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Sport in India

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Former Indian men's cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni while batting. Under his captaincy, India have won the most ICC trophies.[a][1]
Kerala Blasters FC fans in Kaloor Stadium during an ISL match

India has a history of sports dating back to the Vedic period.[2] Cricket is the most popular spectator sport; it generates the highest television viewership, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) being the most-followed league in the country. Football has also gained popularity,[3][b] with the Indian Super League (ISL) being the highest level of domestic football, and the national team winning multiple gold medals at the Asian and South Asian Games. Additional football accomplishments include India having reached the Groupstage of the 1960 Olympics, qualified for the 1950 FIFA World Cup, and won the SAFF Championship.[5][6][7][8] Other sports include kabaddi, badminton, tennis, and athletics, with kho-kho becoming the fourth-most viewed sport.[9] India has also had success in field hockey, winning the World Cup and multiple medals in the Olympic Games. Sports such as golf, rugby, boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, motorsport, wrestling, and basketball are featured throughout the country.[10]

India's diverse culture and people have influenced the wide variety of sports, with indigenous sports such as fighter kite and boat racing being popular in some regions. Other indigenous sports include chess, kho kho, cycling, polo, snooker and rugby, subject to location. Water sports, like scuba diving, boating, surfing, and kiteboarding, frequently appear in coastal areas.[11] Professional wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) are popular among young audiences,[12] with some Indian wrestlers achieving international success.[13][14] India has hosted the Cricket World Cup three times and won it twice.[c] Field hockey is the most successful sport for India at the Olympics, with the Indian men's team winning twelve Olympic medals—eight of which were gold. Although it is not considered a professional sport, cycling is a recreational activity and exercise in India.[17]

Domestic professional commercial sports leagues in the country include Premier Handball League, the IPL and Women's Premier League, Indian Super League, I-League (football),[18] Pro Kabbadi, Hockey India League, Premier Badminton League (Badminton), Ultimate Table Tennis league, Prime Volleyball League (Volleyball) and Ultimate Kho Kho (Kho–kho). The major international sporting events that are annually organised in India include the Indian Open, India Open, and India Open. Kabaddi, an indigenous sport, is widely regarded as one of the fastest growing sports in India, following the launch of the Indian domestic Pro Kabaddi League. The sport has garnered substantial television viewership, contributing to its popularity and elevating its monetary value.[19] Women's sports have also grown in India, with professional leagues including the Women's Premier League and Women's Kabaddi League.[20]

India has hosted several international sporting events, including the 1951 and 1982 Asian Games; the 1987, 1995, and 2016 South Asian Games; the 2010 Commonwealth Games; the 2014 Lusofonia Games; the 1987, 1996,[d] 2011, 2016, 2021[e] Men's Cricket world cups; and the 1978, 1997, 2013, and 2016 Women's Cricket World Cups. India has hosted editions of the SAFF Championship in 1999, 2011, 2015, 2023; SAFF Women's Championship in 2016, and junior FIFA world cups including the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2022 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup of football. India will host the 2023 ODI, 2026 T20, 2031 ODI Cricket World Cup,[f] and 2025 Women's World Cup of Cricket.[22][g]


Ancient and medieval period[edit]

A team tackle occurring in the ancient Indian game of kabaddi.

The world's oldest stadium with terraced stands was constructed in Dholavira, Gujarat, during the third millennium BCE. Two stadiums have been identified at the ancient site: one is considered a ceremonial ground, and the other a small stadium.[23][24][25]

Sports were evident during the Vedic era.[2] Physical culture in ancient India was fuelled by religious rights.[specify] The mantra in the Atharvaveda says, "Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left.". This resembles the Olympic Oath: "For the Honour of my Country and the Glory of Sport."[26]

The modern game of badminton developed from an English children's game known as battledore and shuttlecock, a game that was most prominent in ancient India. The battledore was a paddle and the shuttlecock was a small feathered cork, colloquially called a bird.[27]

India has a rich heritage of martial arts. In the Mahabharata and Ramayana, Bhima and Hanuman were the greatest Gadadhari (transl. One who fights with Gada (the Mace weapon)) and were skilled in wrestling. Lord Krishna's brother Balarama was a great Gadadhari. During the era of the Mahabharata, Pandava prince Arjun and Ekalavya were expert archers. Kalaripayattu is practised by some as a traditional martial art in South India.

The Mahabharata is a tale of warring cousins (Pandavas and Kauravas).[28] It was believed that this book contained all aspects of Indian life, and whatever was said which was not in the book was not true. Going back to the history of sports, martial arts was one of the earliest sport used for military purposes. This too was limited to only the warrior caste, the Kshatriya. In ancient Greece, the patriarchy was very strict, and likewise ancient India restricted their sports to only men.[29]

Board games, including chess and snakes and ladders, originated from the ancient Indian games chaturanga and gyan chauper respectively; these were later brought to foreign countries, where they would be modernized.[30][31] Chaturanga taught ancient Indians how to strategise for war, and the other board games often imparted spiritual values.[32][33]

Several Indian variations of tag, such as kabaddi and kho-kho, originated in prehistoric times, with kho-kho being played as far back as the fourth century BCE.[34] Atya-patya, a variant of tag, was mentioned in the Naṟṟiṇai (written in 300 CE).[35][36][37] Kabaddi and atya-patya in particular were used for military training purposes.[37][38] During the rule of the Mughal Empire, pehlwani, a form of wrestling, was developed by combining native malla-yuddha with Persian varzesh-e bastani.[39]

Several other activities were partaken in for recreation, such as hunting, gambling in dice-games, etc.[40]

British Colonial period[edit]

The Indian Hockey team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, later going on to defeat Germany 8–1 in the final.

During the colonial period, British India[h] competed at six Olympic Games, winning medals in field hockey.[i] British sports were introduced into India during that period. Some Indians were variously participating in British sports to rise up the social hierarchy by imitating their colonisers[43] as well as aiming to achieve victory against the British in their sports.[44] The British also aimed to spread their sports among Indians as a way of spreading British values.[29][45] Efforts were made to develop the native games of India during this time period; this led to the successful standardisation of games such as kabaddi and kho-kho,[46][47] as well as their demonstration in the 1936 Summer Olympics.[48]

In the early days, the British began clubs, which only whites could join. These clubs were a place where men could gather together to drink, socialize, and play sports. British soldiers would play British sports as a way of maintaining fitness, since the mortality rate for foreigners in India was high at the time, as well as to maintain a sense of Britishness; in the words of an anonymous writer, playing British sports was a way for the British to "defend themselves from the magic of the land". The different games played in the clubs would be cricket, badminton, rugby, golf, and rowing.[29]

Snooker originated in the late 19th century among British Army officers stationed in India.[49] Modern polo originated in British India in the 19th century[j] in Manipur, where the game was known as Sagol Kangjei, Kanjai-bazee, or Pulu. The name polo is the anglicized version of the lattermost term. The first polo club was established in Silchar, Assam, in 1833. The oldest polo club still in existence is the Calcutta Polo Club, which was established in 1862.[50][51][52]

Dorabji Tata, with the support of Dr. A.G. Noehren, the then-director of YMCA, established the Indian Olympic Association in 1927.[53]

One of the world's earliest football clubs, the Mohun Bagan was established in 1889. The club was formed when The Football Association began making standard rules for football. Before FIFA, the international governing body of football[clarification needed] was founded.

Sport as a Symbol of National Power[edit]

India has been under direct British colonial rule since 1858, and showed constant political, social, and cultural resistance throughout history. Though the British Raj has attained direct control over the subcontinent, there is a perspective that the Native Indians were able to cultivate their own form of national empowerment and a sense of implicit sovereignty through means of sport.

The British used sport as another conduit of transferring British socio-political ideas, culture, and beliefs into the fabric of India's system. As Australian author Brian Stoddart writes in his article on British sports and cultural imperialism, “Colonial governors were especially important in emphasizing cricket as a ritual demonstration of British behavior, standards, and moral codes in both public and private.”[54] Despite many Indians being a part of white-dominated sports teams, there was an inevitably constant re-emphasis of the superior and inferior race ideology within the teams. During this era, there was a prevailing mindset amongst the British colonizers, being the fact that they viewed the Indians through a lens of superiority, which was reflected through socio-political events, specifically through sports. The British believed that the Indians were the inferior and effeminate race, taking the opportunity of sport as a mission to mold, reshape and therefore improve the Native race into a stronger, more physically capable race.[55] However, unsurprisingly, the native Indians were not keen on giving up their traditions to follow their colonizers, as author Subhadipa Dutta emphasizes through the quote of “the colonized were not always fascinated to ‘mimic’ the manly gestures and leisure pursuits of their white masters.” To illustrate this, in his book, Ramachandra Guha has delved deep into the political aspect of religion, race and caste within sports teams, especially cricket. Guha successfully highlights the significance of the socio-cultural factors that are entwined in cricket, and how it encouraged the indigenization of the sport.[56]

Consequently, a strong desire stemming from frustration arose from the Indians; a desire to essentially reclaim their country that has been controlled by Europeans. The theory that Indians resisted British colonialism through sports to regain power over their country has been evident in various scholarly articles, books, and monographs. Specifically, in the 1963 memoir Beyond a Boundary, Tranidian Marxist intellectual C. L. R. James compares Indians on the field to Greek drama plays: “selected individuals played representative roles which were charged with social significance.”[57] The author explains that there is irony between the English origins of the sport and the means of which Indians use it as a way to express their national identity – an identity which they feel was stolen from them as a result of the British Raj or ruling. This is further evident through the quote of “... [S]ocial and political passions denied normal outlets, expressed themselves so fiercely in cricket precisely because they were games.”[57]

Furthermore, emphasizing and delving deep into its meanings, the memoir offers crucial points regarding the concept of native Indians expressing sovereignty within the games that they play. The memoir leads the reader to speculate beyond the meaning of cricket being a game for pleasure to view Englishness as an inherent and leading force within the actual sport. Through the lens of James’ memoir, the sport evolves into a nuance where Englishness intersects with West Indian identity formation, both in and beyond the field.[58] Indians used sports as a gateway or an opportunity to regain national pride and identity, ultimately fighting against the British narrative. The colonized therefore developed their own physical strength and power while confronting and rejecting the components of imperial ideology. They developed proud self-image throughout time as a significant step for achieving freedom and establishing popular sovereignty, which underscores the revolutionary power of resistance among Indians against their British colonizers through harvesting strength and national self-determination and identity.


The Eden Gardens in Kolkata, established in 1864, is the oldest cricket stadium in India. It has been part of several historic cricket matches.[k][l]

When India won the 1983 Cricket World Cup, cricket rose to popularity,[59] while field hockey was declining.[60] International sport and sporting leagues quickly grew in India after the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, which allowed more money to be invested into sports.[61] The Indian Premier League (IPL), which started in 2007, quickly became the most dominant league in the country and is highly influential in global cricket;[62] by 2022, it was only behind America's National Football League in terms of being the most valued league in the world on a per-match basis.[63] Several other sports leagues quickly popped up after the IPL, with the Indian Super League becoming one of the biggest leagues and playing a significant role in Indian football.[64] Other leagues (such as the Pro Kabaddi League, Ultimate Kho Kho, and the Pro Panja League) contributed to the modernisation of indigenous sports.[65][66][67][68] Kabaddi has become an international sport, with countries such as South Korea and Iran playing it.[69]

Several factors have explained India's lack of success in international sport, such as economic hardship, lack of emphasis on sports in Indian culture, corruption, and a lack of investment in sports.[70][71] In recent decades[when?], the Government of India and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports have tried to promote sports in the country by launching and organising new national sports events such as the Khelo India Youth Games (KIYG), Khelo India Winter Games, and Khelo India University Games (KIUG) of Khelo India games in various cities across the nation.[m] The first Khelo India School Games was held in 2018.[n] KIYG and KIUG are set up as annual events for children and teenagers, who represent their states and universities in them.[73][74]

India founded the Asian Games, which is considered to be the world's second-largest sporting event behind the Olympic Games[75] as a way to make itself relevant in the new post-colonial world order.[20][76] It hosted the Games in New Delhi for the inaugural edition in 1951 and again in 1982. The current Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports was initially set up as the Department of Sports in 1982 at the time of organisation of the Games in New Delhi. Its name was changed to the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports during International Youth Year in 1985.[77] India has also hosted and co-hosted several international sporting events, including the 1987, 1996 and 2011 Cricket World Cups, the 2003 Afro-Asian Games, the 2010 Hockey World Cup, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Major international sporting events annually held in India include the Chennai Open, the Mumbai Marathon and the Delhi Half Marathon. The country hosted the first Indian Grand Prix in 2011.[78] The largest stadium in the world, the Narendra Modi Stadium, is in India.


