India is a country where “SPORTS” hold a special place in the hearts of the people. There are many sports being played in India with full dedication and determination. India has produced so many great sportsmen in each and every sport. But all the sports are not equally popular in our country. Hockey is the national game but cricket is more popular. So in this article we are making a list of top 10 sports according to their popularity in the country.
Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is the global leader when it comes to profits in the world of cricket. As we all have seen posters more than one time stating that India has two religions “Cricket & Film”. India has produced some legendary cricketers like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar. In India, a lot of money is invested in Cricket after the introduction of the Indian Premier League. IPL attracts cricketers from all over the world. India has won all of the ICC Tournaments Including ODI’s World Cup 2 times (1983 & 2011), T20 World Cup 2007, and ICC Champions Trophy 2013. So without any doubt, Cricket is the most popular sport in India.
Soccer or football is the second most popular sport in India. Although the Indian national football team does not have much success at the international level, the Indian national football team ranks 96th in FIFA rankings. Besides, India has organized the FIFA U-17 World Cup recently in 2017. Yet, football is the 2nd most watched game by Indian sports fans.
3. FIELD HOCKEY
Field Hockey is the national sport of India in the Olympics along with Pakistan. India is one of the most successful countries when it comes to men’s field hockey. India has won 8 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals, more than any other team in the world. They also won the world cup tournament 1975 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Recently at the 2018 Asian Games, Indian Women’s team has achieved the silver medal. Moreover, the Men’s team has also succeeded to get the bronze medal at the tournament.
4. TABLE TENNIS
Table Tennis is a immensely popular indoor sport in India. However, it is most famous in states such as West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. The Table Tennis Federation of India is the sports’ official governing body. TT’s popularity grew significantly only in the last few years. Currently, Indian Men’s Team is ranked 10th and Women’s team ranked 22nd in the World. India has talented players playing for the country as a singles player and ranked in the top 50 both in Men’s and Women’s category. Some of them are Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra.
In India, Boxing did not interest a large audience but had a significant fan following. The reason behind the lack of attention to the game was the lack of international victories. However, the sport now is gaining popularity. Boxing came into limelight after Indian wrestler Vijender Singh brought home a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games. The sport’s popularity reached new heights after famous pugilist Mary Kom became the first woman athlete to win a boxing medal. Recently, she became the six-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have achieved the feat. Kids often confuse boxing with WWE. In reality, boxing is a professional sport whereas WWE is a combat-based entertainment show.
Wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world and also has a long history in India. The sport has gained popularity over time and has brought India a number of medals from many major tournaments. Indian wrestlers have taken Indian wrestling to a greater level with at least a medal at every Olympics since the 2008 Beijing Games. Sushil Kumar, a two-time Olympic medalist is one of India’s most successful Olympians. Following him are Yogeshwar Dutt and Sakshi Malik who brought medals to the country in 2012 and 2016 Olympics respectively. The women’s participation was never less in this sport. Geeta Phogat is India’s first ever gold medalist in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Also, she is also the first Indian women wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Summer Games. With Bollywood hits like Sultan and Dangal, the sport has gained even more popularity.
Chess is one of the most popular sports in India for especially last two decades, due to chess Grandmaster and former World Champion Viswanathan Anand. As we all know, Anand is considered a hero by many Indians. His rise in the world chess stage has inspired a whole generation of young Indians to take up the game of Chess. The All India Chess Federation is the governing body for chess in India. Besides, players like Harikrishna Pentala and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi has recently achieved pretty good places in the 2018 FIDE ranking.
Kabaddi is a contact sport that originated in ancient India. It is one of the most popular sports in India. This traditional sport was mainly played in villages but now has the turned into an international sport. There are four forms of Kabaddi played in India namely Amar, Siranjeevi, Huttuttoo, and Gaminee. Siranjeevi is the form used in international matches generally. India won gold medals at the Asian Games in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 in this discipline. India has also won all six Kabaddi world cups played till now. Iran is the three times runner-up of world cups. The Pro Kabaddi League has a vast audience taking an interest in it. It was introduced in 2014 in India based on Indian premier league with Bollywood stars owning different teams. The first edition of the tournament began on 26th July 2014 with 8 franchises from across the country. Star sports network won the broadcast rights for the mega event.
Basketball in India is played in most of the high schools, colleges, and universities. Besides, there is considerable patronage for the game among the younger generation. As we all know, Basketball in India is played by both men and women of all ages and abilities. Currently, Indian Basketball follows FIBA International Basketball Federation rules for organizing basketball championships. Which is not so popular in our country. It is limited to colleges only. On higher level, we haven’t done much as compared to other sports.
10. MOTOR SPORTS
Motorsport has gained a lot of popularity in India in recent times. Though it is not very common for people of India to take part in the sport, it has a huge fan following. Besides, the Formula One, in particular, has taken off in the country in the last few years, with the first ever Indian Formula One driver competing in 2005 and the first ever Formula One Indian Grand Prix that took place in 2011. Interestingly, India houses one of the best Grand Prix circuits, the Buddh International Circuit, in Greater Noida.