Winning is not the important thing. It is the ONLY thing”
“What is worth playing for, is worth winning”
History of sports in India
The history of sports in India dates back to the Vedic era. Physical culture in ancient India was fed by a powerful fuel – religious rites. There were some well-defined values like the mantra in the Atharva-Veda, saying, “Duty is in my right hand and the fruits of victory in my left”. In terms of an ideal, these words hold the same sentiments as the traditional Olympic oath: “…….For the Honour of my Country and the Glory of Sport”. There is a fascinating link between Greece and India which stretches back to 975 BC. The zest for chariot-racing and wrestling was common to both the countries. In India, dehvada or the body-way is defined as “one of the ways to full realisation.” In the day and age of the Rig-Veda, Ramayana and Mahabharata men of stature and circumstance were expected to be competent in chariot-racing, archery, horsemanship, military tactics, wrestling, weight-lifting, swimming and hunting. The guru-shishya (teacher-pupil) relationship has always been an integral part of Indian sport from time immemorial. Indian sport reached a peak of excellence when Buddhism held sway here. In Villas Mani Majra, Tiruvedacharya describes many fascinating games, namely, archery, equitation, hammer-throwing and chariot-racing. In Manas Olhas (1135 A.D.), Someshwar writes about bhrashram (weight-lifting), bhramanshram (walking) and also about Mall-Stambha (wrestling).
Modern Day achievements in Sports
India’s modern day achivements in sports are fewer as compared to other nations of the world. They are as listed below:
- Olympian Indian hockey team is the only in the world to have won six consecutive Olympic gold medals from 1928 (Amsterdam) to 1956. It won 2 more gold medals in 1964 and 1980.
- Tennis player Leander Paes and weight-lefter Malleswari are the only Indian individuals to have won a modern day Olympic medal for India. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati were named the Doubles team of the year 1999, by ATP (Asscociation of Tennis professionals). They won three out of the four grand slam tennis tournaments of the world.
- India’s Vishwanathan Anand is ranked second in world’s chess. He won the FIDE world Championship in December 2000 Geet Sethi won two world amateur Championships and two world professional Championships.
- Michael Ferreira won three world Amateur billiards Championships (1981-83).
- Indian cricket team won the World Cup cricket under Kapil Dev, in 1983. Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar rank amongst the world’s top cricketers.
- Ramanthan Krishnan was ranked third in the ATP world rankings in the 1960’s. Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan were the other great tennis players produced by India.
- Milkha Singh and PT Usha were India’s best known athletes. Prakash Padukone won the All England Badminton Championship in 1980.