It has been confirmed that India will indeed host the next FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017. The bid has come through, and the announcement was made by FIFA President Sepp Blatter. It will be a huge fillip to the organizational capabilities of the country to be able to put up an international event of that scale.
It is also a first for a football event in the country. India previously has organized tournaments, the biggest of them being the cricket world cups and the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Here’s a list of the biggest sporting events that India has organized in the past:
Cricket World Cups (Men’s – 1987, 1996, 2011; Women’s – 2013)
There is no doubt which game occupies prime space in the Indian context. Cricket is the most popular sport and the game’s popularity and India’s standing in the cricketing world have seen three World Cups visit Indian shores.
It first happened in 1987 when India hosted the fourth edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup; it was then known as the Reliance World Cup). It was jointly held in India and Pakistan and was the first World Cup to be held outside of England.
It was also the first time that the overs were reduced from 60 to 50. After India’s success in the previous edition, there was much excitement around the tournament. India were eliminated in the semi-finals after they could only muster 219 in response to England’s 254/6. Australia won their first World Cup in this edition.
The premier event returned to the sub-continent in 1996 where the tournament was shared amongst India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This one was called the Wills World Cup after its official sponsors. Sri Lanka defeated Australia in the final at Lahore to register their only triumph to date. However, from an Indian perspective, the highly charged quarter-final against Pakistan, that included the infamous Venkatesh Prasad – Aamir Sohail incident, and the calamitous semi-final against Sri Lanka, where the match was called off after crowd invasion, were the talking points.
For the Indian cricket team, it would prove to be third time lucky when the tourney returned in the year 2011. Co-hosted by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well, the event was one of the biggest and most popular editions to date and saw hosts India lift the World Cup for a second time, defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets, at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The men’s tournament apart, in 2013 the 10th Women’s World Cup was held in India with the matches played at Cuttack and Mumbai. The Australian women won the cup for a sixth time, beating West Indies by 114 runs in the final.
Hockey World Cups (Senior men’s – 1982, 2010, 2018; Junior men’s – 2013)
India has hosted two men’s Hockey World Cups starting with the fifth installment in 1982. The event happened between December 12, 1981 and January 12, 1982 in Mumbai. 12 teams took part in the competition with Pakistan triumphing to pick up their third crown overall beating West Germany in the final. India failed to qualify for the semi’s after finishing third in their group behind Australia and Netherlands. They eventually finished fifth after beating the erstwhile Soviet Union 5-1 in the 5th/6th place playoff.
After the fifth, the 12th edition again took place in India in February-March 2010 at New Delhi. The hosting of the event was in much doubt leading up to the tournament with the FIH (International Hockey Federation) expressing concern over the IHF’s (Indian Hockey Federation)preparations stating that “satisfactory progress had not been made in either area”. After much deliberation though, they did go ahead and award the rights to India on July 18, 2008.
Australia beat Germany 2-1 in the final to lift just their second World Cup after 1986, and the Dutch finished third. India once again failed to get out of the group stage, finishing fourth with just one win in their five games – that was a 4-1 win over rivals Pakistan.
The rights for the 2018 edition have also been awarded to India after the Indian body’s bid was selected ahead of those from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and New Zealand. It will be played between December 1 and December 16, 2018.
Also, starting tomorrow, India will be host for the 2013 Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup at New Delhi. There are 16 teams participating and there is much expectation from the young Indian team that has shown a lot of promise this year.
Commonwealth Games 2010
The 2010 Commonwealth Games were held in New Delhi between October 3 and 14, 2010.
6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and other dependencies landed in the national capital to compete in 21 sporting disciplines and 272 events overall. It has been the largest Commonwealth Games to date.
It also happened to be the largest international multi-sport event ever to be staged in Delhi, and India for that matter, eclipsing the Asian Games’ of 1951 and 1982. It was significant for a number of reasons – first time it was being held in India and just the second time it was being held in Asia after Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1998.
‘Shera’ was the official mascot of the Games and A.R. Rahman composed the the official song of the Games, “Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto”.
The final medal tally was led by Australia, but India did have its best ever performance at the Games, finishing second overall.
A report by Business Today magazine estimated that the Games cost INR600 billion (US$9.2 billion) making it the most expensive Commonwealth Games ever.
Asian Games (1951, 1982)
The first ever Asian Games were held in New Delhi in March 1951. 489 athletes from 11 Asian nations turned up to compete in over 57 events spread across 8 sports. It was originally scheduled to be held in 1950, but was delayed by a year. The six sports featured at the event were athletics, aquatics (Diving, swimming, water polo), basketball, cycling (Road and track), football and weightlifting. Japan finished atop the medal standings with India in second.
1982 and the 9th Asian Games came to Delhi. The landscape of sport in Asia had changed rather dramatically in the time between the two editions. 3,411 athletes from 33 nations took part in 196 events across 21 sports and 23 disciplines. It had the greatest number of participating countries in the history of the games. Handball, equestrian, rowing and golf were all included for the first time with fencing and bowling excluded. China, now the dominant power, finished ahead of Japan on number of golds, tallying 61 to Japan’s 57, after finishing tied on medals overall at 153.
South Asian Games (1987, 1995)
The 3rd South Asian Federation Games were held in Kolkata in 1987. It was the largest sporting event ever to be held in Kolkata, and West Bengal as a whole. A total of 10 disciplinees were contested in these Games. India was the major medal winner capturing 43% of the medals. Seven countries participated in these Games.
India hosted the Games once more in 1995. This was held in Chennai, again with seven countries participating and India finishing on top.
Kabaddi World Cup (2004, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Apart from all the other sports, India has been the host of the Kabaddi World Cup since its inception. Kabaddi is a sport where India has been utterly dominant, yet the sport and the events have not necessarily received much coverage in the press.
The first two editions in 2004 and 2007 were held in Maharashtra. But from the 2010 edition onwards, it has been happening in Punjab, with the local government there taking special interest in the sport, including this year’s tournament that is currently ongoing.
India have won each of the tournaments so far beating Iran (2004, 2007), Pakistan (2010, 2012) and Canada (2011).
They are favourites to win this year as well!
The first women’s Kabaddi World Cup was held last year, in India as well, in Bihar. And no prizes for guessing, the hosts were the winners!