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Sports in Kerala


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Sports in Kerala

There is an array of sports which are famous and extensively played in the southern state of Kerala. Keralites have excelled in various sports like Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, Football, Volleyball, Kabaddi, Badminton and several types of water sports. The state has produced a large number of famous sportsmen who have earned their reputation on an international stage. Various players from Kerala have found their way into the international team.

Kerala Sports Council

Kerala has produced many sportspersons who have made their mark in various sports in India. Most of the players have represented their state and improved their games at the domestic level and, thus, got rewarded with the international caps. Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha, is the most extraordinary athlete from Kerala who has represented India in four Olympics i.e. Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984, Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1996.

Did You Know

The first player from Kerala to play in the Olympics was athlete C. K. Lekshmanan, who participated in the 110m hurdles race in Paris Olympics in 1924.

Kerala Sports Council

Kerala Sports Council in Thiruvananthapuram is the governing body that manages all types of sports that are played in Kerala. The council was created in 1974 to promote various sports in Kerala. During the Tenth Plan Rs. 58.25 crores was the budget set by the Sports and Youth Affairs Department for the growth of sports in Kerala and out of which Rs. 43.50 crores was supplied to the Kerala Sports Council which is about 75% of the total budget for sports.

Football in Kerala

Football Sports in Kerala

Football is one of the most popular sports in Kerala. The people here have great passion for this sport and many players from this state have also represented for the country. Football basically resides in the culture of Kerala.

Kerala Football Association

The Kerala Football Association was established on 1st November, 1956, which is one of the 36 football associations in India, which are associated with the All India Football Federation. FC Kochin was the first professional club in India and clubs like Kalamassery, Premier Tyres. Titanium, Young Challengers along with FC Kochin have produced talented footballers who have spread the glory and fame of Kerala across the whole country. Many clubs from Kerala have one number of national tournaments.

FC Kochin was the first club from Kerala to win the Durand Cup when they beat Mohun Bagan in 1997.

Kerala Blasters FC – Indian Super League

Kerala Blasters FC is a football club which appeared in the prestigious Indian Super League in 2014. The club was established on 13th April, 2014 and is one of the eight teams in the Indian Super League Football Franchise. The team is owned by the legend cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Prasad V Potluri. Former England goalkeeper David James is the Manager and the Marquee Player of the club. The club plays all its home matches at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi which is locally known as the Kaloor International Stadium. Trevor Morgan of Australia is the current Coach of the club, while Jamie McAllister of Scotland is the Assistant Coach.

The current members of the club include Penn Orji (captain), Michael Chopra (vice-captain), Ramandeep Singh, Jamie McAllister, Nirmal Chettri, Cédric Hengbart, Sushanth Mathew, Renedy Singh, Pedro Gusmao, Iain Hume, Colin Falvey, Duleep Menon, Raphaël Romey, C.S.Sabeeth, Sandesh Jhingan, Ishfaq Ahmed, Mehtab Hossain, Gurwinder Singh, Godwin Franco, Avinabo Bag, Sandip Nandy, Stephen Pearson, Andrew Barisic, Saumik Dey, Luis Barreto, David James, Victor Pulga, Milagres Gonsalves and Erwin Spitzner.

Cricket in Kerala

Cricket in KeralaCricket is the most popular in India, but it became popular in the state of Kerala in recent few years. The Kerala Cricket Team is officially domestic cricket team of Kerala, which plays in all the national domestic cricket tournaments and is also in the plate group of the Ranji Trophy, which is the most prestigious first class tournament in India. Until 2013-14 session Kerala has played 271 Ranji matches among which there are 40 wins, 133 loses, 98 draws and 3 matches were abandoned. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and the Fort Maidan serve as the base for the Kerala Cricket Team. Kerala has produced two Indian test cricketers, S. Sreesanth and Tinu Yohannan.

Kerala Cricket Association

The Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) is the governing body which manages the game of cricket in Kerala, the association is affiliated to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It was established in 1950 and has its headquarters in Thiruvananthapuram. The President of KCA is T. C. Mathew, while the secretary of the association is T. N. Ananthanarayanan. It is the parent body for the all the cricket associations in 14 districts.

