Sports in Maharashtra
Sports is an important part of the culture of Maharashtra. Kabaddi, Hockey, Kho kho, Badminton, Cricket and Table tennis are the popular sports of Maharashtra. The Sporting activities in Maharashtra are governed by the Commissionerate of Sports and Youth Servies, Pune. The wrestling championship like Hind Kesari, Maharashtra Kesari are very popular in the rural regions of Maharashtra. The cricket craze can be seen throughout Maharashtra, as it is the most widely followed and played sport. The Maharashtra has produced many Iconic cricketers to India like Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar. Children games include Gilli-danda and Pakada-pakadi (tag) are also played in Maharashtra.Horse riding, Wrestling, Fencing, Archery and Shooting were popular among the rulers of Maharashtra. Maharashtra has various domestic level Franchise based leagues for Hockey, Chess, Tennis and Badminton.
Field Hockey is one of the more popular sports in the state.Many Maharashtrian hockey players have also contributed to India's rich hockey legacy. Tushar Khandekar is referred to as 'the Goal Poacher'. Hiranna M. Nimal was the silver medalist at Asian Games, 1962 and also represented many other National and International Leagues. Some notable hockey stars from Maharashtra include Dhanraj Pillay, Viren Rasquinha. Maharashtra have three hockey clubs playing for different leagues and one defunct club,the Maratha Warriors hockey team from Maharashtra that competed in the now defunct Premier Hockey League. Mumbai Magicians (MM) team based in Mumbai that plays in the Hockey India League. Mumbai Marines (MM) initially known as Mumbai Warriors a team based in Mumbai and Pune Strykers (PS) is a team based in Pune, that plays in the World Series Hockey. PCMC Hockey Stadium a field hockey stadium in Pune which serves as the home ground for Pune Strykers, for World Series Hockey. Mahindra Hockey Stadium at Mumbai is the home of the Mumbai Marines of the World Series Hockey and Mumbai Magicians of the Hockey India League. It was also the home venue of the Maratha Warriors in the Premier Hockey League. The stadium was formerly known as the Bombay Hockey Association Stadium and hosted the 1982 Men's Hockey World Cup. Domestic tournaments such as All India Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament and All India Aagha Khan Hockey Tournament is popular in Maharashtra . Approximately 30 tournaments from Junior to Senior level are held across Pune in a calendar year.
Cricket is played on domestic levels, and enjoys consistent support from people in most parts of Maharashtra. Maharashtra has produced many notable cricketers for India that includes Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Vinod Kambli, Ajit Agarkar and Ravi Shastri. Maharashtra has three domestic cricket teams that includes Ranji Trophy superpower Mumbai cricket team, Maharashtra cricket team and Vidarbha cricket team. The first Ranji Trophy Championship was won by Bombay after they defeated North India in the final of 1934–35. Mumbai cricket team totally dominated Indian cricket in the 1960s. As part of 15 consecutive victories in the Ranji Trophy from 1958-59 to 1972-73, Mumbai won the title in all ten seasons of the period under review. Among its players were Farokh Engineer, Dilip Sardesai, Bapu Nadkarni, Ramakant Desai, Baloo Gupte, Ashok Mankad and Ajit Wadekar. Mumbai is the most successful team in the history of Ranji Trophy, India's premier domestic cricket competition, with 40 titles. It also has 16 Irani Trophy titles to its name, also the most by any team. Mumbai has produced some of the greatest Indian cricketers of all time such as Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Vinoo Mankad, Polly Umrigar and Dilip Vengsarkar.The Mumbai cricket team is overseen by the Mumbai Cricket Association, which has established its home ground the Wankhede Stadium, an international cricket ground. The Maharashtra cricket team is overseen by the Maharashtra Cricket Association based on Nehru Stadium, Pune. Mumbai Indians and defunc Pune Warriors India are the two franchises participated in IPL from Maharashtra.Mumbai Indians is one of the eight founding members of the IPL in 2008.The primary home ground of the Mumbai Indians is the Wankhede Stadium.The Mumbai Indians were the most watched team on television in the first season of the IPL, totaling to 239 million viewers. Blades of Glory, India’s first cricket museum, is based out of Pune run by Rohan Pate, a former Maharashtra Under-19 cricketer, inaugurated during IPL V by Sachin Tendulkar and located in the quaint Sahakar Nagar. Wankhede Stadium is the home ground of Mumbai Indians team in Indian Premier League. The stadium has seven different stands - Sunil Gavaskar Stand, North Stand, Vijay Merchant Stand, Sachin Tendulkar Stand, MCA Pavilion, Divecha Pavilion, and Garware Pavilion in 2016.
