National Game of India: Hockey or Kabaddi?

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Dec 31, 2021, 4:46

National sports encourage people to be physically active and emphasize the relevance and importance of sports to citizens. Having a specific national sport for a country makes a difference in the way citizens interpret it and indulge in it.

What is the National Game of India?

The Government of India has selected various elements to symbolize its national identity and heritage. For example, the tiger is India's national animal. 

Similarly, when asked about Indian national games, the most likely answer is that the national game of India is hockey. However, India does not have a national sport as reported by the United Youth Ministry. 

Why Does India not have a National Game?

In 2020, a teacher at a school in the Dhule district of Maharashtra submitted a request to the government to confirm whether hockey was officially declared the Indian national sport. 'The government has not declared any sport/game a national sport, as the government's goal is to promote/promote all popular sports,' the Ministry of Youth Sports replied. 

Why was Hockey Treated as the National Game of India?

Hockey is one of the oldest games and was approved by the Indian Hockey Federation in 1925. The first international hockey tour for Indians was played against New Zealand, with 21 games, of which India won 18. These victories helped the Indian hockey team stand out and encouraged Indian citizens to play hockey. Hockey was popular from 1928 to 1956. This period was considered a golden era, as India won six consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games. This is why hockey was treated as the national game of India.

Indian Hockey Achievements in Olympics

India has produced some of the best field hockey players in the world, like the legendary Dhyan Chand, Balbir Singh Sr, and Dhanraj Pillai. Let us look at some of the achievements of the Indian Hockey Team:

Venue/Olympics Name



Amsterdam Olympics


Gold Medal

Los Angeles Olympics


Gold Medal

Berlin Olympics


Gold Medal

London Olympics


Gold Medal

Helsinki Olympics


Gold Medal

Melbourne Olympics


Gold Medal

Rome Olympics


Silver Medal

Tokyo Olympics


Gold Medal

Mexico City Olympics


Bronze Medal

Munich Olympics


Bronze Medal

Montreal Olympics


7th Position

Moscow Olympics


Gold Medal

Los Angeles Olympics


5th Position

Seoul Olympics


5th Position

Barcelona Olympics


6th Position

Atlanta Olympics


8th Position

Sydney Olympics


7th Position

Athens Olympics


7th Position

Beijing Olympics


Did Not Qualify

London Olympics


12th Position

Rio Olympics


8th position

Tokyo Olympics


Bronze Medal

As discussed above, unofficially, hockey is considered the national game of India because of all the achievements of the team.

Further, just like hockey, the Indian Kabaddi team has been leading the game on the world stage, winning seven gold medals at all World Cup events and Asian Games to date. 

The current popular answer is cricket. However, while India may have won various accolades in all three of these sports, it does not have an officially declared game as of yet.

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FAQs Related to National Game of India

Q.1. What is the national game of India in 2022? 

Due to the massive success of Hockey, Indians informally say that hockey is the national game of India. But India does not officially have a national game.

Q.2. How many gold medals did the Indian hockey team win at the Olympics? 

The Indian hockey team has won eight gold medals at the Olympic Games so far. 

Q.3. Who is considered the father of Indian hockey? 

Ace hockey player, Dhyan Chand, who won three gold medals at the Olympics, is considered the father of Indian hockey, and his birthday is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. 

Q.4. Which other sport is considered the Indian national sport? 

Kabaddi is one of India's most popular sports, but it is not officially considered the Indian national sport.

Q.5. Are there any sports other than hockey and kabaddi that are considered the national sport of India? 

After hockey and kabaddi, people consider cricket to be the official game of India due to its immense popularity.