The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports is a ministry of the Government of India for sport in the country. Anurag Thakur is the incumbent sports minister of India.[79]

The ministry is run by a Secretary to the Government of India, and is usually headed by a Minister of State.[80] A ministry-recognised National Sports Federation Of India (NSFOI) represents each Olympic and non-Olympic sport—the only major exception being the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which is not an NSFOI.[81][o] As of 2019, 56 NSFs are recognised by the ministry.[83] The presence of politicians at the helm of many such federations has been criticised for causing inefficiency and corruption.[81]

For each sport, India has a separate governing body. These include the All India Football Federation for football, National Rifle Association of India for shooting, and Boxing Federation of India for boxing.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is responsible for the Indian contingent's participation in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games (outdoor, indoor and beach), South Asian Games, Lusofonia Games, World Games and Military World Games. The selection of the national teams is done by the respective national federations and then recommended to the IOA for official sponsorship for participation in those games.[53] The Paralympic Committee of India is responsible for the Indian participation in the Paralympic Games and Asian Para Games. The All India Sports Council for the Deaf is responsible for India's participation in the Deaflympics Games, and the Special Olympics Bharat is responsible for India's participation in the Special Olympics.

The Association of Indian Universities is responsible for India participating in the Universiade Games, while the School Games Federation of India is responsible for India's participation in the Gymnasiade Games.

International sports events held in India[edit]

The following is a list of international sports events held in India:

International Sports Events Hosting Record
Sport Event name Year/Date Venue
Multi-sport event Asian Games 1951 New Delhi
Table tennis World Table Tennis Championships 1952 Mumbai
Billiards IBSF World Billiards Championship 1952 Kolkata
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 1958 Kolkata
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 1963 Kolkata
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 1973 Mumbai
Table tennis World Table Tennis Championships 1975 Kolkata
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 1979 Jalandhar
Boxing Men's Asian Amateur Boxing Championships 1980[84] Bombay
Football AFC Women's Championship 1980 Kozhikode
Table tennis Asian Table Tennis Championships 1980 Kolkata
Archery Asian Archery Championships 1980[85] Kolkata
Basketball FIBA Asia Cup 1981 Kolkata
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 1981 New Delhi
Field hockey Field Hockey World Cup 1982 BHA Stadium, Bombay
Multi-sport event Asian Games 1982 New Delhi
Table tennis World Table Tennis Championships 1987 New Delhi
Cricket (ODI) Cricket World Cup 1987 Multiple venues
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 1987 Mumbai
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 1987 Bangalore
Multi-sport event South Asian Games 1987 Kolkata
Archery Asian Archery Championships 1988[85][86] Kolkata
Snooker ACBS Asian Snooker Championship 1989 India
Cycling Asian Cycling Championships 1989 Yamuna Velodrome, Delhi
Rowing Asian Rowing Championships 1989[87] Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh
Athletics Asian Athletics Championships 1989 New Delhi
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 1990 Bangalore
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 1991 New Delhi
Table tennis Asian Table Tennis Championships 1992 New Delhi
Judo Asian Judo Championships 1995 New Delhi
Multi-sport event South Asian Games 1995 Chennai
Cricket (ODI) Cricket World Cup 1996 Multiple Venues
Field hockey Men's Hockey Champions Trophy 1996 Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, Chennai
Tennis Chennai Open 1996– SDAT Tennis Stadium, Chennai
Cricket (ODI) Women's Cricket World Cup 1997 Multiple Venues
Basketball FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship 1998 Kolkata
Chess World Chess Championship 2000 New Delhi
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 2003 New Delhi
Multi-sport event Afro-Asian Games 2003 Hyderabad
Boxing Women's Asian Amateur Boxing Championships 2003 Hisar District
Canoeing Asian Canoeing Championships Canoe sprint 2003[88] Bhopal
Kabaddi Kabaddi World Cup (Standard style) 2004 Mumbai, Maharastra
Basketball FIBA Asia Under-18 Championship 2004 Bangalore
Sailing Asian Sailing Championship 2004 Mumbai
Marathon IAAF Road Race Label Events Mumbai Marathon 2004–(recur) Mumbai
Half marathon IAAF Road Race Label Events Delhi Half Marathon 2005–(recur) Delhi
Rowing Asian Rowing Championships 2005[89] Hussain Sagar, Hyderabad
Cycling Asian Cycling Championships 2005 Punjab Agriculture University Velodrome
Field hockey Men's Hockey Champions Trophy 2005 Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, Chennai
Archery Asian Archery Championships 2005 New Delhi
Boxing AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships 2006 New Delhi
Gymnastics Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships 2006 Surat
Rhythmic Gymnastics Asian Championships 2006
Kabaddi Kabaddi World Cup (Standard style) 2007 Panvel, Maharastra
Beach volleyball Asian Beach Volleyball Championship 2008 Hyderabad
Boxing Women's Asian Amateur Boxing Championships 2008 Guwahati
Football AFC Challenge Cup 2008 Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi

Gachibowli Athletic Stadium, Hyderabad

Multi-sport event Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 Pune
Badminton BWF World Junior Championships 2008 Pune
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 2008 Bangalore
Badminton BWF World Championships 2009 Hyderabad
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 2009[90] Hyderabad
Basketball FIBA Asia Championship for Women 2009 Chennai
Table tennis Asian Table Tennis Championships 2009 Lucknow
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 2010 Maharashtra
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 2010 New Delhi
Field hockey Field Hockey World Cup 2010 New Delhi (Dhyan Chand National Stadium)
Multi-sport event Commonwealth Games 2010 New Delhi
Field hockey Men's Hockey Champions Trophy 2011 New Delhi
Cricket (ODI) Cricket World Cup 2011 Multiple Venues
Snooker ACBS Asian Snooker Championship 2011[91] Indore
Multi-sport event South Asian Winter Games 2011 Dehradun and Auli
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 2011[92] Bangalore
Motor sports Formula One 2011 Indian Grand Prix 2011 Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida
Field hockey 2012 Summer Olympics (London)
Qualification Tournament 1
2012 New Delhi (Dhyan Chand National Stadium)
Motor sports Formula One 2012 Indian Grand Prix 2012 Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida
Field hockey FIH Men's Hockey World League (2013 Round 2 (Delhi leg)) 2012–13 season New Delhi (Dhyan Chand National Stadium)
FIH Men's Hockey World League (2013 Round 4 (Final round))
FIH Women's Hockey World League (2013 Round 2 (Delhi leg)) 2012–13 season
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 2013 New Delhi
Canoeing Asian Canoeing Championships Canoe Polo 2013 New Delhi
Cycling Asian Cycling Championships 2013 New Delhi (Yamuna Velodrome)
Motor sports Formula One 2013 Indian Grand Prix 2013 Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida
Athletics Asian Athletics Championships 2013 Pune
Cricket (ODI) Women's Cricket World Cup 2013 Multiple Venues
Chess World Chess Championship 2013 Chennai
Multi-sport event Lusophony Games 2014 Goa
Tennis Davis Cup World Group play-offs 2014 KSLTA Tennis Stadium, Bangalore
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 2014[93] Bangalore
Badminton Thomas Cup Uber Cup 2014 Siri Fort Indoor Stadium, New Delhi
Field hockey Men's Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar
FIH Women's Hockey World League (2015 Round 2 (Delhi leg)) 2014–15 season Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi
FIH Men's Hockey World League (2015 Round 4 (Final round)) 2014–15 season Raipur
Golf Asian Tour Indian Open (golf) 2015 Delhi Golf Club
Weightlifting Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship 2015 Pune
Snooker IBSF World Snooker Championship 2016 Bangalore
Cricket (T20) ICC World Twenty20 2016 Multiple Venues
Cricket (T20) ICC Women's World Twenty20 2016 Multiple Venues
Kabaddi Kabaddi World Cup (Standard style) 2016 The Arena, Ahmedabad
Golf Asian Tour Indian Open (golf) 2016 Delhi Golf Club
Multi-sport event South Asian Games 2016 Guwahati and Shillong
Athletics Asian Athletics Championships 2017 Bhubaneswar
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 2017 Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, New Delhi
Cycling Asian Cycling Championships 2017 Indira Gandhi Arena, New Delhi
Badminton BWF Super Series India Open 2017 Siri Fort Indoor Stadium, New Delhi
Squash Asian Individual Squash Championships 2017 Express Avenue Mall, Chennai
Shooting ISSF World Cup 2017 New Delhi
Table tennis ITTF World Tour India Open (table tennis) 2017 Thyagaraj Sports Complex, New Delhi
Football FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017 Multiple Venues
Basketball FIBA Asia Women's Cup 2017 Bangalore
Basketball FIBA Asia Under-16 Championship for Women 2017 Bangalore
Boxing AIBA Women's Youth World Championships 2017[94] Guwahati
Golf Asian Tour Indian Open (golf) 2017 DLF Golf and Country Club
Lawn Bowls Asian Lawn Bowls Championships 2017[95][96] New Delhi
Asian Under 25 Lawn Bowls Championship
Field hockey FIH Men's Hockey World League (2017 Round 4 (Final round)) 2016–17 season Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar
Field Hockey World Cup 2018
Golf Asian Tour Indian Open (golf) 2018 DLF Golf and Country Club
Boxing AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships 2018[97] New Delhi
Wrestling Asian Wrestling Championships 2020 New Delhi
Field hockey Men's FIH Hockey Junior World Cup 2021 Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar
Football AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022 Multiple Venues
2022 Asian Men's Club League Handball Championship 2022 Hyderabad
Odisha Open 2022 Cuttak
Chess Chess Olympiad 2022 Chennai
Basketball FIBA Under-18 Women's Asian Championship 2022 Bangalore
Track Cycling Asian Cycling Championships 2022 New Delhi
powerboat racing F1 Powerboat World Championship 2022 Mumbai
Field hockey Men's FIH Pro League 2022 Bhubaneswar
Football FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2022 Multiple Venues
Field hockey Men's FIH Pro League 2023 Bhubaneswar
Motor sports Grand Prix motorcycle racing 2023 Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida
Field hockey Men's FIH Hockey World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar and Rourkela
Cricket (ODI) Cricket World Cup 2023 Multiple Venues
Weightlifting Asian Youth & Junior Weightlifting Championship 2023 Delhi
Weightlifting Commonwealth Senior, Junior & Youth Weightlifting Championships 2023 To be Decided
Cricket (ODI) Women's Cricket World Cup 2025 Multiple venues
Badminton BWF World Championships 2026 To be Decided
Cricket (Twenty20) Men's ICC T20 World Cup 2026 Multiple venues
Cricket (ODI) Men's ICC ODI World Cup 2031 Multiple venues

India at major international multi–sports events[edit]


Athlete Norman Pritchard represented India in the 1900 Olympics, winning two silver medals. India sent its first national team to the Olympics in 1920 and has participated in every Summer Olympic Games ever since. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games since 1964.

As of 2021, India has won a total of 35 Summer Olympic medals. India won its first gold medal in men's field hockey at the 1928 Olympic Games. On winning the 10m air rifle event at the 2008 Olympics, Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games. In 2021, Neeraj Chopra won the men's javelin throw gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.[98][99]

Commonwealth Games and Asian Games[edit]

Tennis player Sania Mirza has won multiple medals, including in various Grand Slam events,Commonwealth Games, and Asian Games.

India has competed in all but four editions of the Commonwealth Games since the second Game in 1934. India has hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010 at Delhi. India has won a total of 504 medals, including 181 gold medals.

India has participated in every edition of the Asian Games, and has hosted the Games in 1951 and 1982 in New Delhi. As of 2018, India has won 671 medals, of which 139 are gold. India has won at least one gold medal in each tournament; its performance in the Asian Games has improved significantly in recent years.[100]

Other appearances[edit]

India has participated in every edition of the World Games (where they won five medals) and the South Asian Games (where they ranked first place). India has also participated in the Lusofonia Games.

India was in the Deaflympics Games, Special Olympics Games, Military World Games, Universiade Games, Gymnasiade Games, and Paralympic Games.

