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In India, several traditional indigenous sports remain fairly popular, among them kabaddi, kho kho, pehlwani, and gilli-danda. Some of the earliest forms of Asian martial arts, such as kalarippayattu, musti yuddha, silambam, and marma adi, originated in India. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award are the highest forms of government recognition for athletic achievement; the Dronacharya Award is awarded for excellence in coaching. Chess, commonly held to have originated in India as chaturaṅga, is regaining widespread popularity with the rise in the number of Indian Grandmasters. Pachisi, from which parcheesi derives, was played on a giant marble court by Akbar. Tennis has become increasingly popular; this stems from the victorious India Davis Cup team and the recent successes of Indian tennis players. India has a comparatively strong presence in shooting sports, and has won several medals at the Olympics, the World Shooting Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. Other sports in which Indians have succeeded internationally include badminton, boxing, and wrestling. Football is popular in West Bengal, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and the north-eastern states.

India's official national sport is field hockey; it is administered by Hockey India. The Indian national hockey team won the 1975 Hockey World Cup and have, as of 2012, taken eight gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, making it the sport's most successful team. Cricket is by far the most popular sport; the Indian national cricket team won the 1983 and 2011 Cricket World Cup events, the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, and shared the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy with Sri Lanka. Cricket in India is administered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI; the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy, the Deodhar Trophy, the Irani Trophy, and the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy are domestic competitions. The BCCI conducts a Twenty20 competition known as the Indian Premier League. India has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1951 and 1982 Asian Games; the 1987, 1996, and 2011 Cricket World Cup tournaments; the 2003 Afro-Asian Games; the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy; the 2010 Hockey World Cup; and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Major international sporting events held annually in India include the Chennai Open, Mumbai Marathon, Delhi Half Marathon, and the Indian Masters. The first Indian Grand Prix featured in late 2011.

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