A look at India in Team Sports!

There is going to be no sports for a few weeks now as the whole World faces the Corona Virus pandemic. So, in the spare time, we take a look at how India fares at Team Sports. Let us have a look…

For this article, we look at sports which have a Team Event in Tokyo Olympics.

Let us first look at ranking of Team India across all these sports…

There are 2 more team sports at Olympics – Handball & Water Polo. We could not find official World Ranking of India in those 2 sports.

Coming back to India at Team Sports, as you can see India fares pretty dismally across most team sports. Apart from few sports like Archery, Hockey and Men’s Table Tennis team, we are pretty low on rankings. Track Cycling is an upcoming sport in India with young cyclists doing well at World stage.

If we look at Olympic qualification, only Hockey teams and Men’s Archery team has qualified for Tokyo Olympics. Even the high ranked table tennis teams did not manage to qualify for Tokyo Olympics.

Here is a look at the team events in which India qualified in last 4 Olympics:

2016 Rio Olympics: Women’s Archery Team, Hockey – Both Men & Women
2012 London Olympics: Archery Team – Both Men & Women, Men’s Hockey Team
2008 Beijing Olympics: Women’s Archery Team
2004 Athens Olympics: Archery Team – Both Men & Women, Men’s Hockey Team

As we can see, India performance at team sports has been consistent through the years. India has not been doing well in most team sports with India even failing to qualify in most sports.

This begs us to ask a question why is India not doing good at team sports?

Well to start with India is pretty good at cricket which is a team sport. But what happens when it comes to other sports like football, basketball, volleyball etc.? A good reason to this question might be how much we invest in these sports and whether we have a proper infrastructure to support these sports in the country.

Everyone knows the money cricket gets in India. Along with funding, cricket also has a proper domestic structure to produce and nurture talent.

USA is arguably the top nation when it comes to basketball. Again its success can be linked to the great domestic structure it has in place for basketball. Right from college basketball to NBA, it has a proper structure to produce talent. Same is the the case with football in Europe. The multi-tiered football leagues in every European country enables it to produce world-class footballers.

When it comes to India, here is where we are lacking. Apart from Cricket, we don’t have a strong domestic structure for other sports where coaches can train players to reach the next level.

Government initiatives like Khelo India Games and Khelo India university games are a positive step in this direction. But still Indian sports federation need to do a lot more to make India competitive at the world stage. A proper structure right from district to national level, along with necessary infrastructure needs to be build. Until that happens, India will continue to struggle.

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