Every state in India is known for its specific sport. The sports are very important part of culture of any region. Kabaddi, hockey, kho-kho, badminton, cricket and table tennis are the popular sports of Maharashtra.
However, several other sports are also played in Maharashtra.
During the ancient times, horse riding, wrestling, fencing, archery and shooting were popular among the rulers of Maharashtra. Now-a-days, cricket, hockey and football are commonly played in Maharashtra. The cricket has attracted great popularity throughout the country, and Maharashtra is not an exception to that. In fact, cricket is a religion of sorts in Maharashtra, and during important one-day internationals or test matches where India takes part, the excitement reaches a crescendo of sorts.
Maharashtra has produced a number of eminent cricketers of international and national statures like Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Ajit Agarkar, Eknath Solkar, Chanu Borde and Ravi Shastri. They have left their lasting impressions in the Indian cricket scenario. Sachin Tendulkar is known as the 'Master-blaster'. There are international cricket stadiums in Maharashtra such as Wankhede Stadium at Mumbai, Nehru Stadium at Pune and V.C.A. Stadium at Nagpur.
Hockey is the national game of India. It is played throughout the country. Many Maharashtrian hockey players have also contributed to India's rich hockey legacy. There are many hockey clubs in Maharashtra. From here the talented players are scouted for the national level hockey team. Many Maharashtrian players have been selected in the national hockey team of India and they have proved their talent there. Tushar Khandekar is referred to as 'the Goal Poacher'.
Kabaddi is also one of the favourite sports of Maharashtra. Many players from Maharashtra have played in the national Kabaddi team. Table tennis is an indoor sport, commonly played in Maharashtra. There are many table tennis clubs in Maharashtra and many tournaments are held in the different regions of Maharashtra. Kho-kho is also very popular among the girls of Maharashtra.
Chess is another of the important sports of Maharashtra. The state has many great chess players. Pravin Thipsay is the chess Grandmaster. Other eminent chess players of the state who have made their marks in the national arena are Bhagyashree Thipsay, Rohini Khadilkar, Abhijit Kunte and Narayan Rao Joshi. Maharashtra is not behind in tennis. Gaurav Natekar is the famous former Davis Cup player. A former badminton champion, Nandu Natekar is the first Indian to win a badminton title abroad. He won the Men's Singles title in the Selangor International Tournament, held in Kuala Lumpur in 1956. Nikhil Kanetkar and Aparna Popat are other great badminton players hailing from this state.
Wresting 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.
As Maharashtra is the region of mountains and hills, adventure sports like trekking and mountaineering are very popular in Maharashtra. There are many trekking groups that arrange many thrilling treks every year. Surendra Chavan is the first Maharashtrian to climb the Mount Everest.
The games like Viti-Dandu and Pakada-pakadi/tag are popular among the children of Maharashtra.