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History of sports activities in Shimla, dating back to the British Era

Shimla is also home to numerous sports clubs such as Shimla Ice Skating Club, Himachal Golf Club, Blessington Club, and Shimla Tennis Club.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Shimla is situated in the Himalayan ranges and has been adored with several rivers, mountains, valleys, and deep forests which is admired by adventure sport lovers. Shimla has a very rich history in sports that dates back to the British era. When the Crown shifted the summer capital to Shimla, various facilities and cottages were established to acclimate the army officers. The locals were also introduced to various new games and sports. The history of the sports in Shimla can also be recognised through the history pages of the boarding schools which were established during the British Era. These facilities are still conserved in good condition and are used for sports activities, to this day. 

The Britishers developed space for various sports such as football, cricket, skating, skiing, etc. One of the best national training institutes, which is established by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), is located at Shilharo, near Shimla. Here, the Sports Authority of India trains national players in different sports for national and international tournaments. Shimla is also home to numerous sports clubs such as Shimla Ice Skating Club, Himachal Golf Club, Blessington Club, and Shimla Tennis Club.

These are some popular sports played in Shimla

Golf

Any British township is incomplete without a golf course. There are two golf courses near the city, established by the Britishers, for enjoyment and entertainment. This sport has become very popular in the valley. The tourists also try their hand at the game with the residents. Located in open spaces surrounded by dense forests, Shimla the golf courses, are named, Annadale and Naledehra. The marvelous golf course in Annadale is a 9-hole golf course that is managed by the army. Naledehra, near Shimla, has the oldest and the best golf courses in the country. In 1903, Lord Curzon laid the foundation stone of the golf course in the city, as he was so fascinated by the natural beauty of the place, he named his daughter’s middle name, Naldera after this place.

Any British township is incomplete without a golf course. There are two golf courses near the city, established by the Britishers, for enjoyment and entertainment. This sport has become very popular in the valley.
Photo: www.naldehragolfclub.com

Lawn Tennis and Table Tennis

Counted amongst the popular sports of the city and also played by the tourists and local citizens table tennis and lawn tennis are very popular. Devoted to these games, are many outdoor, indoor courts and halls in the city for amusement and entertainment. People play regular competitions locally and nationally, and schools and colleges also have their teams that play tennis. Many resorts and hotels also provide facilities for their guests to get entertained.

Cricket in Shimla

The people of Shimla, cherish cricket like the rest of the country. Shimla has numerous cricket grounds that were built by the British and are still well maintained. The army officers in the British era used to play cricket for amusement purposes.

Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association is the administrative body, which looks after the cricketing activities of Shimla. The federation was founded in 1960, but it was comprehended and consented to affiliation with BCCI on 29th September 1984.

Inaugurated by Dalai Lama the association has also constructed the world’s highest cricketing stadium located near Shimla, this stadium hosts national and international cricket matches on regular basis. Involved in coaching and organizing different tournaments for the players and school students in Shimla the association has also constructed two more cricket stadiums in Bilaspur and Nadaun.

Football

Like other games, the city has a long history in football. It is an interesting fact that the Durand Cup, the oldest football tournament in India and the third oldest football tournament in the world was started in Shimla in 1888. The game was commenced and governed by Sir Mortimer Durand, who was then Foreign Secretary of India, who started the tournament essentially as a leisure sport for the British army, which was stationed in India. Defeating Highland Light Infantry with a score, of 2-1 the first competition was won by Royal Scots Fusiliers. The tournament has been regularly organized since then. In 1940, the conventional venue of the tournament switched from Dagshai, Shimla to New Delhi.

“Shimla Young”, is one of the popular football clubs which started in Shimla in 1936, and then moved to Delhi in 1938. Today, it is one of the well-known skilled football clubs, which regularly plays in various competitions. Like in many hill stations, football is a very prominent game played in Shimla.

Badminton

The city has various national badminton players as badminton is one of the most distinguished names in Shimla. So commonly there are several badminton courts in the city, assisting local citizens and visitors. The local citizens and the visitors can enjoy a game of badminton for relaxation as many hotels and resorts have badminton courts.

The school and college have teams that compete in regional and national titles and win prizes in all sectors regularly.

Ice Hockey

Slowly and steadily Ice hockey is becoming one of the popular games in the country. Shimla has a history of ice hockey which we can trace down to the British era, as it was the favourite pastime of Britishers. Shimla is one of the few places in the country where ice hockey can be played on an outdoor fields, when it comes to ice hockey, Shimla Ice Skating Club is very active. Today, in the country Shimla is the only place where ice hockey equipment are readily available.

Slowly and steadily Ice hockey is becoming one of the popular games in the country.
Photo: himachaltourism.gov.in

Shimla is taking part in international tournaments since 2009 the national team of ice hockey, practices in one of the oldest ice hockey clubs in Shimla.