The National Games 2022 will be held in Gujarat from September 29 to October 12 2022. India’s prestigious multi-event sporting showcase returns after a gap of seven years. It was last held in Kerala in 2015.
The National Games will be held across six cities of Gujarat — Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar. Gujarat will host the National Games for the first time.
This will be the 36th edition of the National Games, and an estimated 7,000 athletes will take part across 36 sporting disciplines. Services, the sports team of the Indian Armed Forces, will also compete in this multi-event sporting spectacle.
The table tennis events were scheduled prior due to the clash of dates with the World Table Tennis Championships to be held from September 30 onwards.
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At the 35th Games in Kerala, Services (91 gold) topped the medal tally, followed by Kerala and Haryana. Kerala swimmer Sajan Prakash emerged as the top athlete with eight medals including six gold and two silver.
After Kerala in 2015, Goa was to host the 36th edition in November 2016. After delays in 2018 and 2019, the Games were postponed to 2020. COVID-19 then forced the postponement of the National Games and the Goa government was not certain it would be able to host the event this year.
The All India Olympic Committee organised the first National Games called before independence in 1924 in Lahore. It was then called the ‘All India Olympic Games’. The four editions of the Games were held every two years since 1924, with the first three being held in Lahore, with Allahabad becoming the host in 1930.
In 1940, the event was rechristened as the ‘National Games’, which was hosted by Mumbai. Lucknow hosted the first National Games post independence in 1948.
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After the initial popularity of the Games, there seemed to be a dip which led to the intervention of IOA in 1985. They decided to change the structure of the Games on the lines of Olympics to increase viewership.
Ever since, the Games has seen more than 5000 athletes taking part.
Winners over the years
In 1985, the first edition of the revamped National Games saw Maharashtra topping the medal tally. The next edition of the Games was moved to Kerala and for the first time was held in different cities. That year, the host Kerala won and the trend of the host city topping the medal tally continued for the next five editions.
However, in 2007, for the first time the hosts didn’t end up becoming champions as the Services, a combined team of the Indian Armed Forces, won the trophy for the first time in history. The hosts, Assam finished third with 38 gold medals in comparison to Services’ 59.
In 2011, Services won with a comfortable lead of 22 gold medals more than the second-best Manipur. Completing a hat-trick in 2015, Services became the champions yet again with 91 golds and a total of 159 medals with host Kerala managing to get only 54.