Sports are a vital aspect of any progressive society. Sports are an important part of Indian culture as well. Various sports are played in India. We present you with the list of top 10 most popular sports in India.
Most Popular Sports in India
The popularity of a sport is determined by the number of people watching that sport and the amount of revenue it generates. It is by no means, a scale for its players’ overall success or skill. So let’s begin:
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Cricket is by far the most popular sport in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is the global leader when it comes to profits in the world of cricket. As we all have seen posters more than one time stating that India has two religions “Cricket & Film”. India has produced some legendary cricketers like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar.
In India, a lot of money is invested in Cricket after the introduction of the Indian Premier League. IPL attracts cricketers from all over the world. India has won all of the ICC Tournaments Including ODI’s World Cup 2 times (1983 & 2011), T20 World Cup 2007, ICC Champions Trophy 2013. So without any doubt, Cricket is the most popular sport in India.
Soccer or football is the second most popular sport in India. Although the Indian national football team does not have much success at the international level, the Indian national football team ranks 96th in FIFA rankings. Besides, India has organized the FIFA U-17 World Cup recently in 2017. Yet, football is the 2nd most-watched game by Indian sports fans.
3. Field Hockey
Field Hockey is the national sport of India in the Olympics along with Pakistan. India is one of the most successful countries when it comes to men’s field hockey. India has won 8 gold, 1 silver, and 2 bronze medals, more than any other team in the world. They also won the world cup tournament 1975 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Recently at the 2018 Asian Games, Indian Women’s team has achieved the silver medal. Moreover, the Men’s team has also succeeded to get the bronze medal at the tournament.
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Badminton is a popular sport in India. It is the second most played sport in India after Cricket. Badminton in India is managed by the Badminton Association of India. India has achieved some very good success at International level in badminton. Indian “shuttler” Saina Nehwal was ranked second in the world in the year 2010. Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand, both won the All England Open in 1980 and 2001 respectively. However, Saina is not the lone Indian badminton player to have won an Olympic medal as P. V. Sindhu won the Olympic silver in 2016. Saina won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
Tennis has long been a popular sport in India. Though India has not been a powerful force in the singles event, it has often done very well in the doubles and mixed doubles category. Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna are the real inspiration for Indian youth. Besides, the country has got players like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi who has made a significant impact on this genre of sports. Needless to say, Indian Tennis players have earned pretty good spots in the international tournaments in the last couple of year.
Chess is one of the most popular sports in India for especially last two decades, due to chess Grandmaster and former World Champion Viswanathan Anand. As we all know, Anand is considered a hero by many Indians. His rise in the world chess stage has inspired a whole generation of young Indians to take up the game of Chess. The All India Chess Federation is the governing body for chess in India. Besides, players like Harikrishna Pentala and Vidit Santosh Gujrathi has recently achieved pretty good places in the 2018 FIDE ranking.
7. Motor Sports
Motorsport has gained a lot of popularity in India in recent times. Though it is not very common for people of India to take part in the sport, it has a huge fan following. Besides, the Formula One, in particular, has taken off in the country in the last few years, with the first-ever Indian Formula One driver competing in 2005 and the first-ever Formula One Indian Grand Prix that took place in 2011. Interestingly, India houses one of the best Grand Prix circuits, the Buddh International Circuit, in Greater Noida.
Wrestling is one of the most-watched sports in India. Interestingly, teenagers and youngsters in India mostly follow wrestling. WWE has promoted The Great Khali, an Indian police officer turned professional wrestler, to attract Indian audiences. Besides, movies like Dangal, based on the real-life story of Indian wrestler Geeta Phogat, has also played a significant role to boost the popularity of Wrestling in India. Recently in 2018, the Indian team has won 2 gold medals and a bronze at the Asian Games.
9. Table Tennis
Table tennis is a popular indoor recreation sport in India, which has caught on in states like West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. The Table Tennis Federation of India is the official sports body to control table tennis in India. India’s Sharath Kamal ranks 43rd in the world as of 2017. Besides, the Indian team has recently achieved two bronze medals in the 2018 Asian Games at Jakarta. Without any doubt, that feat also helped this game to become of the most popular sports in India.
Basketball in India is played in most of the high schools, colleges, and universities. Besides, there is considerable patronage for the game among the younger generation. As we all know, Basketball in India is played by both men and women of all ages and abilities. Currently, Indian Basketball follows FIBA International Basketball Federation rules for organizing basketball championships.
Kabaddi and Boxing are the other two honorable mentions for the list of top 10 most popular sports in India. Feel free to tell us about your favorite sport in the comments down below.