By David Owen

badminton india_26-03-12April 7 - New research into India's favourite sports provides great encouragement for the sport of badminton.

The new report, "Sports India: Popularity and Participation of Sports in India 2012", indicates that the racquet sport trails only the nation's obsession, cricket, in terms of participation.

According to the report, published by SMG Insight/YouGov, while 62 per cent of respondents played cricket at least four times a year, 51 per cent played badminton.

This was well ahead of the third sport on the list, swimming, which was practiced by 30 per cent of those asked.

Badminton falls to fourth spot on the list - behind cricket, tennis and football - for sports that Indians follow.

However, it remains comfortably ahead of sports such as motorsports, boxing and basketball that are far more prominent in the west.

This strength in the world's second-most populous country may be something the shuttlecock-based sport can build on to increase international popularity.

Frank Saez, managing director of SMG Insight, said the report showed that India "while mad for cricket in multiple forms and events, is emerging as a sports nation with interest spread across a range of activities and competitions".

"Indian sport faces an exciting future," Saez added.

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