S. Sarath Kumar made history for India in 2011 when he became the first ever Indian to compete in the Italian Motor Championship in the 125cc class. MotoGP has soared in status on the subcontinent over the last few years, thanks to its greater availability and representation in popular culture. Kumar’s success on the world stage helped towards that rise, and India could soon taken seriously in MotoGP circuits.
MotoGP is Becoming Increasingly Popular in India
It should come as no surprise that India is starting to develop professionals in MotoGP, as the sport has boomed in popularity in the country over the past decade. It has certainly been helped by the greater accessibility in the modern age, with many people choosing to stream the events on their mobile devices. It’s also available on television in the country. Prior to 2020, Sony Ten had the rights to show it, and now Eurosport provides it for Indian viewers.
Another indication of the sport’s growing popularity is its presence in the gaming industry. Online casino games are hugely popular pastimes in India, and the slots at Genesis Casino reflect mainstream interests of the people in the country. Racing Wilds is an example of a MotoGP-themed game, with speedy motorbike animations occurring every time players spin the reels.
First Indian Team to Enter Italian Motor Championship
Kumar is the national champion in the 125cc class and has recently branched out into the 165cc class. It’s in the former that he competed on the world stage, as part of Mahindra Racing. This was the first ever Indian team to participate in the Italian Motor Championship. He teamed up with the Italian 2009 champion, Riccardo Moretti, but failed to make the podium. Still, this was a massive step forward for India in the sport, as the country had never been represented before then. Kumar was 19 at the time, and he blazed a trail for other Indian talents to follow.
Now at 29 years of age, Kumar is continuing to promote India as a credible nation in the sport. The Chennai-born star currently competes for Honda Ten10 Racing and usually takes part in the Indian National Motorcycle Supersport Championship.
Kumar Will Inspire Others to Follow their Dreams
The fact that younger generations have been able to witness Kumar’s career easily thanks to the rise of streaming and the internet in the country means that more people will be inspired to get into the sport. Still, it could take a few years for India to start developing a big enough talent pool to take teams to major competitions around the world. It may also take some investment as well, with the sport renowned for being expensive to get into.
India is already a powerhouse in cricket, but it is behind the rest of the world in other sports. Stars like Kumar are essential for progression, as they help sports to gain recognition in the mainstream. This has been seen with the recent representation of MotoGP in the entertainment industry.