Delhi receives one of the largest numbers of Tourist footfall in India due to its historical and heritage property and also for being the capital of India, a metropolis with close proximity to the Mountains, Desert and Plains that makes it the centre of all sports events. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy a good time in this city which arranges a gamut of sports activities like tennis, table tennis, badminton, swimming, scuba diving and many more in Siri fort and Talkatora Stadium that are normally opened to people at a small entry fee. Cricket, football and hockey can be played at parks dotted around the city and the Shivaji Stadium, which is currently under renovation for the upcoming Commonwealth games.
Delhi has many Sports and adventure complex managed and maintained by Delhi Development Authority where you can apply for a temporary or permanent membership. Many corporate and companies also have memberships placed in these clubs for their employees. It had the privilege to host the first Asian Games in 1851 and 9th in 1982 and has won another chance to host the 2010 Commonwealth games. Due to this mega event, new stadiums are being constructed and many infrastructure projects completion are expedited and heritage properties are being renovated as the city will receive a massive influx of Tourists from across the Globe. A 40-acre huge site is being built near the centre of the city called the ‘Commonwealth games village’ which can hold 8,500 game officials, athletes and sportsperson. India is also bidding for the next Olympic Game event and we all hope that it wins.
Cricket forms the core sport in Delhi and the country because it is probably a game that has received credits with two world cups in their kitty, one in 1983 and the recent 2007, T20 World Cup series held in Johannesburg. It also boasts of star and world class players like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar who have assisted in marking India in the International map of sports. This game is treated not less than any religion in this city and people are seen taking leave from their workplace and shops closed when the game commences. Every corner of this city is crammed with young and old cricket fanatics that enjoy an inter-town match with each other and taken very seriously.
The Cricket International venue in Feroz Shah Kotla ground is the only stadium that has had the privilege to host the first ever cricket test match with West Indies post Independence in 1948. This ground has also seen many matches with Teams from different countries including the famous India vs. Pakistan Clashes and this is also the very ground where Anil Kumble took all 10 wickets of Pakistan and set a world record still intact.
It is very ironic that despite Hockey being the ‘National sport of India’, Cricket gets more recognition and the players are paid probably 10 times more the amount than any other sportsperson. It is somehow also forgotten that Hockey was the pioneer sport that placed India in the world map long before Cricket did back in 1975, when the Men’s Hockey Team won the World Cup for their Country. Bollywood had made an attempt of exposing and honouring this sport by making a very successful movie weaved around a women’s hockey team that won the world cup and other movies based on Football have also been successfully made; however, it is still essential for media to keep reiterating and assisting in showcasing such facts to the population like they do for Cricket and now Tennis and helping Indian people recognise other talents too.
In Tennis, Sania Mirza has also contributed to its exposure in this country by winning the Junior Wimbledon Championship and other titles post it and the latest attractions are Abhinav Bindra who won the Beijing 2008 Olympics Gold Medal in the Men’s 10 metre Air Rifle competition, Vijendra Singh who bagged the Beijing 2008 Olympics Bronze Medal for India in Boxing and Saina Nehwal who has made Badminton a well known sport amongst the Indian people. Football is greatly enjoyed in the North-eastern states and the game is ardently worshipped by people there; however, all said and done, numerous sports still need catching up with Delhiites and the rest of India. This is also due to the fact that these sports lack exposure and media coverage and we hope that with the advent of the Commonwealth games in Delhi, other known and unknown sports will be highlighted and not only reign in the hearts of Delhiites but the entire Indian population.