The mention of Indian sports has been made in ancient Indian epics like Mahabharata, Ramayana etc. where archery, hunting, gymnastics, swimming, wrestling, horse riding, chess (Shatranj) were considered as the royal games. India's most popular sport by far is Cricket. The Cricket became popular gradually. Indians have however at the same time made a mark in the international sphere in games like tennis and billiards, which are played by a very humble percentage of the Indian population. Vishwanathan Anand, at the young age of 17, became an international chess grandmaster. A large number of pre-teen Indians, following Anand, have come forth with a lot of guarantee. The world amateur and the professional billiard championships, both are won by Geet Sethi. In the year 1990, Leander Paes became the third Indian Wimbledon junior champion. In the 1996 Olympics, Leander Paes won the bronze medal at the tennis singles competition. In the recently held Commonwealth Games at Manchester, UK, Indian has produced many new sports stars in shooting, weightlifting, athletics, and Women's field hockey.
In India, Football game is conceived to be one of the most popular sports in India. Football is said to be ranked second in popularity, only behind cricket. Domestic footballs are more popular than domestic crickets. Craziness with football games is the most common thing for the people of India. India has many well known football players who have brought the glory to the Indian football. Some of the well known footballers are Subhashish Roy Choudhury, Sunil Chetri, Mahesh Gawli, Naduparambil Pappachen Pradeep, P. Renedy Singh, Syed Rahim Nabi Syed Rahim Nabi, Habibur Rehman Mondal , Debabrata Roy , Deepak Kumar Mandal , Climax Lawrence , Steven Dias Krishnan Nair Ajayan , Mehraj Din Wadoo , Abhishek Yadav , Anthony Pereira ,Tarif Ahmed Tarif Ahmed et al. Among these footballers, Subhashish Roy Choudhury plays football in the defense position, Sunil Chetri is known as the highest goal scorer among the Indians. He plays in the forwarder position. Mahesh Gawli is reckoned as the footballer who won the 'Best Defender' Award for a record 3 consecutive years. Naduparambil Pappachen Pradeep is a player whose talents and skills according to critics can even excel former Indian captain I. M. Vijayan. P. Renedy Singh is a player of JCT FC, has represented India in the international arena. An outstanding footballer of East Bengal club, Syed Rahim Nabi, plays in the midfielder position. Habibur Rehman Mondal of Indian football is currently playing for Mohammedan sporting club, is a defender. Debabrata Roy is striking football player, plays in defense position whereas Deepak Kumar Mandal, the defender is the player from Mohun Bagan Sporting Club and Mehraj Din Wadoo is also presently engaged with the same club. On the other hand, Climax Lawrence is an Indian midfielder footballer and Steven Dias a front-runner for the Man of the Tournament award. Krishnan Nair Ajayan, one of the brilliant Indian football players, presently playing for Mahindra United Sporting Club. Abhishek Yadav, Anthony Pereira, Tarif Ahmed are also involved in Indian football.
In India, during the British period Field Hockey became popular in India. The golden era of hockey in India was considered the period from 1928 to 1956. India won 6 consecutive gold medals during this period in the Olympic Games. Between this era India played 24 Olympic matches, winning all 24, scoring 178 goals and yielding only 7. In the year 1960, after 28 sequential victories in the Olympic Games at the Rome Olympics, India lost 0-1 to Pakistan in the final. However, India won gold medal in 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Despite anything to the contrary, another gold medal for India came only in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and none thereafter so far.
Dhyan Chand is said to be the 'Wizard' of Indian hockey. Some of the noted Hockey players who glorified India has are Syed Ali who has represented India in the World Cup and the Asian Games twice, Richard James Allen who played in three consecutive Olympics, Saba Anjum Karim who is the member of the Indian national women’s hockey team, represented India as a right wing forward player; Ashok Kumar, the son of the legendary hockey player Dhyan Chand and a promising hockey player won the Arjuna Award, he brought India the fame. Some of the players bestowed India the fame by winning awards in Olympic Games. Aslam Sher Khanrepresented India in the Olympics and is also the son of the former hockey player Ahmed Sher Khan. Amit S. Bakshi won a gold medal with the national team at the 1956 Summer Olympics. Vasudevan Baskaran served as the captain of the team that won for India Olympic Gold in hockey. Lazarus Barla plays in the position called defender.
Gangotri Bhandari is national women field hockey player, Raghbir Singh Bhola is the famous Indian field gold medalist hockey player. Sanggai Chanu is a female field hockey player also named Young Player of the Tournament at the 2001 World Cup Qualifier. Devesh Chauhan of India was the best goalkeeper. He is also reckoned as a valuable quality to the Indian hockey team. Including these players India has gold medalist Bir Bhadur Chettri, Rajendran Christie, Leslie Claudius Leslie Claudius, Sameer Dad, gold medalist Meldric Daluz, Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara, Chinadorai Deshmutu, Baljit Singh Dhillon, Adrian D'Souza, Darryl D'Souza, Walter D'Souza, Sylvanus Dung Dung, Keshav Chandra Dutt, Lionel Charles R. Emmett, gold medalist Lawrie Fernandes, Merwyn Fernandes, Ranganathan Francis, Gavin Ferreira, Sukhbir Singh Gill, Gerry Glacken, gold medalist William Goodsir-Cullen, 'Player of the Final' title winner Arjun Halappa , Akhtar Hussain et al.
Indian Sports persons Other are Shankar Lakshman, Kishan Lal, Mohinder Lal, Raghbir Lal, O. P. Malhotra, Sommayya Maneypande, Helen Mary, Jude Menezes, Dinesh Nayak, Baboo Nimal, Vece Paes, Pargat Singh, Bandu Patil, Govind Perumal, John Peter, Joseph Phillips, Dhanraj Pillay, Vikram Pillay, Leo Pinto, Jaswant Rai, Muniswamy Rajgopal, Jaswant Singh Rajput, Amarjit Singh Rana, Viren Rasquinha, Latif-ur-Rehman, Mohammed Riaz, Reginald Rodrigues, Baljit Singh Saini, Allan Schofield, Shabab-ud-Din Shabban, Mohammed Shahid, Ali Shaukat, Adam Sinclair, Randhir Singh Gentle, Bakshish Singh, Balbir Singh Sr., Balkrishan Singh, Charanjit Singh, Darshan Singh, Davinder Singh, Dharam Singh, Gagan Ajit Singh, Grahanandan Singh, Gurbux Singh, Gurdev Singh, Gurmail Singh, Harbinder Singh, Hardayal Singh, Jagjit Singh, Jaipal Singh, Joginder Singh, K. D. Singh, Prabjoth Singh, Prithipal Singh, Rajinder Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Ravinder Pal Singh, Trilochan Singh, Udham Singh, Surinder Singh Sodhi, Varsha Soni, Prem Maya Sonir, Charles Stephen, Subodh Khandekar, Deepak Thakur, Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey, Tushar Khandekar, Thirumal Valavan, Maxie Vaz, Sayed Yusuf.
Boxing had not achieved that much fame in India but after Vijender Kumar won the bronze medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics, it has come to the limelight. Some of the well known boxing personalities are Jitender Kumar, Akhil kumar, Dinesh Kumar, M. C. Mary Kom, A.L.Lakra et al.
(Last Updated on : 20-06-2012)