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Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India

The majority of people in India, the most populous nation on earth, are sports addicts. Indians participate in and watch a wide range of sports. The list of the most popular sports in India is shown below.

1. Cricket

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Cricket

In India, cricket is the most popular sport to play and enjoy. India’s love of cricket began during the colonial era, and following independence, it gained widespread popularity. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) oversees matters related to cricket in the country.

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India’s biggest sporting achievement was in 1983 when they won their first-ever Cricket World Cup under the captaincy of Kapil Dev. This great win will live in national memory forever. 2011 saw the nation win the Cricket World Cup once more, this time under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s leadership. The 2008 debut of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a domestic Twenty20 competition, revolutionised the sport by bringing together international talent with local superstars.

Some cricketers, including Virat Kohli, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, and Sachin Tendulkar—often referred to as the “God of Cricket”—have gone on to become legends. These players have broken records and received accolades from all around the world, enhancing India’s cricketing abilities.

India’s wins in bilateral series, Test matches, and restricted overs show their unwavering dominance. Important cricket events bring millions of people together in a shared sense of excitement, illustrating the sport’s global popularity. Pakistan is India’s principal cricketing adversary. These two teams compete for the attention of millions of fans worldwide.

2. Field Hockey

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Field Hockey

Field hockey is ingrained in the history of India and has a long sporting legacy. When India dominated international tournaments, particularly the Olympics, the sport’s popularity surged. An unusual feat in the sport’s history was achieved by India when they won six gold medals in hockey at the Olympics in a row from 1928 to 1956.

The renowned Indian hockey player Major Dhyan Chand had a significant role in these victories. People from all over the world praised him for his stick skills and ability to score goals. Dhyan Chand showed off his amazing skills by winning another gold medal for India at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The heyday of Indian hockey, which gave rise to legendary players like Leslie Claudius, Roop Singh, and Balbir Singh Sr., coincided with the game’s peak. Balbir Singh Sr.’s amazing performance in the championship game at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, where he scored five goals, will live on in history.

After a recent decline, Indian hockey has rebounded on the global scene. The men’s and women’s teams have both shown themselves in prestigious contests and secured spots in the Olympic Games. The Hockey India League’s establishment provided a platform for emerging players and contributed to the sport’s revival.

3. Football

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Football

One of the most popular sports in India is football, which is growing in popularity as a result of both national and international competitions. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is in charge of overseeing all football leagues, tournaments, and national teams in the country.

The Indian Super League’s (ISL) 2014 launch has been instrumental in elevating the standard of Indian football. Potential within the country has been fostered as a result of the league’s ability to attract coaches and players from outside. Famous football teams like ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC, and Bengaluru FC compete fiercely in the ISL.

Indian football has an illustrious past that includes gold medal wins at the Asian Games in 1951 and 1962. Baichung Bhutia, one of India’s top football players, has left a lasting impression on the sport. The ascent of Sunil Chhetri, the nation’s all-time leading goal scorer, has further raised the profile of the Indian national team. In terms of goals scored for his country, he trails just Lionel Messi, Ali Daei, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Even if the Indian national football team continues to strive for success in international competitions, grassroots efforts and youth development programmes offer promise for the future. People from different places and backgrounds are drawn to football, so much so that there is a vibrant fan culture that supports both domestic and international football. Football is becoming more and more popular in India, a sign of the nation’s growing love for the beautiful game.

4. Cycling

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Cycling

In India, cycling is growing in popularity as a sport that combines agility and endurance. Fans of the sport take pleasure in riding for fun and for competitive purposes. The Cycling Federation of India (CFI) oversees the sport, organising national competitions and promoting the expansion of ridership across the country.

The popularity of riding as a fitness activity has increased recently, and the sport is promoted by numerous cycling organisations and competitions. With the rise of professional teams and individuals competing globally, India’s status in the cycling world has increased even further.

Skilled Indian cyclist Arvind Panwar has represented his country in international competitions, showcasing the cycling potential of the nation. Indian cyclists are now able to compete at the top level thanks to international riders being drawn to professional cycling contests like the Tour de India.

5. Badminton

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Badminton

Badminton has become a very popular and successful sport in India, with a sharp increase in participation and world-level achievements. The Badminton Association of India (BAI), which oversees the sport, organises national events and fosters talent through neighborhood-based programmes.

The success of the nation is amply demonstrated by the achievements of its top badminton players. P. V. Sindhu, a highly renowned shuttler in India, created Olympic history in 2016 by taking home both the silver and gold medals at the 2019 World Championships. Saina Nehwal, another trailblazer in Indian badminton, captured several international titles and an Olympic bronze in 2012.

