National Games of India
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The National Games of India is a sporting event held in India. It comprises various disciplines in which sportsmen from the different states of India participate against each other. The country's first few Olympic Games, now christened as National Games, were held in North India (Delhi, Lahore, Allahabad, Patiala), Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay.
|Abbreviation||Indian Olympic Association|
|Motto||Get Set Play|
|Occur every||2 years|
Indian Olympic Games (Early National Games)
In the early 1920s, the Indian chapter of the Olympic movement was born, and India participated in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.  As part of this movement, a provisional Indian Olympic Association (IOA) came about by 1924, and the Indian Olympic Games were held in Feb 1924 in Delhi to select Indian competitors for the 1924 Antwerp Olympics. IOA Secretary Dr. Noehren wrote about these games as follows: "The All India Athletic Carnival, the greatest and most representative gathering of its kind ever to be held in India, was recently celebrated in Delhi...Seventy athletes, representing practically every province and State in the Empire, comprising Hindus, Muslims, Anglo-Indians and Sinhalese, ate their food around the same table and mingled intimately in the cramped and uncomfortable quarters provided."
The games were then held every two years, and were renamed as National Games during the 9th Games in Bombay in 1940. The Indian Olympic Association, the sports organising body of the nation, mooted the concept of the National Games to promote the development of sports and of the Olympic movement in India, and was responsible for host city selection.
Each games was organised by the host city sports association, and each had its unique challenges. For example, in late 1949, the Bengal Provincial Olympic Association, whose turn it was to hold the next national games, could not do so, and the IOA President Maharaja of Patiala then asked Bombay to host the games; it had just three months to organise the event. Bombay government ministers and Bombay olympic association officials then worked to hold the 1950 National Games in Bombay in early February 1950.
While held at various cities, the organisation of each national games was roughly similar, with an overarching 'Jury of Honour and Appeal' comprising the main officials for the games; and other officials such as a General Manager and Managers; Referee; Official Surveyer; Judges; Starters; Clerks of the Course; Recorders; Announcers; Scorers; Marshals; and Photographers.
For example, at the 11th Games in Patiala, Feb 1944, the Jury of Honor and Appeal comprised: Moinul Haq (Chair), N.Ahmed, SK Mukherjee, S de Noronha, S Bhoot, JN Khosla, Raja Birindra Singh, AC Dass, MS Ahluwalia, BR Kagal, CR Dhodapkar, Nawab Hussain, SV Lingras, RS Dr Kailash Singh, NN Kunzru, and PK Varghese. And the officials included 6 Managers for various sports, General Manager R S Kirpanarain, announcers Basir Ali Sheikh and Prem Kumar, and several judges.
At the 13th Games in Lucknow, Feb. 1948, the Jury of Honour and Appeal comprised: Moinul Haq (Chair), M Sultan, S Bhoot, DN Sharma, MG Nageshkar, Raja Bhalinder Singh, BC Holanti, Rameshwar Dayal, S de Noronha, PK Verghese, N Ahmed, AC Das, Kripa Narain, PC Joshi, GD Sondhi, Janki Das, Harbail Singh, Vasant Captain, and AR Khanna. And the officials included General Manager M. Sultan and 8 Managers for various sports; Referee G D Sondhi; Official Surveyers G D Sondhi, N Ahmed, S Bhoot, and M Sultan; announcer D Abraham; and several judges and other officials.
At the 14th Games in Bombay, Feb 1950, the Jury of Honour and Appeal comprised: G D Sondhi (Chair), N Ahmed, R Narain, S Bhoot, M Sultan, R Dayal, F C Aurora, S S Dhawan, Bhalinder Singh, M G Nageskar, A S DeMello, S K Basu, B C Mahante, and C C Abraham. And the officials included Referee Moinul Haq; Manager in Chief Sohrab Bhoot; Managers Nariman Saugar and Y A Gole; announcer David Abraham; and judges and other officials.
- See Pictures of 1950 and other games at Indian National Games 1950.
Modern National Games
For several years in the mid-twentieth century, the national games were conducted on a low key note. However, the first Modern National Games on the lines of the Olympics were held in 1985 in New Delhi. Thereafter Kerala (1987), Pune-Maharashtra (1994), Bangalore-Karnataka (1997), Manipur (1999), Ludhiana-Punjab (2001), Hyderabad-Andhra Pradesh (2002), Guwahati-Assam (2007), Ranchi-Jharkhand (2011), and Kerala (2015) hosted the Games. Like the early games, the modern games had their challenges: for example, a decision on the sixth modern National Games in Ludhiana-Punjab was delayed because the Central Government diverted funding for the first Afro-Asian Games. The National Games were normally to be held every two years, leaving those years in which the Olympic Games and Asian Games are scheduled. In exceptional cases or natural calamity, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) can relax the general rule. In practice, the games were often held at three to four year intervals in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.
