India is a diverse country with a diverse population playing different sports. Today, Cricket doesn’t hold the monopoly over people’s viewership. Indian audience is growing more interested in many other forms of sports like field hockey, tennis, badminton, football among others. Sports is seen as a great great career option by Indian masses. Want to know which one dominates over other?
Here is the list of top ten best and popular sports in India:
Motorsport is a very popular form of sport amongst the Indian youth. The development of the sports took off in India only post the 2000s, with two popular Indian drivers, Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok the flag-bearers.
The first ever Formula One Indian Grand Prix event was held in 2011, at the Buddh International Circuit. India is also represented in F1 by the name Force India Formula One Team Limited which is managed by a wealthy Indian businessman Vijay Mallya.
The team was based at Silverstone, United Kingdom and competed in Formula One for ten successive years from 2008–2018. However, they couldn’t achieve much success in that one decade. (The highest position in the Formula One Constructors Championship was fourth in the 2016 season.) The owners had to sell off the company as a result.
India also competes in the Motogp, Moto 3 class with Mahindra Racing. Mahindra is based in Switzerland but holds an Indian license.
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.
Also Read | Top 10 Famous Table Tennis Players in India
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.
Tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world and enjoys a considerable following in India. India has had many tennis players who have achieved international recognition and have made their presence in some of the top tennis tournaments and grand slams.
Who doesn’t know Sania Mirza? She is a famous tennis player, former world No. 1 in the doubles discipline. She has won six Grand Slam titles in her career, From the beginning until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked by the WTA as India’s No. 1 player in both the categories. Mirza has established herself as the most successful female Indian tennis player ever.
The governing body of tennis in India is the All India Tennis Association (AITA) established in 1920. Indian Davis Cup team is the most successful team of Asia in Davis Cup, who has finished as runners-up 3 times.
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.
Hockey is the national sport of India. It is among the popular sports in the country.
Indian hockey shares a golden history with numerous medals bagged by the Indian hockey team at various international tournaments. India is the most successful team ever in the Olympics, having won eight gold, one silver, and two bronze medals till date. The country has the distinction of producing legendary players like Dhyan Chand, Udham Singh and Dhanraj Pillay.
However, after the last gold medal at the 1980 Olympics, the team’s performances have declined through the last three decades. Later in 2016, after 36 years of struggle, the Indian men’s team won a silver medal in Champions Trophy and reached the knockout stage of the Olympics.
Currently, the team is ranked fifth in the world. The current men’s squad is led by a very talented hockey player Manpreet Singh while the women’s team is led by Rani Rampal.
Badminton is a very popular sport in India. In fact, it is the second most played sport in India after Cricket. Badminton in India is managed by the Badminton Association of India.
The reason behind badminton’s growing popularity is the talented Indian shuttlers making their country proud at various international tournaments.
Currently, K Srikanth, a talented Indian shuttler is ranked number three in the world in the BWF Rankings in men’s category. PV Sindhu comes in at number three in the women’s category.
Other Indian shuttlers like Saina Nehwal is ranked amongst top-10 in current BWF ranking.
Prakash Padukone was the first ever Indian shuttler to achieve world no.1 spot in the game and after him came K Srikanth and others. The most successful doubles player is Jwala Gutta. The shuttler is the only Indian to have been ranked in the top-10 of two categories.
Football is the most popular sport in the world and has great fame in India as well. Traditionally, Football enjoys immense popularity among states like Kerala, West Bengal, Goa, and north-eastern India which consists of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim.
Sunil Chhetri is the Indian national team’s present captain. India is currently ranked 101 among the FIFA World Rankings. India hosted for the first time the 17 FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. It proved to be successful with the attendance being 1,347,133 surpassing China’s 1985 edition where it was 1,230,976.
Also, India will be hosting the upcoming 2020 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. In addition to this, India has also bid to host the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup and is considering a bid for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Cricket is by far the most watched sport in India. The popularity of cricket in the country is due to the large interest of the citizens in this particular sport and sportspersons. India’s great performances in International cricket tournaments have a huge role to play in it’s increasing popularity. Also, various sports channels and brands promote the sport thereby grabbing the attention of masses.
Considering the performances, India has won two Cricket World Cups, the first one back in 1983 and the latter in 2011. Also, the country has produced some of the best cricketers that the world has ever seen in the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni and many more. Currently, Virat Kohli is the most popular cricketer with the greatest fan base.
Cricketers today, have become role models and famous personalities. They have always remained in the limelight due to their personal and professional lives.