giant
  6. http://www.rediff.com/sports/2008/aug/04rajeev.htm Olympic machismo: The tale the medals tell
  7. http://www.internationalbandy.com/viewNavMenu.do?menuID=55
  8. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2008-11-04-india-pitchers_N.htm
  9. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jNTISka0-ucftf1Suc81RUDW1M2wTheir
  10. http://www.floorballindia.org
  11. http://www.kabaddiikf.com/results2007.htm
  12. Rugby in India thriving with international help
  13. The Hindu : Metro Plus Hyderabad / Sport : Takraw tourney to kick off
  14. Sportal - Sports Portal - GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
  15. Sepak Takraw players and officials felicited :: KanglaOnline ~ Your Gateway
Throwball Federation of India (www.throwball.co.in)Ice Hockey Association of India (www.icehockeyindia.com)

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