The precise definition of what separates a sport from other leisure activities varies between sources. The closest to an international agreement on a definition is provided by SportAccord, which is the association for all the largest international sports federations (including association football, athletics, cycling, tennis, equestrian sports and more), and is therefore the de factorepresentative of international sport.
There are opposing views on the necessity of competition as a defining element of a sport, with almost all professional sport involving competition, and governing bodies requiring competition as a prerequisite of recognition by the International Olympic Committee(IOC) or SportAccord.
Other bodies advocate widening the definition of sport to include all physical activity. For instance, the Council of Europe include all forms of physical exercise, including those completed just for fun entertenment.
Traditional Sports in India
Sports in India dates back to the ancient times with references found in the Vedas and Indus Valley Civilisation. Archaeological excavations of Mohenjodaro and Harappa reveal that people indulged in some sort of physical activities and also played a variety of games using marbles, balls and dice.
Hunting, swimming, boating and boxing were also some of the major sports played and nurtured in India in ancient times.
Yoga was an integral part of ancient Indian culture. Yoga was practice by almost every school thought to achieve spiritual and mental peace. The people forgot it but now people have once again realised the importance of yoga.
The present scenario of coaches is also a part of traditional sports. The guru-shishya trend or the teacher-pupil relationship can be traced back to the times of Ramayana and Mahabhamta.
The gurus would take their shihyas under their custody and introduce them to archery, chariot racing, wrestling, hunting, horse riding, weight lifting, swimming and military tactics. The weapons of war, for instance, the javelin (toran) and the discus (chakra), were frequently used in sports.
Games like chess, snakes and ladders, playing cards, polo, the martial arts of judo and karate had originated in India and it was from here that these games were transmitted to foreign countries, where they were further developed.
Chess originated in ancient India and was known as Chatur- anga – meaning four limbs. It represents four-fold division on the ancient Indian army – infantry, war elephants, cavalry and chariots. Chaturanga is the direct ancestor of shatranj, which was played by the Pandavas and the Kauravas.
The popular game of cards originated in ancient India and was known as Krida-patram. It was one of the favourite pastimes of Indians in ancient times. This game was patronised especially by the royalty and nobility. In medieval India, playing cards was known as Ganjifa cards which were played in practically all royal courts.
Ancient India claims to have been the origin of judo and karate. Kerala’s martial art form Kalaripayate is similar to karate. Those who practice it have to develop acrobatic capabilities, when using swords or knives to attack their adversaries, and even an unarmed exponent who can be a force to reckon with.