Volleyball in Kerala

Volleyball is also regarded as one of the most popular sports in Kerala. The sport is often played on makeshift courts on the sandy beaches along the coast of this state. Jimmy George was one of the greatest volleyball players that Kerala has ever produced, even he was regarded among the world’s top ten volleyball players during his time. Some of the famous volleyball players originated from Kerala are: K. C. Elamma, Jimmy George, V. M. Kutty Krishnan, Saly Joseph, Cyril C. Valloor, K. Udayakumar and K. J. Kapildev.

Athletics in Kerala

Athletics in Kerala

Kerala has known to produce world-class athletes. The body which manages various athletics events in Kerala is Kerala State Athletic Association. Some of the greatest athletes that Kerala has produced are:
  • C. K. Lekshmanan (Olympics 1924)
  • Ivan Jacob (Olympics 1952)
  • Suresh Babu (Olympics 1972)
  • T. C. Yohannan (Olympics 1976)
  • P. T. Usha (Olympics 1980, 1984, 1988, 1996)
  • Shiny Wilson (Olympics 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996)
  • M. D. Valsamma (Olympics 1984)
  • Mercy Mathew Kuttan (Olympics 1988)
  • K. M. Beenamol (Olympics 1996, 2000, 2004)
  • K. M. Binu (Olympics 2004)
  • Anju Bobby George (Olympics 2004, 2008)
  • Chitra K. Soman (Olympics 2004, 2008)
  • Preeja Sreedharan (Olympics 2008)
  • Sini Jose (Olympics 2008)
  • Renjith Maheswary (Olympics 2008, 2012)
  • Tintu Luka (Olympics 2012)
  • Mayookha Johny (Olympics 2012)
  • Irfan Kolothum Thodi (Olympics 2012)

Traditional Sports in Kerala

Traditional Sports in Kerala

Kerala has kept intact its values and heritage over the centuries, and while the state may welcome liberal-minded tourists from all over the world, the residents still hold on to and cherish the art forms from the olden days. Kalaripayattu is a prime example of this practice, and is an ancient war and dance mixture that strengthens the body and improves reflexes. Theyyam and Poorakkali are two similar styles of war, which have been adopted to the modern times in a beautiful dance form.

For rafting aficionados Thekkady offers the most amazing experience, and is a must visit.

Adventure Sports in Kerala

Adventure Sports in KeralaWith a geography that puts seas, backwaters, rivers, and mountains very close to each other, Kerala is a wonderland for those who love adventure sports. Trekking, rappeling, parasailing, wind surfing, are just some of the popular adventure sports that you can experience in Kerala. The famous Silent Valley National Park offers a host of adventure sports-related activities, and is a great place to start your adventure in Kerala.

Some adventure sports in Kerala for which you will get superb services: Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Kayaking, Wind surfing, Para surfing / Para sailing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Boat racing, Trekking, Tree climbing and Biking.

Eco-tourism has helped adventure sports like trekking and hiking become immensely popular in Kerala. Opt for such an experience and you will get to explore the breathtaking natural beauty of this state in a truly mind-blowing fashion.

Kerala has a lot to offer to the trekking. There are several hills which are yet to be explored. The major undertaking which the tourists like to get engaged during their trip is to proceed for a trek. The trekking trails and programmes in Kerala can range from trekking to the highest top in South India to small treks that is undertaken for a couple of hours. There are half day treks, full day treks, one day, two days or even more days treks. It depends upon the tourists to choose the kind of trek they desire.

Some of the best places for trekking and trekking routes in Kerala are:


Watch Video of Trekking on Agasthyakoodam hills

Agastya Mala is a pilgrimage center for devotees of the Hindu sage Agastya, who is believed to be one of the seven rishis or Saptarishi of Hindu Puranas. The Tamil language is believed to be a boon from Agasthya. There is a full-sized statue of Agastya at the top of the peak and the devotees can offer prayers themselves.


Situated in Idukki district of Kerala, Munnar is one of its most well-known tourist destinations. The hill station is marked by the huge expanses of tea plantations, rivulets, colonial bungalows, waterfalls and cool climate, is the flawless place visited for trekking and mountain biking. It is, furthermore, famed for its endangered Nilgiri Tahr in the Eravikulam National Park.


