Sunday 19 August 2018, 09:18:57
Athletics in India has a history which dates back to the Vedic period and it can be said that the principles of the Atharva Veda gave shape to the formation of Indian athletics. Nevertheless it is indeed a mystery as to when exactly athletics in India made its presence felt as a distinct sports form.
Sports like chariot racing, archery, horsemanship, military tactics, wrestling, weight lifting, swimming and hunting made Athletics a colossal presence in the Vedic age or much later in the period of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Historical evidence shows that Indian athletics acquired a remarkable dimension, during the Buddhism era and many events like archery, equestrian, hammer throwing and chariot-racing were in vogue during that period. All these games were made compulsory in the military training sessions of the Indian empires, during that period.
Hiking, walking, `gulli-danda`, throwing also made their presence felt during the medieval period in ancient India. Most of these events were actually the ancestors of the track and field events of the Athletics of today and were immensely popular in India, as they were all focused on body fitness. The configuration and character of sports in India started to change in the course of time, still leaving space for the up gradation of sports and Athletics in India.
It still remains a mystery, the exact timing when the contemporary form of Athletics games started its journey in India, yet, it is generally stated that the present day Athletics started to be played in India, just after the independence. Athletics was being played in an unorganised manner in India till Independence and it was in 1946, when Indian Athletics started to be managed in an organised manner.
The most notable in the history of Indian Athletics was the decade of 1940’s and 1950’s as a number of Athletics associations were started in India during that period. In 1946, the Amateur Athletics Federation of India (AAFI) was established for the management of Indian Athletics. The entire scenario of Indian Athletics was changed by AAFI as it worked in collaboration with the other Athletics associations for improving sports and athletics.
Indian Athletics went through many phases as it evolved. Many track and field games were played in the grass and cinder tracks in the initial period and later on people started playing on the synthetic surface in major competitions. The introduction of synthetic tracks made things easier as there were no extra need for manual marking of tracks and associated definitions for throws and jumps in those tracks. Application of technology in the game of Athletics improved its status further as keeping the record of players’ timing became much easier.
Indian Athletes have become an integral part of the history of Indian Athletics, as they brought considerable amount of glory to the nation as they showed their brilliance in various Athletics events in the international level in the course of years. India has so far produced a number of successful athletes in the international level who have a rich tradition of dazzling performances in the international tournaments. Some of the most successful Athletes in the early history of Indian Athletics are Milkha Singh, T. C Yohannan, Gurbachan Singh, Sriram Singh etc. Some of the notable Indian Athletes in the contemporary period include P T Usha, Anju Bobby George, Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, Saraswati Saha, Soma Biswas, Abhinav Bhindra, Vijendar Singh, Sushil Kumar, Jaspal Rana, Anjali Bhagavat etc.
Apart from these athletes, there are also some other budding athletes who show signs to become successful in the international tournaments in the near future. It can be very well said that Athletics has shown a continuous trend of improvement so far and it is showing some promising signs for the future as well