The Indian Premier Badminton League (PBL), which was established in 2013, has played a significant role in increasing the popularity of the sport by providing a team format for players from both domestic and international competitions. For Indian badminton players, the league structure has raised the stakes.

6. Kabaddi

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Kabaddi

With its origins in Indian culture, kabaddi has evolved from a traditional rural past time to a well-liked and intensely competitive sport. The Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) and the International Kabaddi Federation are in charge of overseeing the sport both domestically and internationally.

The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which made its debut in 2014, has completely changed the appeal of the professional game of kabaddi. The league has brought in a tonne of viewers, attracted top players from across the world, and provided Indian talent with a platform to showcase their skills. The PKL has contributed to the sport’s increased commercial appeal and growth into a prominent national sporting event.

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India has a great reputation in international kabaddi because of its national teams’ consistent performance in competitions such as the Asian Games and the Kabaddi World Cup. It has been essential that Indian sportsmen like Rahul Chaudhari, Ajay Thakur, and Anup Kumar continue to dominate the sport.

Because kabaddi is an athletic and simple game that participants of all ages may enjoy, it is appealing. Schools and colleges actively participate in kabaddi events at the grassroots level, indicating the sport’s rising popularity.

7. Tennis

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Tennis

In India, tennis has gained popularity and recognition worldwide, and there is a strong tradition of players excelling at the highest levels of competition. The nation’s governing body for tennis is the All India Tennis Association (AITA), which also organises national events and assists players in moving up the playing ranks.

In both the singles and doubles tennis categories, India has advanced significantly. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, dubbed the “Indian Express,” gained international renown after winning Grand Slam doubles championships at the French Open and Wimbledon. Sania Mirza, a trailblazing female tennis player, has ascended to the summit of the women’s doubles rankings and created history by winning the Grand Slam titles in both the mixed and doubles categories.

Since professional tennis leagues such as the Champions Tennis League (CTL) and the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) were founded in India, the game has become more and more popular. These leagues provide a platform for international and Indian players to participate in a team format.

8. Wrestling

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Wrestling

Wrestling is a highly regarded sport with a long history and legend in Indian sports culture. The responsibility for managing the sport, organising national tournaments, and advancing athletes from amateur to professional status lies with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).

Wrestling has a long history in India, where talented wrestlers have won multiple international championships. Olympic bronze medallist Yogeshwar Dutt and two-time medallist Sushil Kumar are well-known figures who have raised India’s profile in the wrestling community. Thanks to their Olympic win in 2012, wrestling gained significant recognition in Indian sports.

Since its launch in 2015, the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) has played a significant role in raising the sport’s stature and calibre of professionalism in India. The league concept has made it possible for Indian wrestlers to compete against international stars, which has increased wrestling’s appeal as a spectator sport.

9. Table Tennis

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Table Tennis

Table tennis is a fast-paced, skill-based sport that has gained popularity in India, where an increasing number of players are competing at the national and international levels. The management of the sport’s operations, organising of tournaments, and encouragement of players’ development across the country fall within the purview of the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

India has produced a number of gifted table tennis players who have significantly impacted the sport. Achanta Sharath Kamal, one of the most well-known table tennis players in India, has represented his country in multiple Olympics and Commonwealth Games, winning medals for his skill and sportsmanship. Another rising star, Manika Batra, gained international recognition for her performances in significant tournaments like the Commonwealth Games.

The Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) league, which debuted in 2017, has played a significant role in expanding the sport’s appeal to a broader demographic by providing players with a team-based setting in which to showcase their abilities. Part of the reason table tennis has grown in popularity in India as a spectator sport is the intense competition in the league.

India’s table tennis players have made significant strides in international competitions such as the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and World Table Tennis Championships. Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal made history in 2018 when they won a bronze medal in mixed doubles at the Asian Games. For Indian table tennis, this represented a significant achievement.

10. Basketball

Top 10 Most Popular Sports in India | Basketball

In India, basketball is becoming more and more popular, as more and more people play the sport at different levels. Overseeing basketball operations in India, in addition to managing national leagues, competitions, and development efforts, is the responsibility of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI).

India’s basketball players are participating in international leagues and tournaments, demonstrating the country’s growing interest in the sport. When Satnam Singh Bhamara became the first player of Indian heritage to be drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA), it demonstrated India’s promise in sports. NBA initiatives like the NBA Academy and the Junior NBA programme have significantly improved basketball at the grassroots level in India.

Watching NBA teams play preseason games in India has made it possible for fans to witness live, elite basketball. These events are known as the NBA India Games. Events of this nature contribute to the growing national fan base of the sport.

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