Does hockey deserve to continue as the 'national sport' anymore as it has failed to live upto the expectations and get any top international medal for India since a highly depleted 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, is a matter of 'great debate', but should this be replaced with wrestling, is perhaps, a 'contentious issue'.
Though wrestling, along with shooting, has brought maximum medals at the international level -- from Olympics to World Championships and from Commonwealth Games to Asian Games -- but can they still replace hockey as 'national sports'?
With Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh raising the issue of wrestling to be made the national game replacing hockey, the sports fraternity is sharply divided with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju clearly snubbing such proposal.
"No, we can't be seen as discriminatory and biased in favour of one sport. Other sports like boxing, shooting and badminton can also demand the same thing. Wrestling is no doubt giving India a lot of medals and we are very proud of our wrestlers but to make it a national game won't be fair," Rijiju said when Republic TV asked him about his opinion on the subject.
The Sports Minister said we are not considering any such proposal as it won't be encouraging for other sports.
"India is fast becoming a 'sporting nation' where there are a number of sports coming up and doing well. So we have to protect and nurture all sports and cannot be biased in favour of one sport," Rijiju observed.
Meanwhile, top wrestlers like Sushil Kumar, Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat had all endorsed WFI president's views. While Sushil pointed out that wrestling has been the most consistent Olympic sports in India, Bajrang and Vinesh were of the view that the sport had given India maximum top international medals.
Sushil has said: "Wrestlers have made the country proud everywhere. Its fastly becoming a mass game. And its hightime the sport be made a national game."
Bajrang has pointed out: "Which other sport in India is giving international medals in heaps on a consistent basis? Wrestlers are second to none and Wrestling deserves to be declared as national sports."
With Sports Ministry clearly not in sync with WFI, the federation still plans to raise the issue in Parliament after the Tokyo Olympics.
"The right time to raise the issue before Parliament would be after wrestlers winning medals in Tokyo Olympics. I am sure wrestling will emerge as number one Olympic sports in Japan. We will raise the issue after that." Brij Bhushan Sharan told Republic TV when asked about his next plan of action after the snub from the Ministry.