The National Games of India[edit]

The National Games of India are conducted by the Indian Olympic Association and are meant to identify athletes who would later go for the Olympics. The first National Games (formerly called the Indian Olympic Games), were held in Lahore in 1924, while the first modern Games were held in New Delhi in 1985.[101]

Olympic sports[edit]


Historically, archery was played and practiced by royals. Modern archery in India began in the early 1970s before its introduction as an Olympic event in 1972, and it was formalised in 1973 when the Archery Association of India (AAI) was established. Since its inception, AAI has been creating and maintaining the rules of the sport.


Neeraj Chopra is a 2020 Summer Olympics gold medalist, Diamond league 2022 champion, and a World Athletics Championship 2022 medalist in javelin throwing.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is the national governing body of athletics in India. India is not a major competitor in athletics. Very few Indian athletes have won medals and championships at international competitions. As of 28 October 2022, India has won three medals in the Summer Olympics.

Norman Pritchard was the first Indian athlete. He won an Olympic medal for India as a sprinte and won two silver medals in the 200m sprint and 200m hurdle track and field event at the 1900 Summer Olympics.[102][103] Neeraj Chopra won the first Olympic gold medal in track and field for India at the 2020 Summer Olympics, also winning a medal in the javelin throw event.[104]

Anju Bobby George won the bronze medal in the women's long jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris. She became the first Indian athlete to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics, jumping 6.7 m (22 ft) in 2010. For 52 years, Milkha Singh was the only athlete to win an individual gold medal at a Commonwealth Games; however, at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Krishna Punia won the women's discus throw gold medal for India and was the first Indian woman to be a gold medalist in athletics at the Commonwealth Games.[105] At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Vikas Gowda won the Men's Discus Throw gold medal.

Hima Das is the only Indian track athlete to win a medal at any World Athletics global event. She won the gold medal in Women's 400 metres at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, on 12 July 2018, clocking at a time of 51.46 seconds.[106][107] She is the second gold medalist in athletics at the IAAF World U20 Championships after Chopra, who won men's javelin throw gold at 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships by setting the world junior record with a throw of 86.48 m (283.7 ft). Chopra later won gold in the men's javelin throw at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. In 2020, at the Tokyo Olympics, he became the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in men's javelin throw.[p] At the 2016 Summer Olympics, Lalita Babar became the first Indian athlete since 1984 to reach the Olympics finale in the event of the Women's 3000 metres steeplechase.[108] Before her, P.T. Usha reached the finale of the Women's 400 metres hurdles at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

P.T. Usha won multiple gold medals[quantify] in different editions of the Asian Games and Asian Athletics Championships. Lavy Pinto was the first Indian to win a gold medal in the Asian Games. Pinto also won a gold medal in the first Asian Games held at New Delhi in 1951 in the 100- and 200-meter categories.[109] Christine Brown, Stephie D'Souza, Violet Peters, and Mary D'Souza won the first gold medal in women's athletics for India in the 4 × 100 m relay in the 1954 Asian Games. Kamaljeet Sandhu was the first female Indian athlete to win an individual gold medal at any Asian games in the 400m track event at the 1970 Asian Games.[110] Sunita Rani holds the current Asian record in the 1500 m track event winning at the Busan 2002 Asian Games at a time of 4:06.03.

Madhurjya Borah, an Indian triathlete, holds the silver medal for the South Asian Triathlon Championship. Triathlete Anu Vaidyanathan was the first Asian to compete in Ultraman.[111] In May 2016, Arunaabh Shah became the first Indian male and the youngest Indian to finish Ultraman at Ultraman Australia.[112]

Neeraj Chopra became the first India athlete to win the Diamond League trophy in Zürich, Switzerland, in 2022[113] by throwing a javelin 88.44 m (290.2 ft).[114] On 24 July 2022, he won the silver medal in the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon; he is the only athlete from India to have done so.[115]

In the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Avinash Sable and Priyanka Goswami won the first silver medals for India in the games' history and in any major multinational events in the 3000m steeplechase and 10,000m racewalking events respectively.[116]


P V Sindhu and Thomas Cup winning team
Indian shuttler Sindhu, Bronze, Silver Olympic medalist, world number one and winner of many international championships
Indian shuttlers, after winning their first ever Thomas Cup 2022.
Indian badminton players

Badminton is a popular sport in India, specifically in South India; people often play it as a recreational activity. The region has multiple badminton academies and coaching facilities.

The Badminton Association of India (BAI) is the national governing body of badminton in India. It organises multiple national tournaments.

In 2022, the Indian Badminton team won for the first time in the Thomas Cup, which is a badminton multinational tournament.[117]

P. V. Sindhu, Srikanth Kidambi, and pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are ranked amongst the top ten in the current BWF world rankings. Prakash Padukone was the first player from India to achieve the number one spot. He was the winner of the All England Open Badminton Championships in 1980, which was later won by Pullela Gopichand in 2001. Srikanth Kidambi became the second male player to make it to the top spot in April 2018.[118] In 2015, Saina Nehwal achieved the world number one BWF ranking, and she is the first ever Indian badminton player who won a medal at the Olympics, doing so in 2012.[119][120]

Sindhu is the first Indian to become the Badminton World Champion, which she achieved in 2019, and is the only badminton player from India to win two consecutive medals at the Olympic Games. In 2016, she won a silver medal, while in 2020, she won bronze.[121][122]

Doubles player Jwala Gutta is the only Indian to have been ranked in the top 10 in two categories: at number 6 with Valiyaveetil Diju in mixed doubles, and number 10 with Ashwini Ponnappa in women's doubles.[123] Other successful players include Aparna Popat, Syed Modi, Chetan Anand, Parupalli Kashyap, Prannoy Kumar, Sameer Verma, Lakshya Sen, Ashwini Ponnappa, and N. Sikki Reddy.

India has also won twelve medals at the BWF World Championships, with Sindhu being the only Indian badminton player to have won gold in 2019. At the BWF World Junior Championships, Nehwal is the only gold medalist for India, winning in 2008. At the Badminton Asia Junior Championships, Sindhu and Lakshya Sen are the only gold medalists for India, winning in 2012 and 2018 respectively.


Four men standing. Middle of them is a young Indian male who wears a shiny orange dressing gown with blue border. His hands are behind his head. The other three men are all dressed in black and appear to be waiting around the man.
Mary Kom, Olympic medalist, famous Indian amateur boxer

The Indian Boxing Federation is the national governing body of the sport. India regularly wins medals in boxing at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. In November 2007, Mary Kom won the title of best boxer, securing a hat-trick. During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Vijender Singh won a bronze medal in the middleweight division, and Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar qualified for the quarterfinals. Akhil Kumar, Jitender Kumar, A.L. Lakra, and Dinesh Kumar won a bronze medal at the 2008 World Championship. Kom won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games.[124]

Field hockey[edit]

Field hockey, until the mid-1970s, was dominated by the India men's national field hockey team, winning Olympic gold medals and the 1975 Men's Hockey World Cup. Field hockey declined within the country due to changing rules, the introduction of artificial turf, and internal politics in Indian field hockey bodies. In 2008, the men's team failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics and finished last in the 2012 Olympics.

However, the men's team were second place at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won gold in field hockey at the 2014 Asian Games. Losing at the quarter final stage of the 2016 Rio Olympics following a loss to Belgium, India would win the 2017 Men's Hockey Asia Cup. India, at the 2020 games in Tokyo, won a bronze medal. Currently,[needs update] the Indian men's team is fifth in the rankings of the Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon (FIH, English: International Hockey Federation), the international governing body of indoor and outdoor field hockey.[125]

The women's national field hockey team first participated at the Summer Olympics in 1980, achieving fourth place. At the 1982 Asian Games for field hockey, the team won gold. In the 2016 Summer Olympics, the Indian women's team qualified for the Summer Olympics and they went on to win the 2017 Women's Hockey Asia Cup. However, the India Women's team did not win any medals in the Women's Hockey World Cup. The present team is ranked tenth place by the Fédération Internationale de Hockey.[125] India has hosted three Men's Hockey World Cups—the first in 1982 in Mumbai, second in 2010 in Delhi—where the country finished fifth and eighth place respectively—and the third in Bhubaneswar in 2018. India also hosted the annual Hockey Champions Trophy in 1996, 2005, 2014, and 2016.

Until 2008, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was the apex body for hockey in the country. However, after corruption and other scandals in the IHF, the federation was dissolved, and a new apex body for Indian hockey called Hockey India (HI) was formed on 20 May 2009, with support from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and former hockey players. HI, recognized by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), has the sole mandate to govern and conduct all activities for both men's and women's field hockey in India. Although the IHF was reinstated in 2010,[126] it is not recognised by the FIH. The IHF conducts a franchise-based tournament called World Series Hockey (WSH), with its first season conducted in 2012. However, it is not approved by the HI or the FIH.

HI also conducts a franchise-based tournament called the Hockey India League (HIL). Its first season was held in 2013. It is recognised by the FIH, which has also decided to provide a 30-day window for the forthcoming seasons so all top players can participate.


Sayed Rahim Nabi of East Bengal FC and Daniel of Chirag United SC during I-League at Salt Lake Stadium.

Football was introduced to India during the British colonial period. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is the national governing body for football in India. It is affiliated with FIFA, the international governing body of football, and the Asian Football Federation (AFF). Football is the second most popular sport in India after cricket. In states such as West Bengal and Karnataka, both football and cricket are equally popular, while football is the dominant sport, more popular than cricket, in Kerala, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir and Northeast India.

Although India has never played in any FIFA World Cups, India qualified for the 1950 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. However, the country did not participate because the team was not allowed to play barefoot. Another excuse that was cited was that the AIFF did not have money to travel to Brazil that time.[127][128] The barefoot excuse was false, according to a 19 July 2011 Los Angeles Times article.[128] FIFA was ready to give money to the Indian team to travel to Brazil for the World Cup, thus invalidating the money excuse. The barefoot excuse was a "historical blunder" done by AIFF according to the book Box to box: 75 years of the Indian football team, authored by sports journalist Jaydeep Basu. In his book, he revealed that the Indian football team did not play 1950 FIFA World Cup because of "ignorance, short-sightedness, lack of confidence, and misplaced priorities on behalf of the All India Football Federation".[128][129]

In the 1948 Summer Olympics, India went against France, losing 2–1.[q][128] During the 1950s and 1960s, known as the golden era, India was the first Asian team to reach the semi-finals in an Olympic football tournament at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, and Neville D'Souza became the first Asian and Indian to score a hat-trick in an Olympic match.[130][131] The men's team have won two gold medals at the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962,[132] and finished in second place at the 1964 AFC Asian Cup.

India currently ranks 102nd in the FIFA rankings as of 26 October 2023. It has won multiple editions of SAFF Championships.[133] In 2023, it won the Intercontinental Cup by defeating Lebanon in the final round.

The India national football team and India women's national football team represent India in FIFA, Asian Football Federation, and international, friendly tournaments in men's and women's football respectively.[clarification needed] The Indian Super League and I-League are deemed as top-tier football leagues in India.

In June 1937, at the Army Headquarters in Shimla, the AIFF—the governing body for football in India—was formed during a meeting of the representatives of football associations from six regions where the game was popular at the time. Other major domestic competitions for men's football include the I-League second division in the Indian League System and the annual knock-out style Federation Cup. For women's football, there is the India women's football championship.

European leagues, such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and the UEFA Champions League, are popular among Indian football fans, especially in metropolitan cities.[citation needed] Other European top leagues, such as the UEFA Europa League, Germany's Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A, and France's Ligue 1 are broadcast on television in India.

The nation has hosted the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup; this was the first FIFA junior football world cup held in India.[134] The matches were held from 6 to 28 October in arenas in New Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi, Navi Mumbai, Guwahati, and Margao.[135]

In club football, a rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal FC of West Bengal known as the Kolkata Derby attracts many viewers, generating interest in fans. As of 2021, in ISL teams, 25% of players were from the states of Mizoram and Manipur in Northeast India. Most of the players of the India national football team are from these northeast states, where there are football clubs such as Aizawl FC, Shillong Lajong FC, and Neroca FC, who all play in the I-League.[136]

Beach soccer and futsal[edit]

The India national beach soccer team represents India in international level tournaments. The AIFF is responsible to govern and develop the game in the nation.[137][138] The AIFF is the governing body of futsal in India. The India national futsal team represents the country in international level tournaments and games.[139]


Jeev Milkha Singh at the 2008 PGA

Golf is played among the wealthier classes. The most successful Indian golfers are Jeev Milkha Singh and Anirban Lahiri. Singh won three titles on the European Tour, four on the Japan Golf Tour, and six on the Asian Tour. His highest world ranking was on 28 March 2009. Singh has won the Asian Tour Order of Merit twice. Meanwhile, Lahiri has two European Tour wins and seven Asian Tour wins, qualifying for the 2015 Presidents Cup.