Football is another popular sport in the city, with the FIFA World Cup and the English Premier League being followed widely. Maharashtra Football Pyramid consists of the district leagues in , followed by leagues within the leagues. This pyramid operates during the whole calendar year, but at different times.In the I-League the Mumbai city was represented by three teams, Mumbai FC, Mahindra United and Air-India. and from pune Pune F.C., is a recently founded football club that plays in the I-League. It was established on August 2007. Local rivalry with another Mumbai-based clubs Air India FC and Mumbai FC and state rivalry with Pune F.C. are called the Maha derby as clubs play in the state of Maharashtra. Seven-a-side version of football is hugely popular Maharashtra. Motilal Mathurawala Trophy 8th Seven-a-side Junior National Football Championship was held in Pune. The Western India Football Association (WIFA) has signed a deal with Sporting Ace Pvt Ltd (SAPL), a sports management company, to infuse Rs 100 crores into the Maharashtra football. Maharashtra football team represents Maharashtra in the Santosh Trophy. Maharashtra football team where four times champions and 11 times runners up in Santosh Trophy.Maharashtra football team last won Santosh trophy in 1999-2000 season. Mumbai District Football Association (MDFA) is the organisation responsible for Association football in and around city of Mumbai. The MDFA organises some 7 leagues, containing approximately 300 plus club sides, in addition to being responsible for six of India's I-League sides.
Maharashtra has two clubs franchises playing in Elite Football League of India. Mumbai Gladiators is a team based in Mumbai and Pune Marathas team based in Pune with Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex as their home stadium. Maharashtra hosted the First Youth National American Football Championship in 2007. Mumbai Gladiators and Pune Marathas played their first match against each other. Manipur defeated hosts Maharashtra 3-0 in finals of the First Youth National American Football Championship played at Mathurawala Ground.
Derby (horse race)
The horse racing season in Maharashtra starts in mid-November and ends in the last week of April.Every February, Mumbai holds derby races at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse. Since the year 1986 McDowell's Indian Derby has been sponsored by liquor baron Vijay Mallya's UB Group under the name of flagship company McDowells Co. Ltd. as The McDowell's Indian Derby. It was first run in the year 1943. The Mahalaxmi Racecourse horse racing track is one of the two Racecourse in Maharashtra located Mahalaxmi. The track is oval shaped with 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) straight chute, spread over approximately 225 acres (0.91 km2; 0.352 sq mi). The Mahalaxmi Racecourse was built in 1883 and modelled on the Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne. Pune Race Course is the second Racecourse in Maharashtra located in Pune Cantonment. Pune Race Course was built in 1830, it covers 118.5 acres (48.0 ha).
In March 2004, the Mumbai Grand Prix was part of the F1 powerboat world championship and the Force India F1 team car was unveiled in the city of Mumbai, in 2008. The city is planning to build its own F1 track and various sites in the city were being chalked out, of which the authorities have planned to zero down on Marve-Malad or Panvel-Kalyan land. If approved, the track will be clubbed with a theme park and will spread over 400 to 500 acres (202 ha).
In 2004, the annual Mumbai Marathon was established as a part of "The Greatest Race on Earth". The Mumbai Marathon is an annual international marathon held in Mumbai on the third Sunday of January every year. The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon is India's biggest charity platform.
