More Than Cricket: Sports Indians Love

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Guidebook Sports Cricket

While cricket undoubtedly holds a special place in the hearts of Indians, it's not the only sport that captivates the nation. Here we explore the popularity of other sports in India, shedding light on the diverse sporting interests of the country.


Football has been gaining significant popularity in India, particularly in states like West Bengal, Goa, Kerala, and the Northeastern states. The Indian Super League (ISL) and the I-League have played a crucial role in promoting football, attracting both domestic and international talent. Internationally, the English Premier League, La Liga, and the UEFA Champions League enjoy a substantial fan base.


Kabaddi, a sport indigenous to India, has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). The PKL has transformed kabaddi into a glamorous, televised sport, attracting viewership from across the country. The Indian kabaddi team has also dominated the sport internationally, winning all World Cup tournaments held so far.


Badminton is another sport that has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, largely due to the success of players like P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal on the international stage. The Premier Badminton League (PBL) has also helped promote the sport, featuring both Indian and international players.


Wrestling has a long history in India, with traditional forms of the sport, like Kushti, being practiced for centuries. In recent years, Indian wrestlers have achieved significant success at the international level, with names like Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, and Bajrang Punia making headlines.


Boxing is another sport where Indians have made their mark internationally, with boxers like Mary Kom and Vijender Singh achieving significant success. The sport enjoys considerable popularity in states like Manipur, Haryana, and Punjab.


While hockey is the national sport of India, its popularity has waned compared to cricket. However, the sport still has a significant following, particularly in states like Punjab, Odisha, and Jharkhand. The Indian men's hockey team's bronze medal win at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has sparked renewed interest in the sport.


India has a rich history in chess, a game that originated in the country. Today, chess enjoys widespread popularity, with grandmasters like Viswanathan Anand and young talents like R. Praggnanandhaa putting India on the global chess map.


While cricket may dominate the sporting conversation in India, a host of other sports are making their mark. The rise of professional leagues and the success of Indian athletes on the international stage are contributing to a diverse and vibrant sporting culture.

Beyond cricket's dominance, football, kabaddi, badminton, wrestling, boxing, hockey, and chess are gaining popularity in India, shaping a diverse sporting landscape.

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