Other Indians who have won the Asian Tour Order of Merit are Jyoti Randhawa in 2002 (the first Indian to do so), and Arjun Atwal, who went on in 2010 to become the first Indian-born player to become a member of the US-based PGA Tour and win the 2010 Wyndham Championship.

In golf at the Asian Games, the India's men's golf team won gold at the 1982 Asian Games and silver at the 2006 Asian Games. Lakshman Singh won the individual gold at the 1982 Asian Games.

There are numerous golf courses around India as well as a Professional Golf Tour. The main tournament is the Hero Indian Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour.

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Aditi Ashok finished fourth place in the women's golf competition.


Dipa Karmakar is India's first gymnast, who participated in the Olympics and finished in fourth place at the Rio Olympics on her Olympic debut.

In India, gymnastics is not as prominent due to the lack of facilities, exposure, encouragement, championships, sponsorships, and coaching. However, the sport gained national attention after the performance of Dipa Karmakar at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she reached fourth place in the final round during her debut. Karmakar's success made her well known in India and encouraged new girls and boys to participate in gymnastics.[140]

The Gymnastics Federation of India is the official governing body for gymnastics sport in India. It organises various tournaments throughout the year, and it is recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of India.[141]

Ashish Kumar won the first medal in gymnastics for India, which was bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He also won a silver medal in the men's vault in that edition.[142]

At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Karmakar won bronze in the women's vault final. Her second vault, the Produnova vault—known as the vault of death due to how dangerous it could be—was executed with a score of 15.1 (D-7, Ex- 8.1).[143] With this attempt, she became the fifth gymnast to ever execute the Produnova just after gymnast Oksana Chusovitina. In October 2015, Karmakar became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for a final stage at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships. In 2016, when she qualified for the Rio Olympics, she became the first Indian gymnast to do so. Hours after her qualification at the 2016 Gymnastics Olympic Test Event, she won a gold medal in the women's vault event.[144] On 6 July 2016, FIG honored Dipa by naming her World Class Gymnast.[145] At the Rio Olympics, she achieved fourth place in vaults. After a long hiatus from injury, she ran for vaults and won gold at the World Challenge Cup series.[146]


Vijay Amritraj and Leander Paes
First professional tennis player of India, Vijay Amritraj, he was a quality singles player and reached QF of Wimbledon
Leander Paes, 1996 Olympics' bronze medalist, multiple mixed doubles grand slams winner.
Legendary tennis players of India

Tennis, in urban areas, is a popular sport among Indians after the success of Vijay Amritraj. He was India's firstsingles player who reached the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Championships. Amritraj was a notable player in the 1960s and 1970s. He is the first Indian singles tennis player who was in the top 50 of the WTA rankings and was the number 16 world singles player.[147]

The All India Tennis Association, is the national governing body for tennis in India. It is affiliated with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the governing body for tennis in the world. The ATP 250 Maharashtra Open was organised in Pune until 2022.[r] Stan Wawrinka was its most successful player, while Rafael Nadal participated in it.

In Grand Slams, India has won multiple Tennis Grand Slams in men's doubles and mixed doubles. Leander Paes won a singles bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, achieving the world record for the number of mixed doubles in Wimbledon. Since the late 1990s, Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have won many men's doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. Sania Mirza was an Indian woman tennis player who won a WTA title, was in the Top 30 WTA rankings, and won three Grand Slam doubles events, the first at Wimbledon in 2015. In singles, Yuki Bhambri is a top player at the ATP Tour; Bhambri was the Australian Open junior singles champion in 2009. Women tennis players Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi were in the top 200 in 2018.[148][149]


The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) was founded in 1951 with a view to promote and popularize the shooting sports in India. It is the governing body for shooting sports in the country. India has won many international medals in various forms of this sport.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former rifle shooter, won a silver medal, the first Olympic medal in shooting.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the first Olympic medal in shooting for India. Rathore won silver in the 2004 Summer Olympics in double trap and has won 3 Commonwealth gold medals, one silver medal, and a silver and bronze medal in the Asian Games.[150]

Abhinav Bindra, former air rifle shooter, won a gold medal in the 10m air rifle shooting event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Abhinav Bindra won the first Olympic gold medal in shooting at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It was the first individual Olympic gold medal by an Indian in Olympics.[151]

Gagan Narang won a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the 10 meter air rifle shooting event. He won four gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne; among these two he won with Abhinav Bindra in team event.[152]


Karnam Malleswari, Indian former weightlifter. She won first ever Olympic medal in Weightlifting for India, also is the first Indian woman who won an Olympic medal

Karnam Malleswari won a bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, making her the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal.[153] The headquarters of the Indian Weightlifting Federation is in New Delhi. The federation is affiliated with the Indian Olympic Association (Delhi), and is also a member of the Asian Weightlifting Federation (Tehran) and International Weightlifting Federation (IWF, Budapest).

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, an Indian weightlifter, won silver at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

In 2021, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won silver medal in 49 kg category in 2020 Summer Olympics held in Tokyo, Japan. In 2022, she won Gold in weightlifting at Birmingham Commonwealth games.


Military World Games in Hyderabad, India.

Considered one of the most ancient and oldest sports in the world, wrestling in India has a glorious past. The sport of wrestling began its journey in India several centuries ago, during the Middle Ages. Wrestling is among the most prestigious and oldest events in the Olympic Games. It was included in the Olympics in 708 BC. In ancient times, wrestling in India was mainly used as a way to stay physically fit. It was also used as a military exercise without any weapons. Wrestling in India is also known as dangal, and it is the basic form of a wrestling tournament.

In India, wrestling is mostly known as Malla-Yuddha. Wrestling was mentioned in ancient times, found in the Sanskrit epic of Indian history, Mahabharata. One of the premier characters in Mahabharata, Bhima, was considered a great wrestler. Other great wrestlers included Jarasandha, Duryodhana, and Karna. Another Indian epic, Ramayana, also mentions wrestling in India, describing Hanuman as one of the greatest wrestlers of that time. The 13th-century Malla Purana references a group of Gujarati Brahmin wrestlers known as Jyesthimallas.

Table Tennis[edit]

Manika Batra at 2019 Commonwealth Table Tennis championships

Table tennis is a popular indoor recreation sport in India, which has caught on in states including West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The Table Tennis Federation of India is the official governing body of the sport. India, which is ranked 30th in the world, has produced a single player ranked in the top 50, Sharat Kamal.[154]

Aquatic Sports[edit]

The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) is the national governing body for aquatic sports in India. Legally, it is a non-profit association registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1861.[155] The Federation holds elections for its office bearers every four years.[156] The SFI currently oversees competition in the sports of swimming, masters swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, high diving, and water polo. It is affiliated to FINA[157] and the Asia Swimming Federation (ASF).[158]

Sajan Prakash and Srihari Natraj became the first-ever Indian swimmers to qualify for the Olympic Games (2020 Olympics) by breaching the A standard time.


People in urban India follow the sport, probably played in almost every urban private school, although very few people follow it professionally. In rural India nearly all the people are not aware of it. India has both men's and women's national basketball teams. Both teams have hired head coaches who have worked extensively with NBA players and now aim to popularise the game in India.[159] Satnam Singh Bhamara officially marks the first player from India to be selected in the NBA by being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks as the 52nd pick of the 2015 NBA draft, as well as the first player to be drafted straight out of high school as a postgraduate.

The Young Cagers, as the national team is nicknamed, made one Olympic appearance in basketball and appeared 20 times in the Asian Championship. India is currently ranked 58th in the world in basketball. The India national team had its best result at the 1975 Asian Championship, when the team finished ahead of teams including the Philippines, one of Asia's basketball strongholds. Internationally, one of the most recognised Indian basketball players has been Sozhasingarayer Robinson.[160] The Basketball Federation of India (BFI) is the governing body for basketball in India. Affiliated to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) since 1936, India has one of Asia's longest basketball traditions.[161]

India's women had their best result at the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship for Women when they finished sixth. The team has several internationally known players including Geethu Anna Jose, who was invited to tryouts for the WNBA in 2011.[162]

Sports18 air NBA in the nation and DD Sports air its old game highlights. Indian National Basketball League operates here.


Volleyball is a popular recreation sport played all over India, both in rural and urban areas. [dubiousdiscuss]India is ranked fifth in Asia, and 27th in the world. In the youth and junior levels, India came in second in the 2003 World Youth Championships. The Indian senior men's team is ranked 46th in the world. A major problem for the sport is the lack of sponsors.[163]

Canoeing and Kayaking[edit]

India has won two bronze medals in canoeing at the Asian Games. The Indian Kayaking and Canoeing Association (IKCA) is the governing body for canoeing and kayaking in India.[164]

Flat water and sea kayaking

Indian flat water kayakers are an emerging powerhouse on the Asian circuit. Outside of professional flat water kayaking, there is very limited recreational kayaking. The potential to generate interest in flat water kayaking is held by leisure resorts located near the sea or other water bodies. Indian tourists tend to consider kayaking a one-time activity, rather than a sport to be pursued.

Whitewater kayaking

Enthusiasts of whitewater kayaking are concentrated in the north towards the Himalayas, with some in the south in Bangalore 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.

"Bangalore Kayakers" or "Southern River Runners" are India's first amateur group of white water kayakers. Based out of Bangalore, they explore rivers around Western Ghats.[165] The lure for most of these participants is adventure. Whitewater kayaking in India allows for exploration of places where, literally, no human has been before.

Gear availability is a problem that plagues kayakers. 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, Piroutte or Dancer designs, while the kayakers from abroad ride the river in their new design, planing hull, centred-volume kayaks from Riot, Pyranha, or Wave Sport.

Kayaking India groups on Facebook are good resources for kayakers in India.


India's history in rowing dates back to the British era. The country's first rowing club, the Calcutta Rowing Club was founded in 1858. The Rowing Federation of India administers the sport in the country. India's first ever Asian Games gold medal was won by Bajrang Lal Takhar in 2010[166] but the country has never won an Olympic medal in the sport.


Sailing as a sport in India can be traced back to the first recorded race being sailed on 6 February 1830 in the western city of Bombay. Till the time the British left India in 1947, there were five active sailing clubs located at Bombay, Madras, Bangalore, Barrackpore and Nainital.[167] Today, there are clubs located in Kerala, Pune, Goa, Hyderabad, and Bhopal.[168] The Yachting Association of India is the governing body for sailing, windsurfing and motorboating in India. The Yachting Association of India was formally constituted on 15 May 1960.


The history of cycling in India dates back to 1938, and the Cycling Federation of India governs the sport. Though cycling is unknown as a professional sport in India, it is popular as a common recreational sport and a way to keep fit. Children's and younger people do cycling as recreational activity and as play. Some adults use bicycles to travel. Presently cycling is not considered as a commercial professional sport in the nation.

Mountain biking

Mountain biking is becoming a popular sport in India. Uttarakhand tourism development annually organise Uttrakhand Himalyan MTB tournament in which 50 mountain bikers participate in 884 km long race, which runs for a week. It is Asia's longest mountain bike race, bikers around the world take part in this mountain race.[169]

For the last six years, Mtb himachal, a hardcore endurance event, has been organised regularly by Himalayan Adventure Sports & Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), a non-governmental organisation (NGO). A number of national and international riders participate, including Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), and a number of young and energetic mountain biking individual riders from cities including Pune, Bangalore, Delhi and Chandigarh. Last year[when?], the Government of Sikkim (Department of Tourism) introduced its own mountain biking race, with Southeast Asia's biggest prize money. The second edition saw 48 professional participants from around the globe.[citation needed]

Road Cycling/Touring

The Tour of Nilgiris is a major non-competitive and non-commercial touring event in South Asia that covers 1,000 kilometres in under 10 days.[170] The Tour of Nilgiris (TfN), India's first Day Touring Cycle Ride, was born in December 2008 with the twin objectives of promoting bicycling as an activity and spreading awareness about the bio-diversity, flora and fauna of the Nilgiris.