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Maharashtra has a Franchise-based tennis league called Maharashtra Tennis League. Maharashtra Tennis League is India's first league format in tennis. Franchise based Maharashtra Tennis League kicked off with 80 players. Inaugural edition of MTL featured five teams Mumbai Blasters, Sharp Smashers, Baseline Bombers, Accurate Aces and Dazzling Deuces. Each team in MTL consists of six players each and there is a compulsion on each team owner to have at least two girls in the team and at least one player from Maharashtra. Gaurav Natekar is a former Davis Cup player and seven-time Indian National Tennis Champion. He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1996 for Tennis. Mumbai has played host to the Kingfisher Airlines Tennis Open, an International Series tournament of the ATP World Tour, in 2006 and 2007. The 2006 and 2007 Kingfisher Airlines Tennis Open tennis tournaments were played on outdoor hard courts. The 2006 and 2007 tournaments took place at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.
Wrestling is a very popular sport of Maharashtra Even in the era of cricket, it has maintained its popularity, especially in the rural regions of Maharashtra. Kolhapur district is well known for wrestling. Khashaba Jadhav was a famous wrestler from Maharashtra. He was the first Indian of independent India to win Olympic medal in an individual sport. He won a bronze medal in the 1952 Helisinki Olympics. In Maharashtra, wrestling takes place in a clay or dirt pit. The soil is mixed with ghee and other things and is tended to before each practice. Traditional wrestling is also called Kushti isn't just a sport - it's an ancient subculture where wrestlers live and train together and follow strict rules on everything from what they can eat to what they can do in their spare time. Drinking, Smoking and even Sex are off limits. The focus is on living a pure life, building strength and honing their wrestling skills.Wrestlers belong to gyms called akharas, where wrestlers live under strict rules. Wrestlers' diets consist of milk, almonds, ghee, eggs and chapattis and each wrestler has a job to do in preparing meals. Kushti is located at the intersection of sports, politics and culture and is deeply embedded in the agrarian economy. Hind Kesari is a style wrestling championship, established in 1958 is popular in Maharashtra.It is affiliated to All India Amateur Wrestling Federation (AIAWF). Wrestling schools in rural western Maharashtra are called taleems.At the taleems, Maharashtra’s wrestling gurus lay emphasis on an ethical and moral instruction that blends the spiritual and the secular. There are tournaments in rural western Maharashtra which feature top wrestlers from Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and even some African nations.
Maharashtra has a five-decade long chess culture. The first chess Association in Maharashtra was formed in 1921 known as South Maharashtra Chess Club. The Sangali Chess Society was established in 1930. The Southern Maratha Country Chess Association came into existence in the year 1955. The growth of the game in Bombay Province, the first Chess body in Mumbai, known as Bombay Chess Association was established in 1944.The open Chess tournaments started in city since 1945. Then in 1950, All India Chess federation was started in Mumbai. And it held a tournament at National Level for five years after words in Mumbai. The first Inter State Championship was held in 1960. In 1963, the Bombay Chess Association and Southern Maratha Country Chess Association took a decision to merge. The unified state Association was known as Maharashtra Chess Association.The All Marathi Chess Association (AMCA) is the apex body for the game of chess in Maharashtra and is affiliated with the All India Chess Federation. Maharashtra has produced many notable chess players like Abhijit Kunte, Praveen Thipsay, Rohini Khadilkar and Anupama Gokhale.The Maharashtra Chess League, the first ever IPL style chess league in India, at the PYC Hindu Gymkhana club in Pune on April 24, 2013. The tournament played on a league-cum-knock-out basis. Each team gets to play other five teams once, with the top four teams at the end of the league stage making it to the semis. South Mumbai Chess Academy a.k.a. SMCA is the oldest commercial chess academy in Maharashtra started in 1996 also having its presence in other states of the country. 
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