Vagamon is a hill station situated on the Kottayam-Idukki border of Kerala. Tourists can relish trekking and climbing the high-range hills. The area is fully enclosed with tea estates and lagoons. Indo-Swiss Project dairy farms is located on the hill.


Watch Video of Anamudi in Kerala

Anamudi is the highest peak in the Western Ghats in the country. The slopes of the high range abound in all types of uncommon flora and fauna. The Atlas moth, the largest of its kind in the world is a unique inhabitant of the reserve. Other uncommon species of fauna found here are the Nilgiri Langur, the lion-tailed macaque, leopards and tigers.


Nelliampathy is a well-liked hill range 60 km away from Palakkad district in Kerala. It is famous for its tea and coffee estates and the very good climate. The trip to Nelliampathy would be a great experience. The road is very narrow here. On the way, one can see untamed animals like monkey, porcupine and deer.

Chembra Peak

Trekking in KeralaChembra peak is the largest peak in Wayanad district, at 2100 m overhead ocean level. District Tourism Promotion Council supply guides and trekking equipments on service charges to the tourists. Permission from the forest office in Meppady is needed for trekking up to the Chembra peak. A heart-shaped lake en-path to the top of the peak is a major tourist attraction. The lagoon is believed to have not ever dried up.

Sentinel Rock

This waterfall is at Vellarimala town beside Chooralmala in Meppadi Panchayat. It is a picnic spot as well as trekking center.

Kanthan Para

An attractive waterfall of about 30 m in height, 8 km east of Meppadi and 12 km southeast of Kalpetta in Wayanad district of Kerala.

Edakkal Caves

Edakkal Caves are two natural caves located 1000 metres high on Ambukutty Mala 25 km from Kalpetta in the Wayanad in Kerala. One can see inside the cave pictorial writings done by the Neolithic man, evidence of the occurrence of a prehistoric civilization existing in this region.


Nilambur is well-known for its green timber plantations, especially the wildlife environment, waterfalls, clean water rivers and teak plantations.

Water Sports in Kerala

Water Sports in KeralaBeing a land that is surrounded by water on virtually every side, and criss-crossed with rivers and backwaters, Kerala is an ideal place for water sports to thrive. The advent of tourists from far off land has brought with them sports popular in their own nations, and you can easily see people scuba diving or water skiing in the tranquil Arabian waters. Boating is very popular among the locals, and canoe racing is often held as a competition, especially on special days like Onam. Rafting is another popular water sports in the state. You can experience any or all of these sports as per your inclination and depending on the amount of time that you have.

Great spots for Scuba Diving/Snorkeling in Kerala:
  • Kovalam Beach
  • Hawa beach
  • Ashok Beach
  • Samudra Beach
  • Thiruvambady Beach

Sports Stadiums in Kerala

Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium
Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium located in Kochi, built in 1996 by the state government in co-ordination with the GCDA (Greater Cochin Development Authority). With the seating capacity of 60,000, Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium is among the largest cricket stadiums in India. The stadium was originally built as a football stadium, but is has been modified to host number of football as well as cricket matches. The stadium also serves as the venue for various important exhibitions, political rallies and cinema events, etc. The stadium acts as a home ground for Kerala Blasters FC as well as Kerala Cricket Team.

Did You Know

Chandrasekharan Stadium, also known as 'Police Stadium', was made in respect of the first Inspector General of Police of Kerala Shri. N. Chandrasekharan Nair in 1956.

Fort Maidan
Fort Maidan is a multi-purpose stadium located in Palakkad, Kerala, which is mostly used to host cricket matches. The stadium is also known as Kota Maidanam in the local language. The stadium has the seating capacity of 10,000 people and serves as the base for the Kerala Cricket Team. Number of first class cricket matches have been hosted at this ground.

EMS Stadium
EMS is a multi-purpose stadium, which is nestled in Kozhikode, Kerala and which mostly used to host football matches. The stadium was formerly called as Corporation Stadium. With the seating capacity of 53,000 people, the EMS Stadium was established in 1977 and is blessed with flood lights in order to host both cricket and football matches. The stadium also serves as the base for the Kerala Cricket Team.

Malappuram District Sports Complex
The Malappuram District Sports Complex is located in Payyanad in Malappuram, Kerala, which is managed by Malappuram District Sports Council. It is the football stadium, which was the chosen venue to host the Federation Cup 2014.

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