National Games of India
Motto" Get Set Play"
First event1924; 100 years ago (1924)
Occur everyEvery 2 year, Sometimes uneven years
Last event2023
HeadquartersOlympic Bhawan, B-29, Qutub Institutional Area, New Delhi

The National Games of India consist of various disciplines in which athletes from the different states of India participate against each other. The country's first few Olympic Games, now renamed as National Games, were held in North India (Delhi, Allahabad (now Prayagraj), Patiala, Madras (now Chennai), Calcutta (now Kolkata) and Bombay (now Mumbai).

Indian Olympic Games (early National Games)

In the early 1920s, the Indian chapter of the Olympic movement was born, and India participated in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.[1] As part of this movement, a provisional Indian Olympic Association (IOA) came about by 1924, and the Indian Olympic Games were held in Feb 1924 in Delhi to select Indian competitors for the 1924 Paris Olympics.[2] IOA Secretary Dr. Noehren wrote about these games as follows: "The All India Athletic Carnival, the greatest and most representative gathering of its kind ever to be held in India, was recently celebrated in Delhi...Seventy athletes, representing practically every province and State in the Empire, comprising Hindus, Muslims, Anglo-Indians and Sinhalese, ate their food around the same table and mingled intimately in the cramped and uncomfortable quarters provided."[3]

The games were then held every two years, and were renamed as National Games during the 9th Games in Bombay in 1940. Indian Olympic Association, the sports organising body of the nation, mooted the concept of the National Games to promote the development of sports and of the Olympic movement in India, and was responsible for host city selection.

Each games was organised by the host city sports association, and each had its unique challenges. For example, in late 1949, the Bengal Provincial Olympic Association, whose turn it was to hold the next national games, could not do so, and the IOA President Maharaja of Patiala then asked Bombay to host the games; it had just three months to organise the event. Bombay government ministers and Bombay olympic association officials then worked to hold the 1950 National Games in Bombay in early February 1950.

While held at various cities, the organisation of each national games was roughly similar, with an overarching 'Jury of Honour and Appeal' comprising the main officials for the games; and other officials such as a General Manager and Managers; Referee; Official Surveyor; Judges; Starters; Clerks of the Course; Recorders; Announcers; Scorers; Marshals; and Photographers.

For example, at the 11th Games in Patiala, Feb 1944, the Jury of Honor and Appeal comprised Moinul Haq (Chair), N. Ahmed, S. K. Mukherjee, S. de Noronha, Sohrab Bhoot, J. N. Khosla, Raja Birindra Singh, A. C. Dass, M. S. Ahluwalia, BR Kagal, CR Dhodapkar, Nawab Hussain, S. V. Lingras, Dr. Kailash Singh, N. N. Kunzru, and P. K. Varghese. And the officials included 6 Managers for various sports, General Manager Kirpa Narain, announcers Bashir Ali Sheikh and Prem Kumar, and several judges.

At the 13th Games in Lucknow, Feb. 1948, the Jury of Honour and Appeal comprised Moinul Haq (Chair), M. Sultan, Sohrab Bhoot, D. N. Sharma, M. G. Nageshkar, Raja Bhalinder Singh, B. C. Holanti, Rameshwar Dayal, S. de Noronha, P. K. Verghese, N. Ahmed, A. C. Das, Kirpa Narain, P. C. Joshi, G. D. Sondhi, Janki Das, Harbail Singh, Vasant Captain, and A. R. Khanna. And the officials included General Manager M. Sultan and 8 Managers for various sports; Referee G. D. Sondhi; Official Surveyors G. D. Sondhi, N. Ahmed, Sohrab Bhoot, and M. Sultan; announcer David Abraham; and several judges and other officials.

At the 14th Games in Bombay, Feb 1950, the Jury of Honour and Appeal comprised G. D. Sondhi (Chair), N. Ahmed, R. Narain, Sohrab Bhoot, M. Sultan, R. Dayal, F. C. Aurora, S. S. Dhawan, Bhalinder Singh, M. G. Nageshkar, A. S. de Mello, S. K. Basu, B. C. Mahante, and C. C. Abraham. And the officials included Referee Moinul Haq; Manager in Chief Sohrab Bhoot; Managers Nariman Saugar and Y. A. Gole; announcer David Abraham; and judges and other officials.

