Did you know that India does not have any of the numerous sports, played in the country, listed as its official National Sport? Though we were somehow all taught and made to believe that hockey is the national sport of the country, the Sports Ministry of India doesn’t agree! This came to light through an RTI (Right to Information) request filed by a young girl who wanted official copies certifying India’s national game/sport along with the national anthem, national flower, national bird and national symbol. The Sports Ministry of India has not declared any National Sport/Game of India till now.
Hockey was a very popular game in India when India was enjoying its golden period in the game which began in 1928 Olympics games where the Indian Hockey team won a gold medal and lasted till 1956. In total, India has won eight gold medals in hockey. Based on this immense success and the sense of pride the game brought to the nation, hockey was considered the de-facto National Sport of the country.
Since the national sport is decided on the basis of historical/cultural relevance or the success of the country in a particular sport, hockey has lost its status in the latter. Cricket is the most popular game in the country and attracts a lot of viewership, endorsement, talent and limelight, still it hasn’t ever been our national sport. Cricket became widely popular only after the 1981 World Cup in our country so it has no historical or deep embedded cultural relevance to our nation. Though football is played and enjoyed in some parts of India, it isn’t popular with masses and India has little success on the international scene of the game. Other games in India also lack in popularity, accessibility, success and talent. That implies that even though there are plenty of sports/games played in India, none qualifies to be the Nation’s pride!