It soon grew into something a lot more, with an eclectic riding community in 2008 wanting to participate. The community soon assembled, made plans, chose a route and realised they would need a framework to support such a large group of people. So they recruited sponsors to mitigate costs as well as popularise the Tour and the cause of popularising cycling as a viable and sustainable means of travel. Ever since its first edition, the TfN has stayed true to the Community of Cyclists in India by being a Tour for the Community, Of the Community and By the Community. It has grown in size, stature and visibility. From 40 riders in the first edition, it has grown to 100 cyclists in 2013.[tone]

The tour has grown bigger and the routes tougher, allowing cyclists to test their endurance, enjoy the biodiversity of the Nilgiris covering the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. For the racing aficionados, there are racing segments on the tour with colour coded jerseys, recognition and prizes. TfN as it is lovingly called is pushing cycling to new frontiers with more and more interested cyclists, applying for the tour. The tour has acquired quite a name, and currently about 25% of registrations are selected for the tour by the organisers.[citation needed][tone]

Equestrian sports[edit]

India has a wide following in various equestrian sports, including show jumping, eventing, dressage, endurance riding and tent pegging. 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 2002 and 2006 games. India has been represented at the Olympics twice, by Wing Commander I.J. Lamba, and Imtiaz Anees.


Judo is played by few in India. It is not widely known. The first written record about judo in India in Kodokan is about demonstrations and coaching of Judo by Shinzo Tagaki arranged at Shantiniketan in 1929 by Rabindranath Tagore.[171] The Judo Federation of India was formed in 1965.[172]

As of 31 October 2022, India have 11 commonwealth games medals in Judo. Indian Judoka Tulika Maan and Sushila Devi each won a silver Vijay Kumar Yadav won a Bronze in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.[173][174][175]


Taekwondo in India is administered by the Taekwondo Federation of India which was constituted in July 2019 consisting of a five-member ad hoc committee with Namdev Shirgaonkar as chairman with a mandate to carry out the election procedures within a stipulated time-frame.[176] Surendra Bhandari won a bronze medal in taekwondo at the 2002 Asian Games. Taekwondo is not widely played in India. Bollywood actors Nitu Chandra, Akshay Kumar, Tiger Shroff, Ajay Devgn and Isha Koppikar have black belts in this sport.[177]

Indian athlete performed well at 2019 South Asian Games, they won total six medals including 3 golds in Taekwondo event, Rudali Barua (over 73 kg), Jarnel Singh (under 74 kg) and Latika Bhandari (under 53 kg) won gold medals each, Ganjot won silver in 86 kg category.[178] Some open events are also held.[179]


Fencing started in India with the foundation of the Fencing Association of India in 1974. C. A. Bhavani Devi claimed a spot in the women's sabre in the 2020 Olympics as one of the two highest-ranked fencers vying for qualification from Asia and Oceania in the FIE Adjusted Official Rankings and became the first Indian fencer to qualify for Olympic games.[180]


Karate in India is administered by the Karate India Organization. India's notable karate participants include Aniket Gupta, Deepika Dhiman, Sunil Rathee, Supriya Jatav, and Gaurva Sindhiya. The 2015 Commonwealth Karate Games were held in Delhi, India.


The Handball Federation of India (HFI) manages handball in India.[181] The HFI established Premier Handball League. Handball is played locally, not nationally. India's handball team was formed and began playing on 27 April 1989.

Baseball and softball[edit]

Baseball has gained popularity in India, while softball is played in school and at the university level. Two Indian pitchers were selected by the "Million Dollar Arm" competition to play in the United States. A talent hunt-style competition conducted by Major League Baseball to find baseball talent in India found teenagers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, who were taken to the US and received professional coaching.[182] These two players were selected to play for Pittsburgh Pirates minor league organisations. Rinku Singh played for the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League for the competition's inaugural 2010–11 season.


Rugby union in India is a minor sport. However, it is a fast-growing sport as some Indian sporting clubs are beginning to embrace the game. Rugby union was the second most popular winter sport after association football in India, but now it is played in the shadow of the football team.

India is World Rugby Rankings rated 77th in the rugby playing nations as of May 2016. The IRFU has 24,010 registered players, 7,160 of whom are female. This is their highest ranking ever. India is the current Division 3 South-Central title holder in the Asia Rugby Championship.

The governing body is Rugby India.

Non-Olympic sports[edit]


Bandy has been established in northern India during the 21st Century and the country is a member of the Federation of International Bandy, but as of 2024, India has yet to send a team to the world championship.


Viswanathan Anand, Grandmaster and thrice world champion
Koneru Humpy, world ranked number 3

The game is strongly popular in Tamil Nadu, Calcutta many Grandmasters have been emerged from earlier region, Viswanathan Anand is the most popular among them, he is first grandmaster from the country, first time he became World chess champion in 2007, also won it later twice.[183][184]

The Indian Chess Championship was held first in 1955, since 1971 it played annually. It is widely believe that the sport is originated in India.[184][183]

On 12 June 2023 Divya Deshmukh, the current national champion won gold medal at the Asian Continental Women's chess championship.[185] As of 25 February 2022, India has 73 grandmasters and 7 players in top hundred in the world. As per All India Chess Federation, the national federation of the game, there are 50 thousand registered players and over one million play it in the country. Many Indian players have own tournaments internationally.[184] Koneru Humpy is most prominent women player who holds rank 3 in the world.[183]


Sachin Tendulkar is widely considered as one of the greatest batters of all time, In a career of 24 years, he has created many batting records

Cricket has a long history in India, having been introduced in the country during British rule. It is the most popular spectator sport in India.[186] India is a cricket powerhouse, having won the ICC ODI World Cup twice and the ICC T20 World Cup once. The governing body for this sport in this nation is the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It is the richest cricket board in the world.[187] Cricket is played at the local, national, and international level, and has huge fan following from people in most parts of the nation. BCCI controls professional level, hard ball cricket But amateur cricket does not have any governing body, which usually played with rubber ball.

India national cricket team represents India in international cricket. It is colloquially known as "Team India". It played its first Test against England at Lord's in 1932, led by C. K. Nayudu. It is one of the top teams in this sport.[188] Indian women's national cricket team represents India in women's international cricket.

The main rival of Team India is Pakistani cricket team.[s]

This sport generates high TV viewership during international and Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. India does not have a national game.[189] The governing body for cricket in India, the BCCI, was formed in December 1928 and is based in Mumbai.[187] IPL is the richest cricket league in the world.[t] Top players around the world annually come to India to participate in it. BCCI annually organises IPL in Summer across the country.[u] There are many cricket broadcasting television channels in India such as Star Sports 1, Sony Ten 1, Star Sports 2 etc. and mobile, TV applications such as Disney+ Hotstar, Sony Liv, Fancode, Voot.

India will host the 2031 ICC ODI Cricket World Cup.[191]

India has a plethora of cricket stadiums. The country has the biggest stadium in the world, the Narendra Modi Stadium, which has 132,000 seats for viewers.[v]

India has hosted or co-hosted many major international cricket tournaments, including the 1987 Cricket World Cup (co-hosted with Pakistan), the 1996 Cricket World Cup (co-hosted with Pakistan and Sri Lanka), the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy, the 2011 Cricket World Cup (co-hosted with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh), and the 2023 Cricket World Cup. The India national cricket team has won major tournaments, including the 1983 Cricket World Cup in England, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa, the 2011 Cricket World Cup (which they won by beating Sri Lanka in the final at home), and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, and has shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka.[w] It had also held the position of the top team in Tests.[192] In 2021, Team India reached to the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship and remained runner-up after losing against New Zealand.[193]

The India women's cricket team remained runner-up in 2005 and 2017 ICC women's cricket world cup.[x][195][196]

The biggest domestic competitions include Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy, Deodhar Trophy, Irani Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy. BCCI organised IPL generates atmosphere like a carnivalsfair annually in April - May in summer season. Most of the fans prefer to witness games of the ICC tournaments, IPL. But the domestic cricket games of Ranji trophy, Vijay Hazare trophy and Duleep Trophy etc. do not get audience on TV or in stadiums.

Backyard cricket[edit]

It is a popular format of cricket played in India. In India, the game is called as Bat ball , while in England and Australia it is called as 'Backyard cricket'. Kids play it with a plastic or rubber ball. The game has a variety of rules. Due to the unavailability of large grounds, kids play it in small spaces such as the road, in backyard, in front of house. The game does not have fixed rules or a fixed number of players. The participants decide the rules before the start of the play. If there is no ball available for the game, players often play with a plastic bottle, and if they do not have a bat, then they play with a wooden stick. Some usual rules of this game in India : Batman is out if he hits a six, outside the backyard, outside the compound, on someone's roof etc. Sometimes one-bounce catch given out, if the players agree to it before initiating the game. https://www.xploresports.com

French cricket[edit]

It is a popular children's game in India. It is similar to cricket. In India it is called as 'Catch Catch' or 'Bat ball', while in Australia it is called as 'French cricket'. Kids often play it in the backyard, in front of a house, on the road etc. In it, the batsman holds his bat nearly horizontally, and pointing towards the bowler. As per the rules, the bowler must bowl full tosses (non-bouncing deliveries) onto the batsman's bat, with the batsman required to hit the ball in the air, and the bowler and fielders then trying to catch the ball. If the ball is caught, whoever caught it gets the chance to bat. In the game, there are no stumps, and kids play with a plastic or rubber ball. Usually there is no limit on the number of overs and the batsman can bat until he gets out.


Catch, Catch-Catch or playing catch, is one of the most basic children's games. It is a popular game among children in India. It is a game often played between children or between a parent and child, wherein the participants throw a ball, flying disc or similar object back and forth to each other. The game improves the hand-eye coordination of a child.


Kabaddi is one of the most popular sports in India

Kabaddi is an indigenous sport in India. Traditionally played on rough grounds. The Pro Kabaddi League is a notable Kabaddi league in India. It is organised annually in various spots of the nation. Star Sports, Disney+ Hotstar airs it on TV and online respectively.

India has won gold in kabaddi in all Asian Games, excluding the 2018 Asian Games, where they won bronze. The four forms of kabaddi recognised by the Kabaddi Federation in India are Amar, Sanjeevni, Gaminee and Punjabi rules Kabaddi. India won the Kabaddi World Championship in 2007, beating Iran 29–19.[197][unreliable source?]


Dipika Pallikal

The game of Squash is not well known in the country. It have less exposure and has no countrywide infrastructure, although some Indians have achieved success at international levels. Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) is the national federation of Squash in India. SRFI annually organise 'SRFI National Squash championship', its 78-season has held as of 2022. SRFI also organised a tour tournament. Joshna Chinappa is 18 time nationals winner in NSC.[198]

The women's and men's Squash team represents India in international tournaments. In 2016 South Asian Games India men and women team won gold medals.

In Squash world cup 2023, the India team reached semifinal but lost to Malaysia 3–0, before that they defeated Hong Kong and South Africa each with 4–0. Joshna Chinappa and Saurav Ghosal, alongside Tanvi Khanna and Abhay Singh was part of Indian team.[199]

In 2013 Ghoshal became the first Indian to get in top 20 ranking, he reach his career best rank 15.[200] In 2012 Dipika Pallikal achieved the top 10 ranking in the world.[201]

Sourav Ghoshal is among the brilliant athletes of the sport in India.[202] Indian men's team won their maiden gold medal at Asian championship in 2022 and Asian Games 2022 .[203]Ramit Tandon and Ghoshal defeated team of Kuwait 2–0 in the final.[204]

Indian Squash Academy of Chennai is the leading academy of the Squash in the country.


Ten-pin bowling[edit]

Ten-pin bowling, popularly known as Bowling is a quite known sport here but not widely played or talked about and considered as leisure activity instead of a sport.[205] The sport is administered by Banglore-based Tenpin Bowling Federation (India) TBF (I), it organises National Bowling Championship for amateur players and corporate teams. In 2008 Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, India recognised TBF (I) as national federation of the game, in 2010 they provided funds to train India's core team. Indian Bowlers do not get payment and sponsorship to play the sport is one of many issue the sport facing in the country.[206][207] Bowling alleys are usually found at Malls in India.[208] In 2008 India's team participated in the WTBA World Tenpin Bowling Championships at Bangkok and in the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships, Belfast.[209] At the Asian Indoor Games 2017 four time national champion of Bowling, Dhruva Sarda won Bronze. [205]

Lawn bowling[edit]

Lawn bowling, Bowls or Bowling is a new sport in India, and was not known to commoners, until Indian women's team won historic gold medal in this sport at 2022 Commonwealth Games in 'women's four event', by the team of Nayanmoni Saikia, Lovely Choubey, Rupa Rani Tirkey and Pinki Singh. They won against South Africa. Due to the win, the game came into the spotlight.[210] Indians have also participated in the sport at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Lawn bowling was included at the 2007 National Games in Guwahati, and the first bowling ground which is called the Green, was installed. India does not have many Greens, due to player often practice on hockey grounds. The next Green was installed in Ranchi, Jharkhand for 2011 National Games of India. Now New Delhi and Kerala also have Bowling Green, ground. In the country Jharkhand state is powerhouse in this sport, many players for India national team was selected from there. Jharkhand Bowling Association is the governing body for this sport in Jharkhand state.[211][212][213] The Bowling Federation of India (BFI) is the governing body for bowling in India.[212]


US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy posing for a photograph during an annual Polo match in Rajasthan, known as the Sirmoor Cup in 1962.
India is the birthplace of modern polo.[214] The modern game of polo is derived from Manipur, where the game was known as sagol kangjei, kanjai-bazee, or pulu.[215][216] It was the anglicised form of the last, referring to the wooden ball that was used, which was adopted by the sport in its slow spread to the west.