|List of National Games of India|
|Indian Olympic Games||1st||1924||Delhi |
|32nd||2002||Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam|
|List of National Winter Games of India|
|National Winter Games||1st||1996||Gulmarg|
List of Winners
|Year||Host||1st Position||2nd Position||3rd Position|
Performance of Host States
In recent times, the host states of National Games have consistently featured in the top 5 in the overall medal tally. Kerala had become the Champions when it hosted the event in 1987. The 1997 National Games was hosted by Karnataka and they won the largest number of medals. Manipur which had finished 9th in the 1997 National Games, became the overall champions when they hosted the event two years later. In 2001, hosts Punjab became the champions. Andhra Pradesh which had won only 11 Gold Medals in 2001 went on to become the Champions when they hosted it in 2002 winning a whopping 94 Gold Medals overall. Assam had managed to win only a single gold medal and had finished 21st position in 2001. But, in the subsequent 2007 National Games that they hosted, they were the second runners-up winning a total of 38 Gold Medals. In 2011, Assam finished 15th overall winning only 5 Gold Medals. Jharkhand had been in the 15th position in 2007 National Games. They rose to the 5th position when they hosted it in 2011. In 2015, hosts Kerala secured the second spot in the medal tally. One main reason for this trend is the higher number of participants from the host state and comparatively lesser number of participants from other states.
Though National Games are supposed to be held once in 2 years, it is faltering on this schedule. It took Guwahati five years to conduct the games after the National Games in 2002 are organised in Andhra Pradesh.
The 34th National Games had been postponed six times before finally opening on February 12, 2011. The 35th National Games were to be held at Trivandrum in 2012, it was then announced that it would be held from 31 January to February 14, 2015. The 36th National Games will be held at Goa at the closing ceremony of 35th National Games in Trivandrum, Goa contingent said the games would be held in November 2016, and the 37th National Games will be held after that in January 2019 in Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh.
Greening the National Games
The 2015 National Games organised in Trivandrum was associated with green protocols. This was initiated by Suchitwa Mission that aimed for "zero-waste" venues. Waste Management programmes were implemented at the 29 venues. To make the event "disposable-free", there was ban on the usage of disposable water bottles. The event witnessed the usage of reusable tableware and stainless steel tumblers. Athletes were provided with refillable steel flasks. It is estimated that these green practices stopped the generation of 120 metric tonnes of disposable waste. Suchitwa Mission requested the help of volunteers to achieve the green objectives, and the service of these 700 volunteers to achieve the green objectives were applauded by the Chief Minister.
- Some founders of the Indian Olympic movement were Dorab Tata, A.G. Noehren (Madras College of Physical Education), H.C. Buck (Madras College of Physical Education), Moinul Haq (Bihar sports associations), S. Bhoot (Bombay Olympic Association), Bhagwat (Deccan Gymkhana), and G.D. Sondhi (Punjab Olympic Association). Lt.Col H.L.O. Garrett (vice principal of Government College, Lahore) and Sagnik Poddar (of St.Stephen's School) helped organise the early national games. And prominent patrons included Maharajas and royal princes Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Ranji of Nawanagar, the Maharaja of Kapurthala, and the Maharaja of Burdwan. See also Punjab, the Spirit of Sport, The Tribune, Nov 18, 2001.
- Brochures of the 1940s national games mention that the first national games in Delhi were in Feb 1924, though some mention a date of December 1923. All sources are consistent for the 1928 games in Lahore, 1930 games in Allahabad, and for later games.
- Brochure, Madras Provincial Olympic Games, January 1950, Madras, p.6
- Decision on National Games on Aug.2, The Tribune, July 31, 2001.
- Brochures of the 1940s national games mention December 1923 and February 1924 for the games in Delhi.
- "National Games: The Curious Case of the Host State". Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR).
- "Games postponement pangs for players". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). September 27, 2010.
- "Kerala to host 35th National Games from January 31". The Hindu.com. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- "No National Games in Goa in 2011: CM". The Times Of India. Archived from the original on February 13, 2011.
- Share on Twitter (2015-12-24). "Amaravati set to host National Games 2019 - Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- "Chhattisgarh to host 37th National Games in 2013". Sify.
- Staff Reporter. "Green rules of the National Games". The Hindu.
- "National Games: Green Panel Recommends Ban on Plastic". The New Indian Express.
- "Kochi a ‘Museum City’ Too | The New Indian Express | Page 426326". M.newindianexpress.com. 2016-02-08. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- "National Games 2015: Simple Steps To Keep Games Green - Trivandrum News - Yentha.com". yentha.com.
- "Setting a New Precedent". The New Indian Express.
- "Chandy hails volunteers for 'green' National Games, Kerala - Mathrubhumi English News Online". mathrubhumi.com.