The history of athletics in India dates back to the Vedic era. Although it is indeed a mystery that when exactly athletics in India made its presence felt as a distinct sports form; however it can be said that the well illustrated values of the Atharva Veda contoured the limn of Indian athletics. In the Vedic age or much later in the period of Ramayana and Mahabharata athletics were typically a common form of sports. Sports like chariot racing, archery, horsemanship, military tactics, wrestling, weight lifting, swimming and hunting made their presence felt quite colossally back in that era. Later, apart from these other games like hiking, walking, `gulli-danda` were also being played in ancient India. Almost all these games were then defined as a `must` in the military training sessions of the Indian empires.
With the course of time, the nature and formation of sports in India started to change while leaving space to the up gradation of sports and athletics in India. The Indian people started to add some more sports like running, jumping, throwing, walking and other sports, along with those ancient sports and most of the new editions of sports were the track and field events of today`s Athletics. These forms of sports got immense popularity, once they were introduced in India. The main reason behind their popularity was that these games were almost equally capable of improving one`s physical capability, just like the ancient games.
Although, no information can be found about the exact timing when the contemporary form of Athletics games started its journey in India, it is generally said that the present day Athletics started to be played in India, just after the independence of India. Till then, the Athletics has gone through a number of phases in India. At the initial period, the Indian people used to play the track and field games in the grass and cinder tracks. After that, they started to play on the synthetic surface for most of the major competitions. The synthetic tracks made the organisers` jobs easier as there were no needs of manual marking of tracks and associated definitions for throws and jumps in those tracks. The introduction of technology in the game of Athletics improved its status further as keeping the record of players` timing became easier with the technology.
To talk about the Indian athletes` performances in the track and field games so far, it can be said that the Indian athletes have a rich tradition of brilliant performances in the international tournaments. India has produced a lot of successful athletes in the international level so far and the most successful and famous Indian athletes include the names of Jeev Milkha Singh, T.C Yohannan, Gurbachan Singh, Sriram Singh etc. All of these athletes are considered as the golden boys for Indian Athletics in its initial period. India has produced some successful athletes in the contemporary period as well. Among the most successful athletes of the present day Indian athletics, there are the athletes like P T Usha, Anju Bobby George, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, Saraswati Saha, Soma Biswas etc. Apart from them, there are also some other athletes who are showing the signs to become successful in the international tournaments in the near future. Keeping in mind all the phases in the evolution of Athletics in India, it can be said that Athletics has shown a continuous trend of improvement so far and it is showing some promising signs for the future as well.