New data collected by YouGov/SMG Insight has revealed that Indians take pride in a wide range of non-cricketing sporting achievements – despite opinions to the contrary.
The polling uncovers that, even amid a sea of cricketing coverage, there are plenty of sporting stories which break through to register with the public – making Indians proud of a wide range of achievements.
Although Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli registers most awareness in terms of sporting achievements that have made Indians proud in the last month, it is the exploits of 400m runner Hima Das, badminton player PV Sindhu, footballer Sunil Chhetri and boxer MC Mary Kom which make up the rest of the top five.
Today’s data publication is part of a series of pieces of research which YouGov/SMG Insight is conducting into the Indian sports market. The insight will also take in data on India’s favourite teams and athletes.
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Das became the first Indian ever to win track gold in a world championships across all age groups as she ran into the history books at the IAAF Under 20 championship in July.
Meanwhile, Olympic silver medallist Sindhu has reached three further finals this year, including at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Mary Kom makes it three women in the top five following her gold medal-winning performance at those Games.
Despite criticism for a preponderance of cricketing stories, most respondents said that the mainstream media was the source of news about wider sporting stories. Two-thirds of people found out about the achievements of Indian athletes through TV news, while 54% read about them in a newspaper. Social media also proved a popular source, with just over half of Indians reporting that they had heard about these sporting triumphs on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Joseph Eapen, Senior Vice President and head of YouGov/SMG Insight’s India operation, said that the findings put paid to the idea that the Indian public is only interested in cricket.
“There’s no question that cricket is India’s first love – and for very good reasons. But the data shows that not only are people noticing sporting achievements outside of cricket but that the public derives a significant amount of national pride from them.
“There’s a strong case to be made that there is real appetite among the Indian public for greater diversity in sports coverage. The data also sends the message to sports marketers and sponsors that there are properties outside of the cricket world which offer real potential for development and value – they just need to be harnessed properly.”