Sports in India is a keenly watched and followed sector. With more than forty sports disciplines in India, this sector displays a wide range of talent and skills. The history of Indian sports goes back to Vedic times. Archery, sword fighting (now called fencing), horsemanship, wrestling, weight-lifting, swimming and hunting were the main sports existing in ancient times. After Independence, the Government further developed the sports sector, by improving the sports facilities provided to sports persons.
Sports in India has always been closely followed by citizens, especially after India won international recognition for its outstanding performances in hockey and cricket. The India Olympic Association (IOA) was formed in 1927 by Sir Dorabji Tata, who also became its first president. India got its first international recognition with athletics, when Sir Dorabji Tata sent 4 athletes and 2 wrestlers to the 1920 Olympic Games, without the formation of any Olympic body. It was in 1982 that a Department of Sports was formed to act as the highest governing body of sports. This name was changed to Department of Youth Affairs and Sports in 1985, which in turn was designated as the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) in 2000.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) was formed in 1984 with a view towards promoting sports at the national and international level. SAI aims at providing coaching facilities and nurturing talent at affiliated stadiums, to garner outstanding performances. Dhyan Chand, Charanjit Singh, Geet Sethi, Jimmy George, Kapil Dev, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Dhanraj Pillai, Bishen Singh Bedi, Diana Edulji, Kamlesh Mehta, Maharaja Karni Singh, Udham Singh and Milkha Singh are some of the eminent sports persons in India.
For performing marvelously, MYAS awards certain excellence awards to sports persons. This includes the Arjuna Award, the Dronacharya Award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the Special Awards to Medal Winners in International Sports Events, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy and the Dhyanchand Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Indian has achieved success in almost every sport. India has won the cricket world cup twice. It has also won numerous medals at the Olympics, with outstanding performances by Mary Kom, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Yogeshwar Dutt, Saina Nehwal, and so on.