29th August is celebrated in India as National Sports Day marks the birth anniversary of Indian hockey champion Major Dhyan Chand who has won gold medals for India in 1928, 1932, and 1936 respectively. In India this day is celebrated by organizing goodwill matches between different hockey teams of India at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi.
Sports is an integral part of Indian culture and the history of Indian sports dates back to the Vedic era. As per saying in Atharva-Veda, ” Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left”. This mantra coincides with today’s traditional Olympic oath, “For the Honour of my country and the Glory of Sport”. History is evident that there is a fascinating connection between Greece and India, in terms of common sports like Chariot riding and wrestling which dates back to 975 BC.
A closer look will prove that many sports like Chess, wrestling, archery, hockey and polo etc., played in Olympic today are actually the sophisticated versions of games which flourished in ancient India and Greece.
India is a country of many popular sports and their popularity is also measured by regional influence. While Cricket is the most popular sport, the other popular sports include Football, Hockey, Wrestling, Badminton, Tennis, Chess, Kabaddi Snooker and Boxing. Apart from national level competitions, India has also hosted several international sporting events like Asian Games during year 1951 and 1982, 2010 Hockey World Cup and 2010 Commonwealth Games. Apart from these, Indian Super League for Football has been hosted by India since 2014 and India hosted Indian Grand Prix Formula 1 Race at the Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida. Currently India is preparing to host the under 17 2017 FIFA World Cup and Kabaddi World Cup 2016.
Despite of the fact that India has enriching history of Sports still only a handful of sports-person have been able to mark their presence internationally. The recent win of only 2 medals at Rio Olympics by India only adds fuel to the fire and speaks blatantly about the lack of resources and poor sports management by the government in the country. However, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has stepped in to improve the condition of sports in the country. He has asked various sports authorities to conduct brainstorming sessions and pitch in innovative ideas for improving the condition of sports in country and make it a favorable profession. He commenced his 23rd session of the radio programme “Mann Ki Baat” on Sunday 28th August, by paying tribute to the hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand and praised Pullela Gopichand, an ace badminton player and the coach of PV Sindhu creating mark in the history of Indian Olympics by winning silver medal for the first time in this category. Mr. Modi referred him as an exemplary guru and emphasised on the importance of a good coach in the success of a sports person. He also mentioned about the girl power in sports as he referred Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu besides gymnast Dipa Karmakar who missed the medal by a narrow margin.
In this context, Mr. Modi has announced the formation of a task force to study the best sports practices across the world and prepare a road map for improving the performance of athletes in next three Olympics.
By - Manisha Bhatia
Media & Communications