Cycle polo[edit]

A traditional Cycle Polo game in CC&FC, Kolkata

The Cycle Polo Association of India was officially created in 1966 it has its office in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The first men's nationals were played in 1970 in New Delhi, with the team from Rajasthan emerging victorious. The Calcutta Cricket & Football Club (CC&FC) hosted the first Merchant's Cup Cycle Polo tournament in 1973. Currently, the CC&FC plays host to the March Mug, the Swaroop Bhanjdeo Memorial Tournament and the CC&FC Trophy. Since 2015 onwards, CC&FC has been hosting the CC&FC All India Invitation Cycle Polo Cup which is organised jointly by the CC&FC along with the Cycle Polo Association of Bengal.

India has won 8 medals, including record 6 Gold at International Bicycle Polo Championships.

Billiards and snooker[edit]

India has been a force in world billiards competitions. Champions including Wilson Jones, Michael Ferreira, Geet Sethi and now the domination of Pankaj Advani have underlined the powerhouse status of the country. The Billiards and Snooker Federation of India, the apex body, plays a proactive role in popularising the game. Many efforts have been made by the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India in the recent past to enhance the popularity of the game in the country. Several training camps for developing budding talent and providing them with regional and state sponsorship have been organised by the Billiards and Snooker Federation in various parts of the country.[citation needed]


Motorsport is a popular spectator sport in India, although there are relatively few competitors compared to other sports, due to the high costs of competing. Coimbatore is often referred to as the "Motor sports Capital of India" and the "Backyard of Indian Motorsports".[217] S. Karivardhan, spearheaded motor racing, making Coimbatore the country's motor racing hub when he designed and built entry level race cars. Before Buddh International Circuit was constructed, the country's only two permanent race ways were the Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore and Madras Motor Racing Track, Chennai.[218] MRF built the first Formula 3 car in 1997.[219] MRF in collaboration with Maruti established the Formula Maruti racing, a single-seater, open-wheel class motorsport racing event for race cars made in India.[220] MRF Challenge is a Formula 2000 open-wheel motorsport formula based series organised by Madras Motor Sports Club in association with MRF. Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok are the only drivers from to represent India in Formula 1.

Force India drivers at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix.

On 1 February 2005, Narain Karthikeyan became India's first Formula One racing driver. In March 2007, he also became the first-ever Indian-born driver to compete in a NASCAR Series. He debuted in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the Kroger 250.[221] Force India F1 was a Formula One motor racing team. The team was formed in October 2007, when a consortium led by Indian businessmen Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol bought the Spyker F1 team for €88 million.[222] After competing in 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.[223] New Delhi hosted the Indian Grand Prix from 2011 to 2013 at Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, 50 km from New Delhi. Karun Chandhok was the test driver for Team Lotus & Narain Karthikeyan raced for HRT during the first half of the 2011 Formula One season. Karun Chandhok participated in Friday's[when?] practice session and Karthikeyan (stepping in for Daniel Ricciardo) raced at the 2011 Indian Grand Prix; it was the first time two Indian drivers associated with the same Formula One Grand Prix directly.

Mahindra Racing is an Indian constructor competing in the Formula E Championship since the inaugural season in 2014. Alexander Sims and Alex Lynn are the team's current drivers. The team formerly competed in MotoGP, fielding a team in the junior Moto3 (125cc) category between 2011 and 2015. Mahindra later refocused on being a bike and engine supplier, ultimately pulling out of the sport in 2017.

Team MRF's Gaurav Gill the first Indian rally driver to win FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 2013.[224]

Jehan Daruvala drives under the Indian flag in the Formula 2 Championship. He currently races for MP Racing. Daruvala has three wins in the series so far.

Boat racing[edit]

Boat racings are popular in southern India. In Kerala many boat races are organised annually, champakulam moolam baot race, Kumarakom boat race, Payippad Jalotsavam, President's Trophy boat race, Aranmula boat race, Champions Boat League, Vallm kali, Nehru Trophy Boat Race are organised in July.[225]


In March 2004 Mumbai hosted the first ever F1H2O (Formula 1 Powerboat) Grand Prix of India[226] From 16 to 18 November 2018 Amaravati hosted the second F1H2O World championship Grand Prix of India. The event brought wide media attention especially after one of the team took the color and the name of Andhra Pradesh Capital, making it the first Indian branded team in the history of F1H2O. Team Amaravati led by Swedish drivers Jonas Anderson and Eric Edin. During Grand Prix of France held in Evian-les-Bains Jonas Anderson took the first place and Indian flag waved on the highest step of the podium.[227] Since then many states are considering hosting Formula One Powerboat event considering the fact that no stadium is required to be built and the event is usually free for spectators.[228]

E-sport and Gaming[edit]

Mobile gaming is very popular in India. As per analytics firm Sensor tower, by app downloads India is biggest gaming market in the world, as of March 2022, the country have 916 million installs, which is 19.2 percent of world games installed on smartphones.[229] Fantasy gaming became a big thing, there are many fantasy gaming apps running in India. Due to rapid growth of gaming in the country, many foreign firms investing-partnering with Indian firms. PUBG was a popular game here.[230] As of 27 Aug 2022, online gaming space is worth of US$290 million.[231] Some people play on gaming consoles, personal computer offline as well as online, but most of these plays on mobile phones. https://www.xploresports.com https://www.xploresports.com https://www.xploresports.com

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

Bodhidharm's painting from 1887 by Japanese artist Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

According to Chinese legends, it is said that an Indian monk Bodhidharma, traveled to ancient China. He created Kung-fu martial art at Shaolin Temple and created Zen branch of Buddhism. He is regarded as a great monk in China.[232]

Fan base for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are growing rapidly in India. Several international promotions are trying to build a strong presence in the country, with TV viewership rising.[233] There are at least two organisation in India promote themselves as national Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) federation or promoter: Mixed Martial Arts Federation, India and All India Mixed Martial Arts Association.[234][235]

Matrix Fight Night considered as biggest MMA promotion in India, it frequently organises live events across India. It was founded by Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff and operated by his mother Ayesha Shroff.[236]

Bharat Khandare became the first fighter from India who signed to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). UFC is the world's biggest MMA promotion. He debuted on 24 November 2017 against Song Yadong of China.[237] UFC is a popular MMA promotion in this country. In 2023, Anshul Jubli won US tournament, Road to UFC and gained UFC contract. He defeated Jeka Saragih of Indonesia in the final of lightweight decision. As of 12 February 2023, Jubli is undefeated with 7 win winning streak.[238]

Professional wrestling[edit]

Professional wrestling is a popular sport in India. Dara Singh was a notable pro wrestler from India, who won titles internationally. In the 1950s, he won world championship against Emile Czaja, popularly known by his ring name King Kong. He also defeated world champion wrestler Lou Thesz of USA[239] Singh participated in almost 500 professional fights and remained undefeated in all of them, he wrestled against George Gordienko of Canada, John da Silva of New Zealand and others.[240] In 2018, WWE honoured Dara Singh by inducting in WWE Hall of Fame Legacy.[241] Tiger Joginder Singh, Arjan Singh Das was best professional wrestlers from India, who worked in promotions in Singapore, Japan, USA in the 1940s and 1950s.[239][242]

Dalip Singh Rana, who is widely known by his ring name, The Great Khali was the WWE World heavyweight champion in 2007. On 7 April 2021, WWE honoured The Great Khali by inducting in the WWE Hall of Fame. Thus he became first professional wrestler from India who received this honour.[243][y] Currently, wrestlers such as Saurav Gurjar, Rinku Singh and Shanky are in WWE.[z] After WWE, Khali moved back to India and started a pro wrestling promotion, Continental Wrestling Entertainment (CWE), by which he provide training to the budding wrestlers and organise wrestling events. WWE has organised some live events in the India so far.[244][245]


Members of India's national Kickboxing team at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam

[246] Kickboxing in India is promoted and governed by the Indian Association of Kickboxing Organisations which was founded by Er. S.S. Harichandan. Ratnadiptee Shimpi won a silver medal and Pankaj Mahanta, Manoj Kumar, Mohammad Amir Khan and Salam Lemba Meitei won four bronze medals in the Kickboxing at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games. The Indian Team under IOA participated in the 2009 Asian Martial Arts Games where Laxmi Tyagi won a gold medal and three others bagged bronze medals.[247][circular reference]


It is practised by youngsters as recreational activity and for wellbeing. Mister India and Mister India World is country's biggest championship in this sport. India do not have a national bodybuilding federation or governing body.[248] Indian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation is on of a federation of this sport.[249] Bollywood actors such as Tiger Shroff and Hrithik Roshan are considered as fitness icons and inspirations.

Tug of war[edit]

Women in a tug of war, at the annual Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan, India

The origins of tug of war are uncertain, but this sport was practised in Cambodia, ancient Egypt, Greece, India and China.

Archeological evidence shows that tug of war was also popular in India in the 12th century:

There is no specific time and place in history to define the origin of the game of Tug of War. The contest of pulling on the rope originates from ancient ceremonies and rituals. Evidence is found in countries like Egypt, India, Myanmar, New Guinea... The origin of the game in India has strong archaeological roots going back at least to the 12th century AD in the area what is today the State of Orissa on the east coast. The famous Sun Temple of Konark has a stone relief on the west wing of the structure clearly showing the game of Tug of War in progress.[250]

Roller Sport[edit]

'Roller sport' are practiced by some as a recreational sport in India, especially roller skating for children, and it is gaining popularity as a competitive sport.[251][unreliable source?][252][253] There are clubs in cities and towns,[where?] and roller skating is taught in some schools of urban areas.[254]

Roll ball[edit]

Very few people play Roll ball in the country. Roll Ball Federation of India (RBFI) is the national federation of this sport. Roll ball was invented in Pune by a physical education teacher Raju Dabhade. He incorporated rules from Handball, Throw ball and Basketball and the game was formed.[255] It is relatively unknown sport here, never got television exposure or media attention, however India men's and women's national team are one of the best and dominating teams in the world, it is evident by the fact that India's men's team has won the Roll Ball World Cup four times, it consecutively won it in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, while women's team won it 2 times and remained runner up 2 times. India has hosted Roll ball world cup number of times, the latest edition was held in 2023 at Pune where Indian men team lost against Kenya in the final.[256]


Kurash Association of India oversees the sport in India. India has won one gold medal in Kurash at the Asian Games.

Sepak takraw[edit]

Sepak takraw ball

Sepak takraw, though not very well known in India, was a demonstration sport at the Delhi Asian Games in 1982.[257] The Sepaktakraw Federation of India, 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.[258] So far, the federation has conducted 14 senior, seven junior, and six sub-junior national championships in different cities, and is conducting Federation Cup Tournaments and zonal National Championships.

The game is very popular in the northeastern state of Manipur, and some of the best players came from there. In the 22nd King's Cup International Sepak Takraw Tournament held in Bangkok, the India men's team lost in the semi-finals and claimed bronze in the team event. In the doubles event, the women's team lost in the semi-finals, but earned bronze medals.[259]

On 21 August 2018, at the 2018 Asian Games, the national men's team won a bronze after losing 2–0 to Thailand. It was Indian's first medal in Sepak takraw in Asian games.[260]


The Wushu Association of India is the governing body of wushu in India. It was established in 1989. India has won 10 medals in the Asian Games including two silver.[citation needed] https://www.xploresports.com https://www.xploresports.com https://www.xploresports.com https://www.xploresports.com


Korfball, a mixed-gender ball sport, with similarities to netball and basketball, is 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 number of people. India came in third place twice (2002 and 2006)[261] in the Asia-Oceania Korfball Championships.[citation needed]


Floorball, an indoor team sport, a type of floor hockey. The Floorball Federation of India was started in 2001 and, since then, it has expanded rapidly. There have been four national floorball championships[which?] held, with Uttar Pradesh becoming the champions. Women's floorball has also expanded, and Mumbai is the first national floorball champion of India. India is a provisional member of the International Floorball Federation. India has participated in many international friendlies and steps are being taken to make India an ordinary member of floorball.[262][non-primary source needed]


Netball, derived from early versions of basketball, is a popular sport in India, especially among Indian women. India's national team is ranked 25th in the world and has played only a few matches. The team has failed to qualify for any of the World Netball Championships. They played 18 matches in total.[263] In the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, netball was included as a medal sport. However, the Indian team failed to win a medal.


