Table of Contents
- History of sports
- What is the national game of India?
- Why did Indians believe hockey to be the national game of India?
- Achievements of the Indian hockey team during the Olympics
- Why are cricket and kabaddi not the national game of India?
- Why does India not have a national game?
- What is the importance of having a national sport?
- Why is it difficult to declare a national game in India?
- Key takeaways
History of sports
The history of documented sports goes back to 3,000 years. Originated out of the need to prepare for war or training as a hunter, sporting games were largely defined by throwing spears, stakes, etc. A number of sports have evolved over time that keep humans not just entertained and healthy but yield in terms of social interactions, teamwork, and leadership.
The history of sports in India goes back thousands of years to the Vedic age. India is a sports loving nation, and according to a latest report Ormax media more than 136 million people in the country consume sports content on TV or OTT platforms. So does the nation that eats, breathes, and lives sports, have a national game of its own? Let’s find out!
What is the national game of India?
Countries worldwide have declared different sports as their national sport, for they reflect the particular nation’s culture. While India has many popular sports, such as cricket, kabaddi, hockey, badminton, etc., it doesn’t have a national sport. Yes, contrary to the popularly held notion that hockey is the national sport of India, you will be surprised to know that India doesn’t have an officially recognized national sport.
The government in India acknowledges the importance of all sports and does not want to set a hierarchy of preference. It wants to encourage and promote all popular sports.
Why did Indians believe hockey to be the national game of India?
For many years, we were under the impression that hockey was India’s national sport. Understanding why most Indians saw hockey as their national sport is critical. Hockey is one of the oldest sports, having been legalized in 1925. The Indian Hockey Federation sanctioned the sport. India has consistently been one of the best teams in the world in this sport.
The Indian team has performed admirably in almost every field hockey event, including the Olympics, World Cups, and other tournaments. India’s men’s and women’s hockey teams have shown the rest of the world the country’s sporting prowess. People believed that hockey was ‘Bharat ka Rashtriya Khel’ because of its success rate and popularity.
Achievements of the Indian hockey team during the Olympics
As previously stated, India’s hockey team has accomplished so much that the game is considered the ‘Bharat ka Rashtriya Khel’ by the people. This section details the Indian hockey team’s Olympic achievements over the years. In this sport, the team has won 12 medals and has performed admirably in previous years.
|Amsterdam Olympics||1928||Gold medal|
|Los Angeles Olympics||1932||Gold medal|
|Berlin Olympics||1936||Gold medal|
|London Olympics||1948||Gold medal|
|Helsinki Olympics||1952||Gold medal|
|Melbourne Olympics||1956||Gold medal|
|Rome Olympics||1960||Silver medal|
|Tokyo Olympics||1964||Gold medal|
|Mexico City Olympics||1968||Bronze medal|
|Munich Olympics||1972||Bronze medal|
|Montreal Olympics||1976||7th position|
|Moscow Olympics||1980||Gold medal|
|Los Angeles Olympics||1984||5th position|
|Seoul Olympics||1988||5th position|
|Barcelona Olympics||1992||6th position|
|Atlanta Olympics||1996||8th position|
|Sydney Olympics||2000||7th position|
|Athens Olympics||2004||7th position|
|Beijing Olympics||2008||Did not qualify|
|London Olympics||2012||12th position|
|Rio Olympics||2016||8th position|
|Tokyo Olympics||2021||Bronze medal|
Why are cricket and kabaddi not the national game of India?
Cricket only gained popularity in India after hockey had already established itself. In 1983, our country’s team won its first World Cup, bringing this sport to prominence. Cricket has become a household name due to its well-known players and current success rates. Kabaddi is another sport in which India has performed extraordinarily.
Kabaddi is extremely popular in several northern states, and its athletes have excelled in numerous sporting competitions. Cricket and kabaddi are not the national sports in India because they are not easily accessible throughout the country.
Why does India not have a national game?
A school teacher from Maharashtra’s Dhule district filed a Right to Information (RTI) request with the government in 2020, asking when did the country designate hockey as India’s national sport.
“The government has not declared any sport/game as the national game of the country,” the ministry of youth affairs and sports responded. “The government’s objective is to encourage/promote all popular sports disciplines.”
However, following India’s outstanding performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2021, calls to make hockey the national sport have grown louder.
What is the importance of having a national sport?
Though India does not have a national sport, the following are significant reasons to have a national sport-
- National sports encourage physical activity in a country. It emphasizes the importance and relevance of sports to citizens.
- Having a national sport affects how citizens interpret and participate in it.
- Above all, like any other national symbol, it adds value to the country’s identity.
Why is it difficult to declare a national game in India?
India is a large country with the second-largest population in the world. While the country’s diversity is one of its most appealing features, choosing a national sport can be difficult. It is challenging to select a national sport or game because there are numerous factors to consider and multiple games. Sports are played at various levels throughout the country.
India has 28 states and 8 union territories, making it a demographically diverse country. Cricket is a popular sport in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Football is solid in the seven sisters of the North East, West Bengal, and Goa. Northern states excel in wrestling, hockey, and kabaddi. Many other games are popular in different parts of the country, which is why defining the national game of India is challenging.
- Despite the growing popularity of cricket and hockey, India lacks an official national sport. Although several experts claim that hockey is India’s national sport, hockey is not the country’s national sport.
- In 2020, a schoolteacher from Maharashtra’s Dhule district filed a Right to Information (RTI) to seek information on whether hockey has been recognized as the national sport of India. The Ministry of Youth Affairs, in its official statement, said, “The government has not declared any sport/game as the National Game of the country, as the objective of the government is to encourage/promote all popular sports disciplines.”
- Thus, India does not have an officially recognized national sport.
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Q1. What is the national game of the USA?
Answer- Baseball is the national sport of the United States. Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport where two opposing teams take turns batting and fielding.
Q2. What is the national sport of India and Pakistan?
Answer- While many believe field hockey is India’s national sport, it is Pakistan’s national sport. India does not have a national sport yet.
Q3. Cricket is the national sport of which country?
Answer- Cricket is the national sport of England.