Modern National Games of India

For several years in the mid-twentieth century, the national games were conducted on a low key note. However, the first Modern National Games on the lines of the Olympics were held in 1985 in New Delhi.[4] Thereafter Kerala (1987), Pune, Maharashtra (1994), Bangalore, Karnataka (1997), Manipur (1999), Ludhiana, Punjab (2001), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (2002), Guwahati, Assam (2007), Ranchi, Jharkhand (2011), Trivandrum, Kerala (2015) and Ahmedabad, Gujarat (2022) hosted the Games. Like the early games, the modern games had their challenges: for example, a decision on the sixth modern National Games in Ludhiana, Punjab was delayed because the Central Government diverted funding for the first Afro-Asian Games.[5] The National Games were normally to be held every two years, leaving those years in which the Olympic Games and Asian Games are scheduled. In exceptional cases or natural calamity, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) can relax the general rule. In practice, the games were often held at three to four year intervals in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.

In recent editions, an emphasis has been placed on including and promoting traditional Indian games such as kho-kho and sqay.[6][7]



List of National Games of India
Edition Year Host(s) Start date End date Sports Events Teams Competitors Top placed team
Indian Olympic Games
I 1924 Lahore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
II 1926 Lahore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
III 1928 Lahore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
IV 1930 Allahabad ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
V 1932 Madras ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
VI 1934 New Delhi ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
VII 1936 Lahore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
VIII 1938 Calcutta ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
National Games
IX 1940 Bombay ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
X 1942 Patiala ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XI 1944 Lahore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XII 1946 Lahore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XIII 1948 Lucknow ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XIV 1952 Madras ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XV 1953 Jubbulpore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XVI 1954 New Delhi ? 6 ? ? ? ? ?
XVII 1956 Patiala ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XVIII 1958 Cuttack ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XIX 1960 New Delhi ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XX 1962 Jabalpur ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XXI 1964 Calcutta ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XXII 1966 Bangalore ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XXIII 1968 Madras ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XXIV 1970 Cuttack ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
XXV 1979 Hyderabad ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
National Games (Summer Olympics format)
XXVI 1985 New Delhi 19 November 26 November 26 ? 21 ? Maharashtra
XXVII 1987 Kerala
Venues: Cannanore, Calicut, Trichur, Cochin, Quilon and Alleppey
20 December 28 December 22 ? ? 6400 Kerala
XXVIII 1994 Maharashtra
Venues: Bombay and Pune
16 January 25 January 27 290 28 ? Maharashtra
XXIX 1997 Karnataka
Venues: Bangalore and Mysore
31 May 11 June 26 ? ? 5245 Karnataka
XXX 1999 Manipur
Venue: Imphal
14 February 25 February 27 ? 30 6278 Manipur
XXXI 2001 Punjab
Venues: Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Anandpur Sahib and Mohali
19 November 1 December 27 ? ? 8000 Punjab
XXXII 2002 Andhra Pradesh
Venues: Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Visakhapatnam
13 December 22 December 30 ? 34 8000 Andhra Pradesh
XXXIII 2007 Assam
Venues: Guwahati
9 February 18 February 32 ? 33 6800 Services
XXXIV 2011 Jharkhand
Venues: Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad
12 February 26 February 33 444 36 6979 Services
XXXV 2015 Kerala
Venues: Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Kannur
31 January 14 February 33 405 37 7744 Services
Cancelled 2020 Goa
XXXVI 2022 Gujarat
Venues: Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar
20 September 10 October 36 382 37 7000 Services
XXXVII 2023 Goa
Venues: Mapusa, Panjim, Ponda, Vasco da Gama, Goa and Margao and Delhi (for Cycling (Track) and Golf event only)
25 October 9 November 43 ? 37 10000+ Maharashtra


List of National Winter Games of India
Competition name Number Year Venue
National Winter Games I 1996 Gulmarg
II 2000 Manali
III 2002 Auli
IV 2004 Gulmarg
V 2008 Gulmarg

List of Winners

Year Host 1st Position 2nd Position 3rd Position
2002 Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh Punjab Services
2007 Assam Services Manipur Manipur Assam
2011 Jharkhand Services Manipur Manipur Haryana
2015 Kerala Services Kerala Haryana
2022 Gujarat Services Maharashtra Haryana
2023 Goa Goa Maharashtra Services Haryana

Performance of host states

In recent times, the host states of National Games have consistently featured in the top 5 in the overall medal tally. Kerala had become the Champions when it hosted the event in 1987. The 1997 National Games was hosted by Karnataka and they won the largest number of medals. Manipur which had finished 9th in the 1997 National Games, became the overall champions when they hosted the event two years later. In 2001, hosts Punjab became the champions. Andhra Pradesh which had won only 11 Gold Medals in 2001 went on to become the Champions when they hosted it in 2002 winning a whopping 94 Gold Medals overall. Assam had managed to win only a single gold medal and had finished 21st position in 2001. But, in the subsequent 2007 National Games that they hosted, they were the second runners-up winning a total of 38 Gold Medals. In 2011, Assam finished 15th overall winning only 5 Gold Medals. Jharkhand had been in the 15th position in 2007 National Games. They rose to the 5th position when they hosted it in 2011. In 2015, hosts Kerala secured the second spot in the medal tally. One main reason for this trend is the higher number of participants from the host state and comparatively lesser number of participants from other states.[8]

Future development

Though National Games are supposed to be held once in 2 years, it is faltering on this schedule. It took Ahmedabad seven years to conduct the games after 2015 edition in Kerala.