Lacrosse is a relatively new sport in India, introduced in 2006. The governing body for lacrosse in India is the Indian National Lacrosse Federation. It is now being played by schools in Shillong, Meghalaya, while being basically nonexistent in the rest of the country. No traces of Lacrosse in India can be found on the Internet. [citation needed]

Winter sports[edit]

Winter sports are common in India in the Himalayan areas. Skiing tournaments take place every winter in Gulmarg, and Manali. Winter sports are generally more common in the northern states and territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh. Skiing, snow rugby, snow cycling, and snow football are some of the common winter 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 Indian to have won medals in international meets in winter sports (Asian Gold 2011, Asian Silver 2009, Asian Bronze 2008, Asian Silver (doubles) 2005, Asian Bronze (singles) 2005), and to have participated in six Olympic Games. He is the Asian speed record holder at 134.4 km/h, making him the fastest man in Asia on ice. Luge is practised in a big way by the mountain residents in an improvised form called "reri".


The Bandy Association of Indians governs bandy in India. Its headquarters are in Aurangabad.[264] Bandy, a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal, is generally played in northern India, where there is snow and ice. India is one of seven countries in Asia and out of a total of 27 to be a member of Federation of International Bandy. The national federation planned to send a team to the 2011 Asian Winter Games in Astana-Almaty, but ultimately did not.[265] In July 2023, there was an Indian visit to Moscow and Krasnogorsk,[266] including the national junior team practicing[267] and playing matches[268] on an ice hockey rink with large goal cages (the Czech invention "short bandy"[269]).


In curling India is an emerging country. Its first ever international appearance was in 2022, when they took part in the World Mixed Curling Championship in Aberdeen, Scotland, recording three victories on the way.[270]

Ice hockey[edit]

Ice hockey is played in the colder parts of India, including Kashmir, Ladakh, and parts of Himachal Pradesh.[271] The Ice Hockey Association of India is the governing body for this sport in India. It affiliated to International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the world governing body of Ice hockey.

India men's national ice hockey team and India women's national ice hockey team represents India in international ice hockey events. The sport is not popular due to less television, media coverage, and sponsorships.


Skiing is a recreational activity that is popularly indulged in at many Himalayan Hill stations in India. Tourists enjoy skiing at places such as Manali, Jammu and Kashmir, Kasauli, Nainital, Shimla, hung in Sikkim, Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, Manali, Kufri, Chamba, Narkanda in Himachal Pradesh, Pahalgam and Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir, Mundali, Munsiari, and Auli in Uttarakhand etc.[272]


Mountain climbing[edit]

Mountain climbing sport has a long history in India. Many climbers from India have climbed Mount Everest. Avtar Singh Cheema was the 1st Indian mountaineer who climbed Mount Everest in 1965, and in the same year, Captain MS Kohli also climbed it. Bachendri Pal is the first Indian woman mountaineer who climbed Mount Everest, she did this feat in 1984. In 1993, Santosh Yadav became the first woman of India who climbed it twice. In 2014, Malavath Purna became the youngest Indian mountaineer who climbed Everest. Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu has gone up on it 7 times.[273][274]

India has few government institute or schools that provide training in Mountaineering : Himalayan mountaineering institute of Darjeeling, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) Manali, both are founded by then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954 and 1961 respectively. ABVIMAS institute also provide training in other adventure sports such as skiing, aero-sport, water sport.[aa][275]

Rock climbing[edit]

Rock climbing is popular among some enthusiasts of adventure sports. India has a lot of mountains; amateur and professional climbers often visit Miyar Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Shey Rock in Leh, and Sar Pass of Himachal Pradesh for rock climbing.[276] Places such as Malshej Ghat in Maharashtra, Paithalmala in Kannur district of Kerala, Rajsangam, and Badami in Karnataka are popular rock climbing destinations. Bangalore has many climbing gyms which provide training. Ramnagara, Karnataka has a lots of rock and crags, as well as terrain features where people often do trekking and rock climbing. Spots such as Madapura Betta, Motherwall, Achalu, Senapathy, Ravugodlu, Karekallu, and Gethnaa Area crags are best for climbing. It is named after Gethnaa Government Institute for climbing.[277]


Adventure sports enthusiasts do bouldering in Hampi of Karnataka. It is frequently visited by adventure seekers, because the place has infinite large boulders. It is known as a world class bouldering destination.[278] Some bouldering spots have become well-known and frequently visited in the country. But the adventure sports do not have exposure, sponsorships, training facilities and coaching in the entire country.[279]

Gambling, poker, fantasy sports and betting[edit]

Gambling is illegal in most of the states except Goa, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland states and Daman, where land based gambling and casinos are legal under the Public Gambling Act, 1976 of Indian Penal Code. Gambling is illegal in Maharashtra state, under the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act 1887, but it is still widely played underground in various spots of Maharashtra state. Although there are laws against gambling in most of the states, gamblers still find a way to gamble throughout India. Many play the Seven Eight, Rummy, Teen patti, Seven on Seven, Blackjack, Bluff, Bridge, Mendikot, and Three to Five variants of Poker. These games are widely considered to be gambling.[280] India has a plethora of online Fantasy gaming apps which the masses spend money to play. In these fantasy games, players make teams using mobile phones and get online whatsapp ID. Often questions are raised that these fantasy online games are gambling, but these apps advertise themselves as being legal and not forms of gambling, but rather games of skills. Some states have banned these apps.[281][282] Betting is illegal in India, but the nation does not have a proper law against online gambling. Many gambling platforms and mobile apps advertise themselves during the IPL, international, and domestic cricket matches on television through surrogate advertisements in India, Some of these apps are 1xBet, Fairplay, PariMatch, Betway and Wolf 777, with most of these websites and apps operating from outside of India.[283] Betting on horse racing is legal, while matka gambling is illegal.[284]

Lottery gambling is legal and allowed to be played in 13 states while the rest of the states have banned it, but lottery selling and buying happens in every state. Even in the states where it is banned, they do not have stringent laws and police do not enforce the existing laws. In some states such as Mizoram, Kerala, Nagaland and Sikkim, it is legal and hugely popular. 13 states that allows lotteries are: Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram. It was very popular in the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, but now it is totally banned. In the states where it is banned, the ban is not effective and lotteries are conducted actively through apps and online websites.[285]

Poker – Bridge game[edit]

Pranab Bradhan and Shibhnath Sarkar have won gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games in bridge game at Jakarta. This was the first time the game was played in such a major international event. Indians also won one silver and two bronze medals in Bridge at the Asian Games. The Bridge Federation of India (BFI) is the governing body for bridge game in India. BFI nominated Bradhan and Sarkar's names for the Arjuna Award in 2020.[286]

Traditional games[edit]


Large outdoor concrete statue; see caption
Statue of Shiva performing yoga in the lotus position
Yoga (/ˈjɡə/ ;[287] Sanskrit: योग, lit.'yoke' or 'union' pronounced [joːɡɐ]) is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India and aim to control (yoke) and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind (Chitta) and mundane suffering (Duḥkha). There is a wide variety of schools of yoga, practices, and goals[288] in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism,[289][290][291] and traditional and modern yoga is practiced worldwide.[292]

It was part of the National games of 2022.

Board games[edit]

Board Games such as Carrom, Ludo, Snakes and ladders and Tick-Tack-Toe are widely played as pass time, mostly by kids. These games also played online on mobiles.


Kho kho is a tag sport played by teams of twelve players who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team, only nine players of the team enter the field.[293] It is one of the two most popular traditional tag games played in schools, the other being kabbadi.[294] Kho Kho Federation of India oversees the sports in the country. In 2022, the first season of Ultimate Kho Kho, a domestic franchise Kho-kho competition, took place in India.[295]


Lagori is played by children of all ages throughout India. In this there are usually 12 players, 6 in each time. A ball and 9 flat rocks are need to play this game. The rocks are piled in the center on top of each other from the largest to the smallest flat rock. Then both the teams alternatively hit that pile by a ball. The team which hits the pile first and manages topple the pile of rocks gets the chance to hold the ball and hit the player of opposite team with that ball. The task of the opposite team is to re-arrange the pile of rock without getting hit by the ball. Whichever players get hit by the ball is out and the task is taken further by remaining player of his team. If the team with the ball succeeds to out all the players before they could re-arrange the pile they win. If the team manages to re-arrange the pile then the team with the ball loses.[296]


Kancha is played by using marbles. Marbles are glass balls which are very popular among children. It is popular in small Indian cities and villages, among small children only as a gully sport. The participant has to hit the marble kept in a circle. If he hits the target properly, he wins. The winner gets the kancha of the other participant boys.[297]


Kids playing this game

Gilli-danda, Karra billa or Viti Dandu in Marathi is a game played by using one small stick (gilli) and a large stick (danda) like cricket, with the ball replaced by gilli. It is still played in villages of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala (kuttiyum kolum - കുറ്റിയും കോലും), Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Maharashtra and Gujarat in India only as a recreational game among children.


Kite-flying is pursued by many people in India, in cities as well as villages. The festival of Makar Sankranti features kite-flying competitions. It is festival which is a passion among Indians.

Arm wrestling[edit]

Arm wrestling (also known as panja)[298] is a popular pastime in India, and is played professionally in India in the Pro Panja League.[299]

Animal events[edit]

Pola race[edit]

Pola race is traditional bull race organised in rural areas of Maharashtra state. People in villages organise it annually on the day of Pola festival. Usually owners of the Bulls run along with them in predefined distance of 100–150 metres approximately. In August 2017 and again on 6 September 2021, Government of Maharashtra banned it.[300]

Bullock cart race[edit]

3 380px
3 380px

It is a rural traditional race, villagers in Maharashtra organise Bullock cart race. In 2017 Bombay High Court passed an interim order to restraining Maharashtra government to give permission to this race in anywhere in Maharashtra.[301] This type of bullock carts races are also organised in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu state. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other activists field petitions opposing these races.[302]

Buffalo fights[edit]

Buffalo fights are organised in some areas of this nation on rural festivals annually. In Assam state, it organised on Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu. Many people think these fights are cruelty to animals, animal suffer, die and fatally injured during them. Some field petitions against them in court. In 2014, Supreme court of India banned any kind of animal fights or races instructed Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and state government to stop inflicting pain and suffering on animals. But still the fights are ill-legally organised in India.[303] In Shahapur and Bhopal of Madhya Pradesh buffalo fights are organised annually. "It is sad that these animals are made to suffer in the name of entertainment", as per PETA India campaign coordinator, Sachin Bangera. In these illegal fight many buffalo bulls dies.[304][305] Buffalo fights are also organised in village of Purulia district, West Bengal, Padarahi and Rampur villages of Muzaffarpur district, Bihar.[306]


Jallikattu, taming the bull

Jallikattu is a popular bull-taming sport practiced particularly during Pongal festival. Jallikattu was a popular sport since the Tamil classical period.[307][308] It is a controversial sport and is deemed as cruel by many Animal rights national as well as international activists and organisations. Some support by announcing that the game is played with a bull which is usually slaughtered because of it being a less useful monetary animal,but through this game, many bulls are raised by people.[309]


A Kambala race
A Kambala race

Kambala race is a traditional race sport of coastal area of Karnataka state in South India. It is an animal-man race in which man run with his two buffalos in mud, 132m or 143m long distance. Kambala, which roughly translates to "paddy-growing mud field" in the that area local Tulu language. It is a controversial race and has been criticised by international animal rights organisations.[309]

Rekla race[edit]

Rekla- bullock cart race

Rekla race is a type of bullock cart race.[310] In May 2014, the Supreme Court of India banned it citing animal welfare issues.[311]

Water fight[edit]

Children play this game annually during Rang Panchami festival in Maharashtra.[312] Many participants play Water fights using water gun amid Rangpanchami annual Hindu festival. The game is played mostly by Kids, yong boys-girls and children. In it they color each other with different kind of colors, spray water, water colour by Water gun.[313] During the festival kids play with each other and try to wet, in a playful manner. Youngsters try to colour each other during this festival.[314][312]

Other Traditional and Kids' games[edit]

Uriyadi involves smashing a small earthen pot with a long stick, usually with a cloth wrapped around the eyes to prevent the participants from seeing the pot.[315] Seasonal sports such as Dahi Handi also have a following.

