(Last Updated on : 15/07/2011)
Athletic events in India are considered to be one of the oldest games in the nation, as it started its journey during the Vedic era. Indians have practiced different Athletic events since the distant past as part of a physical exercise regimen.
Events like Track and Field, Road Running, Cross-country and Race Walking are most famous amongst the Athletics events in India. The Track events played in India include running events like 100metres, 200metres, 400metres, 800metres, 1500metres, 5000metres, 10,000metres, 100meters hurdles, 110metres hurdles, 400metres hurdles, 3000metres steeplechase, 4-x 100metres relay and 4-x 400metres relay etc. The Track events also include Marathon running. Field events include High jump, Long jump, Triple jump, Pole vault, Shot-put, Discus throw, Javelin throw, Hammer throw. The Decathlon and Heptathlon are a combination of track and field events.
Field events are also an integral part of Athletics events in India. Among the most common Field events played in India, the most common ones are High jump, Long jump, Triple jump, Pole vault, Shot-put, Discus throw, Javelin throw, Hammer throw etc.
Jumping events are also popular in India, Long jump is a Jumping event in Athletics, where the athlete jumps a distance in length. The highest distance achieved by an athlete determines the winner.
High Jump is another Jumping event in Athletics. In this event, the athlete has to jump high in the air and cross a bar set on a certain height. The athlete who achieves the longest distance is announced as the winner. Pole Vault is an event of Athletics where the athlete needs to jump high above a bar. The difference between high jump and pole vault is that here the athlete takes the help of a long, flexible pole to elevate him to jump to the highest distance. Triple Jump is an important athletic event and has a lot of similarities with Long Jump. However, the difference is that; here the athlete jumps three times on the same effort. Discus Throw is a throwing event of Athletics. Here the athlete has to throw a lens-shaped heavy disc to such a distance where nobody else can throw. The discus is usually made of rubber, plastic, wood or metal with a metal rim and a metal core to attain the weight. Apart from these the following athletic events are also important in India.
In the Hammer Throw event of Athletics, the thrower has to throw a heavy steel ball that is attached with a wire to a handle. There is a circle in this event and the thrower has to throw the ball staying within the circle. Javelin Throw is one of most popular events of Athletics. This is also a throwing event wherein the thrower throws a javelin instead of discuss or hammer. Shot Put is an Athletic event that needs a lot of energy. Here, an athlete tries to throw a very heavy metal ball as far as possible to become the winner. In this event also, the athlete needs to stay within a circle. The steeplechase is a form of horse racing that is also included in Athletics. Here, the athlete needs to jump over fences and trenches and other types of obstacles.
Hurdles, another set of Athletic events in India feature runners competing with each others to cross obstacles in their track. Relay is another running event where more than one athlete runs one by one for the same goal and the winner is determined as a team. There is a small stick (called as Baton) in the play that the players have to rotate within themselves when their next runner's term comes. Relays can be of various categories like 4x100 meters, 4x200 meters etc.
The heptathlon is also significant in Indian athletics. The word, a combination of the Greek words Hepta (seven) and Athlos (contest) signifies it as an event with seven contests. The event is a combination of seven different games. There are two versions of the event for the men and women. The Women's heptathlon has seven games like the 100 m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 m, long jump, javelin throw and 800 m. The men's heptathlon consists of 60 m hurdle, the long jump, shot put, high jump, pole vault and 1000 m races. The winner here is determined according to the total points that an athlete gathers in all the seven games. Decathlon is an extended version of the Heptathlon with ten events instead of three.
A half marathon is a road-running event where a number of athletes race each other for a distance of 13 miles. As the name suggests, it is half the distance of a marathon. It is long enough to be a serious challenge but does not require the level of training of a full marathon. The Marathon is a long-distance running event where the athletes run a distance of 26 miles. In both half and full marathons, the runner who touches the finishing line first, is usually declared as the winner of a Marathon.
Athletic events in India are played nowadays in much more modernized forms and enjoy a larger platform through participation in the Olympic and Asian games.