The 34th National Games had been postponed six times before finally opening on 12 February 2011.[9] The 35th National Games were to be held at Thiruvananthapuram in 2012, it was then announced that it would be held from 31 January to 14 February 2015.[10] The 36th National Games were to be held at Goa[11] as announced at the closing ceremony of 35th National Games in Thiruvananthapuram, Goa contingent said the games would be held in November 2016, then it was postponed to November 2017,[12] however Goa has now declared it inability to host the games altogether.[13] Uttarakhand was to host the 37th National Games.[14] The 38th National Games were to be held after that in January 2019 in Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh.[15][16]

The 36th edition of the National Games was held in the year 2022 in the state of Gujarat.

Greening the National Games

The 2015 National Games organised in Thiruvananthapuram were associated with green protocols.[17] This was initiated by Suchitwa Mission that aimed for "zero-waste" venues. Waste Management programmes were implemented at the 29 venues. To make the event "disposable-free", there was ban on the usage of disposable water bottles.[18] The event witnessed the usage of reusable tableware and stainless steel tumblers.[19] Athletes were provided with refillable steel flasks.[20] It is estimated that these green practices stopped the generation of 120 metric tonnes of disposable waste.[21] Suchitwa Mission requested the help of volunteers to achieve the green objectives,[22] and the service of these 700 volunteers were applauded by the Chief Minister.[23]

See also


  1. ^ Some founders of the Indian Olympic movement were Dorabji Tata, A. G. Noehren (Madras College of Physical Education), H. C. Buck (Madras College of Physical Education), Moinul Haq (Bihar Sports Associations), Sohrab Bhoot (Bombay Olympic Association), Bhagwat (Deccan Gymkhana), and G. D. Sondhi (Punjab Olympic Association). Lt. Col. H. L. O. Garrett (vice principal of Government College, Lahore) and Sagnik Poddar (of St. Stephen's School) helped organise the early national games. And prominent patrons included Maharajas and royal princes Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Ranji of Nawanagar, the Maharaja of Kapurthala, and the Maharaja of Burdwan. See also Punjab, the Spirit of Sport Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Tribune, Nov 18, 2001.
  2. ^ Brochures of the 1940s national games mention that the first national games in Delhi were in Feb 1924, though some mention a date of December 1923. All sources are consistent for the 1928 games in Lahore, 1930 games in Allahabad, and for later games.
  3. ^ Brochure, Madras Provincial Olympic Games, January 1950, Madras, p.6
  4. ^ Menon, Amarnath K. (16 December 2002). "Rs 250 crore National Games in Hyderabad enthuses organisers more than athletes". Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  5. ^ Decision on National Games on Aug.2 Archived 2007-08-08 at the Wayback Machine, The Tribune, July 31, 2001.
  6. ^ "National Games: Record 43 disciplines get nod, beach football to debut, lagori is demo sport". The Times of India. 17 May 2023. ISSN 0971-8257. Retrieved 6 October 2023.
  7. ^ National Games 2023 scheduled to be held in Goa from Oct. 26 to Nov. 9
  8. ^ "National Games: The Curious Case of the Host State". Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR). Archived from the original on 28 April 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Games postponement pangs for players". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 27 September 2010. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Kerala to host 35th National Games from January 31". The 27 June 2014. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  11. ^ "No National Games in Goa in 2011: CM". The Times Of India. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011.
  12. ^ "National Games in Goa get postponed further". The Indian Express. 7 June 2017. Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  13. ^ Correspondent, Special. "With Goa withdrawing, State keen on hosting National Games". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Preparations for 2018 National Games begin". The Tribune. 23 December 2014. Archived from the original on 3 November 2016. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  15. ^ "Amaravati set to host National Games 2019 - Times of India". 24 December 2015. Archived from the original on 28 December 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Chhattisgarh to host 37th National Games in 2013". Sify. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Green rules of the National Games". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 22 January 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  18. ^ "National Games: Green Panel Recommends Ban on Plastic". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 14 July 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  19. ^ "Kochi a 'Museum City' Too | The New Indian Express | Page 426326". 8 February 2016. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  20. ^ "National Games 2015: Simple Steps To Keep Games Green - Trivandrum News -". Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  21. ^ "Setting a New Precedent". The New Indian Express. Archived from the original on 25 November 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Chandy hails volunteers for green National Games, Kerala - Mathrubhumi English News Online". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015.