National Sports Day; Dedicated to India’s Sports Heroes and Champions

Today is National Sports Day – the celebration of sports in India. It is celebrated in honour of hockey legend Major Dhyanchand’s birth anniversary. Contrary to popular belief, India’s national sport is not hockey- India does not have any official national sport. The government has done so to promote all popular sports disciplines. 

So, on this occasion, where we celebrate India’s sports achievements, let us look at a few of the popular sports in India as well as India’s sports heroes, who the nation loves and looks up to, who have become an inspiration and a role model for many young minds.

Major Dhyanchand (Legendary Hockey player)

Cricket:

This is one of the most popular, if not the most popular sports in the country. Almost every person in the country has at least a vague idea of the game and almost everyone possesses an opinion on the current status of the Indian team, their performance, the selection of the team, the players, etc.

It is also a sport which is played in many, many streets of India, with many “rules” differing from place to place! Due to this, a term called “gully cricket”, has been coined to refer to this.

The Indian Men’s and Women’s Cricket team are one of the top teams in the world at the moment and they seem to be going from strength to strength with each passing series or tournament.

Indian Women Cricket team

The Indian Men’s team recently won a white ball series in West Indies, while the Women in Blue bagged the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022 held in Birmingham.  

Indian Men Cricket team

Badminton:

This sport has recently become immensely popular, owing to the success which the Indian badminton players have achieved. Players like Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, Kidambi Srikkanth, Lakshya Sen, Rankireddy-Shetty, and others have contributed to the rising popularity of the sport in the country.

At the recently held Commonwealth Games 2022, India won a medal in each individual discipline except the mixed doubles event. Sindhu, Sen and Rankireddy-Shetty won the gold in the women’s singles, men’s singles and men’s doubles events respectively. Jolly-Gopichand and Srikanth got the bronze in the women’s doubles and men’s singles respectively. 

Saina Nehwal, P.V Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth (Left to Right )

This sport is also played across India and kids playing badminton outside their flats and homes in the evening is a common sight, though the number of people watching and following the sport have only increased in the past few years. 

Athletics:

India’s performances in athletics have drastically improved and we have a pool of talented athletes in our country today, who have brought laurels to the nation.

Neeraj Chopra, the javelin sensation, filled Indians with joy and pride after he got the gold in Tokyo Olympics 2020, a first for India. He bagged the silver in the World Athletics Championships held this year and once again made the country proud.

Neeraj Chopra

Another young sensation in athletics is Hima Das, who rose to popularity due to her splendid performances at the international stage. Also, Indian triple jumpers Eldhose Paul and Abdullah Aboobacker brought home the gold and silver respectively, while India won medals in long jump and high jump as well.

Hima Das

Avinash Sable, Annu Rani, and many more performed well too. Thus we can say that India is now teeming with talented athletes consistently delivering at the big stage, a positive sign for the future of athletics in the country.

Hockey:

Another hugely popular sport in the country, hockey is believed to be the national sport of India, which isn’t the case. That aside, India is one of the top teams in the world, in both men’s and women’s hockey. Though there was a drought of medals, Indian hockey is rising once again, as the men’s team got the silver and the women’s team got the bronze in the recently held Commonwealth Games.

Indian Women’s Hockey team
Indian Men’s Hockey team

The men finished third and the women came fourth in the Tokyo Olympics held last year and also performed well at the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021-22. 

Wrestling:

India has a plethora of talented wrestlers, who have been winning tournaments as well as the hearts of the people, over the last few years.

Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia

Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, etc. are the top wrestlers of the country and one among the best of the world. India has performed well at tournaments over the years due to these athletes, who have contributed in increasing the popularity of wrestling as a sport in the country. 

Weightlifting:

This one has become recently popular, which is all because of ‘the golden girl of Indian wrestling’, as she is called- Saikhom Mirabai Chanu.

Saikhom Mirabai Chanu

She bagged the silver in the Tokyo Olympics and gold in the Commonwealth Games 2022, where the other weightlifters also came to the party, resulting in India getting many medals in the sport. 

Table Tennis:

Much like badminton, the popularity of table tennis has also risen recently, in lieu of excellent performances by the Indian paddlers. Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula, Harmeet Desai and many more are behind India’s success in table tennis, which has brought many laurels to the country. 

A special mention to Indian lawn bowls team (men’s and women’s) who secured medals for our country in the game for the first time ever, during the Commonwealth Games 2022. The men got silver, while the women bagged gold. Also, a mention to gymnast Dipa Karmakar and golfer Aditi Ashok as well, for their performances. 

Indian Women’s Lawn Ball Team
Indian Men’s Lawn Ball Team

Of course, there are many other popular sports in the country such as boxing, tennis, football, etc. but I have included just a few. India seems well on its way to become a sport superpower. That being said, I hope India shines brighter and brighter in the sports world in the years to come. I wish you all a happy National Sports Day! 

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