The Most Popular Sports in India

the most popular sports in India

India, a diverse and culturally rich country, has a deep-rooted passion for sports. The nation has produced exceptional athletes who have made their mark on the international stage. From cricket to hockey, India has a wide range of popular sports that captivate the hearts of millions. In this article, we will explore the most popular sports in India and delve into the reasons behind their immense popularity.

Sports play a vital role in Indian society, not only as a source of entertainment but also as a means of fostering unity and national pride. The love for sports in India is unparalleled, with people of all ages and backgrounds actively participating and supporting their favorite teams and athletes. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of Indian sports and discover the country’s most cherished sporting events.

Cricket: A Religion in India

Undoubtedly, cricket holds the crown as the most popular sport in India. It is more than just a game; it is a religion that unites the nation. The Indian Premier League (IPL), a professional Twenty20 cricket league, is a prime example of the cricket fever that grips the country. With its star-studded teams, thrilling matches, and enthusiastic fans, the IPL has become a spectacle that attracts viewers from around the world.

Hockey: The National Sport

Hockey holds a special place in the hearts of Indians as the national sport. The Indian hockey team’s glory days during the Olympics in the mid-20th century are etched in the country’s sporting history. Despite cricket’s dominance, hockey continues to be highly regarded and followed with great passion. The Hockey India League, showcasing top-notch hockey talent, has contributed significantly to the sport’s popularity and revival in recent years.

Football: Gaining Momentum

While cricket and hockey steal the limelight, football has been steadily gaining momentum in India. With the advent of the Indian Super League (ISL), a professional football league, the popularity of the sport has soared. The ISL attracts both Indian and international players, creating a competitive and entertaining environment for football enthusiasts. The league has spurred the growth of grassroots football and has nurtured young talents who aspire to represent India on the global stage.

Kabaddi: A Traditional Indian Sport

Originating in ancient India, Kabaddi is a contact team sport that has captured the imagination of the nation. The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has revolutionized the way Kabaddi is perceived, transforming it into a modern and commercially viable sport. The league has brought this traditional sport to the forefront, garnering a massive fan following and providing a platform for talented Kabaddi players to showcase their skills.

Tennis: Serving Aces

Tennis has seen a surge in popularity in India, thanks to the success of Indian tennis stars such as Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, and more recently, Sania Mirza. The Indian Wells Masters and the Wimbledon Championships have become marquee events that captivate Indian tennis enthusiasts. The rise of young talents like Sumit Nagal and Ankita Raina has further fueled the interest in tennis across the country.

Badminton: The Smash Hit

Badminton has witnessed a remarkable rise in popularity in recent years, owing to the exceptional performances of Indian shuttlers like Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu, and Kidambi Srikanth. The Premier Badminton League (PBL) has played a crucial role in promoting the sport, attracting top international players and providing a platform for Indian shuttlers to shine. The sport’s accessibility and the success of Indian players have made badminton a favorite among sports enthusiasts.

Athletics: Chasing Glory

Athletics holds a special place in Indian sports, as it encompasses a wide range of disciplines. From track and field events to long-distance running, Indian athletes have showcased their mettle on the global stage. The popularity of athletics received a significant boost with the establishment of the Indian Grand Prix and the success of athletes like Milkha Singh and P.T. Usha, who became national heroes.

Wrestling: A Test of Strength

Wrestling has deep historical roots in India and has gained recognition in recent years due to the achievements of Indian wrestlers at international events, such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games. The Pro Wrestling League (PWL) has emerged as a popular platform, bringing together national and international wrestlers in a league format that enthralls fans with its high-intensity matches.

Shooting: Aiming for Success

Shooting has been on the rise in India, with the country producing world-class shooters who have achieved remarkable success in international competitions. The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has been instrumental in promoting shooting as a sport and nurturing young talent. The shooting events at the Olympic Games have attracted significant attention, and Indian shooters have consistently made the country proud with their exceptional performances.

Table Tennis: The Ping Pong Frenzy

Table tennis, although less popular compared to cricket or hockey, has a dedicated following in India. The Ultimate Table Tennis (UTT) league has provided a platform for Indian and international players to showcase their skills and entertain fans with fast-paced and thrilling matches. With the success of Indian players like Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra, table tennis is slowly gaining recognition and popularity among sports enthusiasts.

Boxing: Punching Above its Weight

Boxing has been making waves in India, with Indian boxers earning accolades at the Olympics and other international tournaments. The launch of the Boxing Super League (BSL) has brought the sport closer to fans, offering them a chance to witness electrifying bouts featuring some of the best boxers in the world. The popularity of boxing is steadily rising, and the sport is becoming a viable career option for aspiring Indian boxers.

Golf: Teeing Off in Style

Golf may be considered an elite sport in India, but its popularity has been growing steadily. The Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) has played a crucial role in promoting golf and providing a platform for Indian golfers to showcase their skills. The emergence of talented young golfers like Shubhankar Sharma and Aditi Ashok has brought renewed attention to the sport and inspired a new generation of golf enthusiasts.

Volleyball: Spiking Excitement

Volleyball, although not as widely followed as cricket or football, has a dedicated fan base in India. The Pro Volleyball League (PVL) has breathed new life into the sport, providing a platform for Indian and international players to compete in a professional league format. The league’s high-intensity matches and thrilling rallies have attracted volleyball enthusiasts and contributed to the sport’s popularity.

Chess: The Intellectual Sport

Chess, known as the «game of kings,» has a strong following in India. The country has produced several chess grandmasters who have made their mark on the global chess scene. The rise of Viswanathan Anand, the first Indian to win the World Chess Championship, has inspired countless chess enthusiasts in India. Chess tournaments and championships are held regularly, promoting the sport and nurturing young talents.

Other Popular Sports

Apart from the aforementioned sports, there are several other disciplines that enjoy a significant following in India. These include squash, swimming, cycling, motor racing, and weightlifting. Whilethese sports may not have the same level of popularity as cricket or football, they have their own dedicated fan base and contribute to the diverse sporting landscape of India.


India’s love affair with sports runs deep, with cricket reigning supreme as the most popular sport in the country. However, there is no shortage of passion and support for a wide range of sports, including hockey, football, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, and more. These sports not only entertain and inspire but also foster unity and national pride. The emergence of professional leagues and the success of Indian athletes have further fueled the popularity and growth of these sports. As India continues to produce exceptional talents in various sporting disciplines, the future looks bright for the country’s sporting landscape. Additionally, hockey holds a special place as the India national sport, adding to the pride and excitement surrounding sports in the nation.

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