Other regional sports include Ilavatta kal where huge spherical rocks are lifted,[316][317] and Nondi, which is a hopscotch game played by folding one leg and hopping squares. Other regional games such as atya patya, hide-and-seek, Top, Lagori, Sack race, Blindfold-game, Nimbu Chamcha, Chase, langdi, surr, gatka, mallakhamb, chor police and Dhaba Kuti have dedicated followers, with kids playing most of these games. Indoor games include Pallanguzhi involving beads, Bambaram involving the spinning of a top, Dhayakattai which is a modified dice game, Aadu puli attam, Nungu vandi and Seechangal.[318]

Other games[edit]

Other sports and games including Air sports, Water sports, Triathlon, Pentathlon, Arm Wrestling, Bowling, Ball Hockey, Soft tennis, Australian rules football, Darts, Frisbee, Fistball and Tennikoit have dedicated followers and their own national sports federations.[319]

India has achieved success in some of these games. They have won a silver medal at 2019 Ball Hockey World Championship. They have won five medals, including two gold at Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships. They have won two medals at Asia-Pacific Fistball Championships.

National teams[edit]

Sport National Team Association
Badminton (M & W) BAI
Squash (M, W) SRFI
Tennis (M, W, Mixed) AITA
Baseball (M, W) ABFI
Softball (M, W) SBAI
Cricket (M, W) BCCI
Field hockey (M, W) HI
Ice Hockey (M, W) IHAI
Roller hockey (M & W) RSFI
Basketball (M, W) BFI
Korfball (Mixed) KFI
Netball (W) NFI
Volleyball (M, W) VFI
Handball (M, W) HFI
Football (M, W) AIFF
Beach soccer (M) AIFF
Futsal (M) AIFF
Rugby League (M) IRFU
Rugby Sevens (M, W) IRFU
Rugby Union (M) IRFU
Kabaddi (M, W) AKFI

Sports tournaments in India[edit]

Multi-sports events[edit]

Event No of games Participation Seasons
National Games of India 36 38 (29 states + 7 Union territories + 2 Others) 36 (Summer)

5 (Winter)

Khelo India Youth Games 25 36 (29 states + 7 Union territories) 4
Khelo India University Games 17 176 universities from 20 states/Union territories 2
Khelo India Winter Games 17 District, state, union territories 3
Khelo India Para Games 1

Major sporting leagues or competitions[edit]

Game Competition
Arm wrestling (panja) Pro Panja League
Auto racing Indian National Rally Championship
JK Tyre National Racing Championship
Badminton Premier Badminton League
India Open
Syed Modi International Badminton Championships
Odisha Open
India International Challenge
Basketball Elite Pro Basketball League
3x3 Pro Basketball League
Boxing Super Boxing League
Cricket Ranji Trophy
Irani Cup
Vijay Hazare Trophy
Duleep Trophy
Indian Premier League

Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Cycling International Cycling League
Pro Cycle Cycling
Field hockey Hockey India League
Football Indian Super League
I-League 2
I-League 3
Indian Women's League
IWL 2nd Division
State football leagues
Club cup tournaments (Super Cup, Durand Cup, IFA Shield etc.)
Inter state association tournaments (Santosh Trophy, Senior Women's NFC etc.)
Futsal Futsal Club Championship
Golf Professional Golf Tour of India
Indian Open (golf)
Women's Indian Open
Handball Premier Handball League
Ice Hockey Indian Ice Hockey Championship
Kabaddi Pro Kabaddi League
Kho-kho Ultimate Kho Kho
Mixed martial arts Super Fight League
Roller hockey (quad) Indian Roller Hockey National Championship
Rugby Union All India & South Asia Rugby Tournament
Squash (sport) National Squash Championship
Table Tennis Ultimate Table Tennis
India Open (table tennis)
Tennis Maharashtra Open
Volleyball Prime Volleyball League
Wrestling Pro Wrestling League

Defunct competitions[edit]

Defunct league Replaced by Game
UBA Pro Basketball League Elite Pro Basketball League,
Indian Volley League,
Pro Volleyball League
Prime Volleyball League Volleyball
Champions Tennis League Tennis
Golf Premier League Golf
Indian Cricket League Indian Premier League Cricket (Twenty20)
National Football League ISL,
I-League 2,

I-League 3

Association football
Elite Football League of India American football
Premier Futsal Futsal Club Championship Futsal
Premier Hockey League,
World Series Hockey
Hockey India League Field hockey

Sports broadcasters in India[edit]

Major sports television networks include Star Sports, Sony Sports, Sports18, Eurosport India, 1Sports, DD Sports. Historically, Doordarshan was the only broadcaster of multinational sports events and cricket in the country. In 1992, the government began giving licences for private television channels to be started. Star Sports is the first 24 hours sports channel in the country, with many foreign and Indian organisations starting dedicated sports channels later on. In recent years after 3G and 4G networks launched and became widespread in India, OTT (online streaming) apps became a big thing and the OTT market became very competitive. Indian sports broadcasters spend more on cricket then other sports. According to GroupM ESP's Sporting Nation report, in 2021, 444 endorsement deals happened, with 318 of them being signed by cricketers. In 2020, Indian sports industry spent 9,500 crore rupees, which it superseded in 2021 by a growth of 62%. Various companies spend a huge amount of money on advertising by signing various sports players for themselves such as Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli etc.[320]

Sports broadcasters[edit]

List of major sports channels in India:
Conglomerate Channel(s) Commentary Language Digital streaming platform
Disney India Star Sports 1 (SD & HD) English Disney+ Hotstar
Star Sports 1 Hindi (SD & HD) Hindi
Star Sports 1 Kannada (SD) Kannada
Star Sports 1 Tamil (SD & HD) Tamil
Star Sports 1 Telugu (SD & HD) Telugu
Star Sports 2 (SD & HD) English
Star Sports 3 (SD) English
Star Sports Select 1 (SD & HD) English
Star Sports Select 2 (SD & HD) English
Star Sports First (SD) English and Hindi
Sony Pictures Networks Sony Sports Ten 1 (SD & HD) English SonyLIV
Sony Sports Ten 2 (SD & HD) English
Sony Sports Ten 3 (SD & HD) Hindi
Sony Sports Ten 4 (SD & HD) Tamil and Telugu
Sony Sports Ten 5 (SD & HD) English
Viacom18 Sports18 1 (SD & HD) English JioCinema
Sports18 2 (SD) English
Sports18 3 (SD) English
Sports 18 Khel (SD) Hindi
Warner Bros. Discovery India Eurosport (SD & HD) English Discovery+
Prasar Bharati DD Sports, DD Sports 2.0[ab] (SD) English and Hindi Prasar Bharati Sports YouTube channel
List of other Digital streaming platforms broadcasting sports in India:
Conglomerate Network
Dream Sports Fancode
Reliance Jio TV

Former channels[edit]

Sports awards[edit]

Sports education[edit]

Sports degree[edit]

In India, the schools and colleges normally have a sports teacher who manages, trains and coaches students in various sports for inter-school tournaments. To become a sport teacher in a school, one needs to have a sports diploma or degree, such as a Bachelor of Physical Education (also known by the abbreviation, B.P.Ed).[326]

Sports universities and colleges[edit]

Sports equipment industry[edit]

The nation has a lot of firms that manufacture sport equipment. Some notable Indian brands are Sanspareils Greenlands (SG),[af] BDM and TYKA. According to a report, sports equipment businesses of India were worth of US$20 bn in 2020. It is estimated that in 2027, the industry will be worth US$100 bn.[329] Jalandhar is a sport goods hub, and as per ThePrint, it is worth US$241,569,000. Meerut is another sports good industry hub in India, which exports sports goods around the world.

The leading sports equipment manufacturing brands in India are Nivia, Cosco, Provogue (manufactures sportswears and apparels), Seven (footwears, casuals and sportswears), SIX5SIX (sportswears, equipment), SS.

Nivia is the official ball partner of ISL and the Basketball Federation of India.[330][331]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captaincy India have won 2007 Twenty20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup and 2013 ICC Champions Trophy
  2. ^ West Bengal, Kerala, Goa, Tamilnadu, North eastern states have most fan following for football than any other state in India.[4]
  3. ^ India national cricket team also have won the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 world cup once and hosted it once in 2016.[15][16]
  4. ^ Sri Lanka–Pakistan co-hosted 1996 ODI ICC Cricket world cup with India.
  5. ^ 2021 ICC T20 world cup was scheduled to take place in India but it was moved to UAE due to COVID-19 outbreak in the nation. But hosting rights as well as commercial benefits remained to India (BCCI).[21]
  6. ^ 2031 ICC world cup is scheduled to take place in India. Bangladesh will serve as co-host.[21]
  7. ^ Sri Lanka will co-host the 2026 T20 world cup with India.[21]
  8. ^ British India included present India, Pakistan and Bangladesh nations.
  9. ^ Due to misinformation many believes that hockey is national sport/game of India, but it is wrong. There is no national sport/game of India. Sports ministry of India told in an answer to RTI question in 2020, that there is no official national game of India.[41][42]
  10. ^ Although polo had been played since the medieval period, the modern version was conceptualized in British India.
  11. ^ Eden Gardens was India's biggest cricket stadium (as per the number of seats) until Narendra Modi stadium was built, containing 130,000 seats.
  12. ^ Eden Gardens have hosted matches of historic IND vs Aus Test in 11–15 March 2001 , 1996 cricket world cup semifinal and 2016 T20 world cup final in which West Indies won
  13. ^ Khelo means play in Hindi language. 'Khelo India' translates to 'Let's play India' in English.[72]
  14. ^ Khelo India School games are rebranded as Khelo India Youth Games.
  15. ^ BCCI do not come under National Sports Federation of India/Sports ministry of India. It is a private organisation and do not receive any grants from Government of India.[82]
  16. ^ Neeraj Chopra was also the first Asian to win an Olympic gold medal in Javelin throw.
  17. ^ India actually were tied with France at 1 goal all 70 minutes in that first round game of 1948 Olympics. It was first appearance of Indian football team in Olympics after India achieved freedom from British. They did not proceed forward due to first round defeat against France.
  18. ^ Maharashtra Open is the only ATP 250 level tournament in South Asia. It is the only international level tennis championship in India. Players such as Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka have participated and won.
  19. ^ To know reason for rivalry, read India-Pakistan relations, Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Kargil war, 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai. The rivalry is not only in cricket but also present in nearly every sports in which Indian and Pakistani teams play against each other such as football, Wrestling, Kabaddi etc.
  20. ^ IPL is second richest league in the world, just behind USA's National Football League (NFL).
  21. ^ IPL sold its broadcasting rights for 2023-2027 in 48,390 crore rupees.[190]
  22. ^ Narendra Modi stadium is named after present honorable prime minister of India, Narendra Modi. The stadium was his dream project and he planned it, when he was president of Gujarat Cricket Association
  23. ^ The final match was washed out due to rain and there was no reserve day for play, so the trophy was jointly shared by Sri Lanka and India.
  24. ^ In 2005 ICC world cup Indian women's lost against Australia by 98 runs and in 2017 against England by 9 runs at Super Sports park, Centurion, South Africa and Lord's cricket ground, England.[194]
  25. ^ The Great Khali has been inducted into WWE Hall of Fame (2021) also called as WWE Hall of Fame class of 2021.
  26. ^ Source Gujjar, Rinku Singh perform in WWE under ring name Sanga and Veer Mahan respectively.
  27. ^ Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali was founded and previously known as 'Western Himalayan Mountaineering Institute'.
  28. ^ DD Sports air 'DD Sports 2.0' on Dish TV, Tata sky etc direct-to-home services amid international cricket matches, Cricket, football World cups due to Supreme Court of India's guidelines which restrict them from broadcasting these events on Terrestrial network.
  29. ^ This award was formally known as 'Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award', was named after former prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi. It is renamed after Indian field hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.
  30. ^ The award is named after Pandav and Kaurav's Guru, Acharya Dronacharya.
  31. ^ This award is named after Arjuna a Pandav prince, world's greatest archer and favourite student of Guru Dronacharya from India's ancient Hindu epic Mahabharat.
  32. ^ All the cricket matches that BCCI organises are played with only SG's balls including Test, domestic, International, IPL cricket matches.


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