Sports in Kerala

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A kalaripayattu practitioner.

Several ancient ritualised arts are Keralite in origin. These include kalaripayattukalari ("place", "threshing floor", or "battlefield") and payattu ("exercise" or "practice"). Among the world's oldest martial arts, oral tradition attributes kalaripayattu's emergence to Parasurama. Other ritual arts include theyyam and poorakkali.

However, larger numbers of Keralites follow sports such as cricket, kabaddi, soccer, and badminton. Dozens of large stadiums, including Kochi's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Thiruvananthapuram's Chandrashekaran Nair Stadium, Kannur Indoor Stadium, Kariavattom Outdoor StadiumTrivandrum(Under Construction) Calicut Coperation stadium,Calicut mini stadium attest to the mass appeal of such sports among Keralites.


Football is one of the popular sports in the state. First Indian professional football club FC Kochin was from Kerala. Districts like Malappuram, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Trivandrum have produced many Indian International footballers such as I. M. Vijayan, V. P. Sathyan and C. V. Pappachan. A Seven-a-side version of football is hugely popular in Malappuram ,Kozhikode and Kannur. These "Seven's football" tournaments attract many fans and international players for the sheer joy and excitement of fast paced football.

Most of the professional football clubs in India have many Kerala footballers including Indian internationals N.P Pradeep, Krishnan Nair Ajayan, C.K. Vineeth, Mohammed Rafi, Denson Devadas and Sushanth Mathew.

Indian Super League[edit]

Main article: Kerala Blasters

Football became popular in Kerala decades ago. Kochi has a franchise team called Kerala Blasters, which is owned by the cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar and an Indian business man, Prasad V Potluri. Blasters made into the final after some great performances by their team. Iain Hume, who scored 5 goals and captained them in the knockout matches, played a great role for Kerala, which made them into the final. Marquee player David James and Sandip Nandy also played a great role by guarding the goalpost as goalkeepers.


Hockey is the pride game of city of Kollam and Kollam district. There are a lot number of Kollam city based players in Indian hockey team as well as Kerala hockey team.

Kollam city & district are very famous for its players and the passion for the game. So to support the city's passion towards hockey, Government of Kerala have built a most modern state of the type astro turf hockey stadium within the city, which is first of its kind in the state. International Hockey Stadium in Kollam is having a total seating capacity of 5,000[1] built at a cost of Rs.17.55 Crores(US$ 2.84 Million)[2] The stadium is now the home-ground of Kerala Hockey Team.


Kerala has a rich history of producing world class athletes. Athletes like T. C. Yohannan, Suresh Babu, P.T.Usha, Shiny Wilson, K. M. Beenamol, Tintu Lukka, Anju Bobby George, Preeja Sreedharan, Renjith Maheshwary are amongst the best Kerala has produced.


Volleyball, another popular sport, is often played on makeshift courts on sandy beaches along the coast. Jimmy George, born in Peravoor, Kannur, was arguably the most successful volleyball player ever to represent India. At his prime he was regarded as among the world's ten best players.[3]

Shanthakumaran Sreesanth

Cricket, the most followed sport in South Asia, only became popular in Kerala state in recent decades. Earlier cricket was continually played only in select places like Thalassery, Cannanore, Fort Kochi, Ernakulam and Tripunithura. Shanthakumaran Sreesanth (right-arm fast-medium, played 26 tests and 53 ODIs for India) is often regarded as the most successful cricketer from Kerala. Tinu Yohannan, son of Olympic long jumper T. C. Yohannan, also represented India, 3 times in tests and ODIs and Sanju Samson, a future Indian batsman, who already joined Indian team. K. N. Ananthapadmanabhan (344 first class wickets) is also a famous domestic cricket from Kerala, who took 344 wickets in first class cricket. Kochi Tuskers Kerala, a short lived former Indian Premier League team, represented Cochin, Kerala. Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium (Kaloor International Stadium) is an international stadium in Kochi. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000 spectators making it the third largest stadium in India after the Eden Gardens and Salt Lake Stadium, both in Kolkata.

Nadan Panthu Kali (Native Football)[edit]

Nadan Panthu Kali popular sports played in villages of Kottayam district and Muvattupuzha Taluk. Villages like Manaracd, Puthuppally, Thottakkadu, Thirvanchoor, Meendam, Manganam, Kurichy, Valakom etc. are the places where this game is played. The popularity of game is dying as there is not much money and younger generation are more interested in cricket.

This game is played using small ball made of leather and filled with cotton or coconut fibre. Each team consist of 5 or 7 players each. The game is played for 5 Innings (vara). Each inning, both the teams are allowed to do "vettu" where they initiate the scoring and other team prevents from the scoring. Scoring points follow the sequence like otta, petta, pidiyan, thalm, Keezhu, Indan and then it repeats. the team which score the most points from the innings wins.

Annual Tournaments are conducted at these villages every year and have huge local support.


  1. ^ [1] Astro-turf hockey stadium - The New Indian Express
  2. ^ "Crores Spent; Game for Future? - The New Indian Express". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  3. ^

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