Indians have a big sporting history in some sports such as cricket and hockey. However apart from a small select group there has been a lack of interest for other sports in the country. However lots of people have shown great interest in the traditional sports such as wrestling and kabaddi. Some other sports like martial arts have been played traditionally in some parts of India such as Kerala. The lack of interest in sports other than cricket and hockey was quite disturbing for most people even though India continued to produce world champion sportsmen such as Vishwanthan Anand in chess and Geet Sethi in billiards to name a few. Apart from these players Narain Karthikeyan has also been around for some time now in Formula 1 car racing.
Cricket is easily the most dominant sport in India. Its controlling body called BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) is one of the richest sporting bodies in world and has developed many top notch cricketing facilities in the country. The Indian cricket team is ranked numero uno in test cricket and number two in one day cricket at the moment. So obviously cricket is very much alive and kicking in this part of the world. In comparison hockey has seen many ups and downs since its golden era in 1950s and 1960s. Mostly downs unfortunately. There have been frequent comparisons made between cricket and hockey and their popularity. But cricket has dominated hockey for the most part.
The scenario of other sports in India is improving though, with India finishing second in recently concluded Commonwealth Games ahead of England and Canada. Apart from this achievement, Indian tennis and badminton players such as Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza in tennis and
Saina Nehwal in badminton have done the country proud.
One sporting achievement all Indians are most proud of is Abhinav Bindra winning a gold medal in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This was the first time an Indian won gold medal in Olympics in an individual event. This Punjabi won the 10 meter Air Rifle event at the 2008 Olympics. However India’s greatest sporting achievement in Olympics remains the 8 gold medals in field hockey.
The traditional Indian sports such as kho-kho, kabaddi and kite flying have enjoyed great popularity in urban as well as rural sections of India. These sports require little infrastructure and as a result have thrived in the onslaught of cricket. I was tempted to list the great sporting achievements of cricketers here but that is not the object of writing this article. Everyone is aware of cricketing achievements. But the concern is about the condition of other sports in India. It has been voiced many times all over the country. Things are looking better however with Indian athletes beginning to perform at world level. It makes me feel proud. What about you?
Lack of proper facilities has been considered as the main reason for lack of performance of Indian sportsmen. This might be partially true but the real reason was the lack of attitude more than anything. After all who can forget Milkha Singh’s achievements in 1960s? What were the facilities then? The determination required for winning was lacking in Indian sportsmen. However it is also a fact that we need world class facilities to perform well consistently at world stage.