SPORTS & WELLNESS
 

NET WORTH
Shuttlers aim for gold in the upcoming Commonwealth Games,
writes M. S. Unnikrishnan
Saina Nehwal holds out the promise of winning a gold medal, on the sheer strength of her fifth-placed ranking and recent performances, in the badminton event of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held at the state-of-the-art venue at Siri Fort DDA Sports Complex in New Delhi.

Skintillating
More than 100 ayurvedic masseurs roped in for sports massage during the CWG
Shweta Srinivasan
I
NDIA may not have enough masseurs and physiotherapists with specialised sports- oriented training, but filling the gap at the Commonwealth Games will be ayurvedic masseurs and therapists from Kerala and West Bengal.

FIT ZONE
MIND matters
Bharat Thakur
Y
OGA can make you a very happy and healthy human being. People who have been practising yoga for quite some time would surely know all about the advantages of yoga and, maybe, that is the reason they have stuck to it.

 





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NET WORTH
Shuttlers aim for gold in the upcoming Commonwealth Games, writes M. S. Unnikrishnan

Saina Nehwal

Jwala Gutta and V. Diju
GAME PLAN: India have pinned their hope particularly on (L) Saina Nehwal and the mixed doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and V. Diju Photos: PTI

Saina Nehwal holds out the promise of winning a gold medal, on the sheer strength of her fifth-placed ranking and recent performances, in the badminton event of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held at the state-of-the-art venue at Siri Fort DDA Sports Complex in New Delhi.

India have so far won only two gold medals in the Commonwealth Games badminton championship, both in menís singles, by Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi. India have been looking for a gold in the shuttle game since Modi lifted the title at Brisbane (Australia) in 1982. The closest they came to annexing a gold was in 1998 when Aparna Popat and the menís team, spearheaded by Pullela Gopichand, entered the challenge round at the Kuala Lumpur games (Malaysia). But in the end, Aparna fell short of the title, and had to be content with the silver medal. The men, too, failed to measure up to the task, and were relegated to the silver spot.

Prakash Padukone was in his peak form when he struck a Commonwealth Games gold for the country for the first time at Edmonton (Canada) in 1978. Four years later, Modi, too, reaped a singles gold, but India have not repeated the feat since then. But this time around, there is much hope, pinned particularly on Saina and the mixed doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and V. Diju. National coach Gopi Chand is, however, guarded in his optimism as he felt that India ó Saina to be precise ó would face a tough challenge from Malaysia, who have been making great strides.

"We do have a chance for a gold. I do expect a gold as we have been playing well, but the Malaysians have been making great strides," notes Gopi Chand.

Former Asian champion and Indiaís first Commonwealth Games medallist Dinesh Khanna (menís singles bronze, Kingston, Jamaica, 1966), too, feels that Saina and the mixed doubles players stand a chance of winning gold medal. In the 2006 games at Melbourne (Australia), Chetan Anand bagged a singles bronze and also a bronze in the team event in the combined format. The Indian shuttlers have been performing exceedingly well of late, and as the 2010 games are to be hosted by the country, and the badminton powerhouses like China, Korea, The Philippines etc would not be there, more medals are expected.

India have been rather consistent in winning medals in badminton since Dinesh Khanna plucked a bronze at the inaugural games at Kingston (Jamaica) in 1966. Prakash Padukone (gold), Ami Ghia and Kanwal Thakur Singh (bronze, womenís doubles) at Edmonton (Canada) in 1978, Syed Modi (gold) in 1982, Deepti Thanekar (bronze) at Auckland (New Zealand) in 1990, Aparna Popat (silver) and Gopi Chand (bronze and silver and team bronze) at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Aparna Popat (bronze), Manchester (England) 2002 and Chetan Anand (bronze) and team bronze at Melbourne (Australia) 2006 were the other Commonwealth Games medal winners. In all, India have won 11 medals ó two gold, two silver and seven bronze medals

--- to be fourth on the medals table, behind England, Malaysia and Canada.

Now, the Indian team has many good players who are capable of figuring in the medal bracket. One notable feature of the badminton teamís preparation for the CWG is that the players have been allowed to play in various tournaments across the world, and they are free to train in their respective centres with their own coaches. Till now, the players have not been specifically preparing for the Games as they had other major commitments to adhere to, like the Asian Championships, the Thomas and Uber Cup competitions etc. Plans of getting the entire contingent to train together at one place will materialise only a couple of months before the Commonwealth Games.

Gopi Chand says he is not unduly worried about the specific preparations of the players for the games, as they have been doing well on the international circuit. Assisted by Gopi, Hadi Idris of Indonesia in the doubles, and four other Indian coaches, the shuttlers have been fine-tuning their game with commitment and focus, and with the Badminton Association of India and the Government providing every possible assistance the players need for their preparations, the shuttlers have not been complaining.
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Skintillating
More than 100 ayurvedic masseurs roped in for sports massage during the CWG
Shweta Srinivasan

INDIA may not have enough masseurs and physiotherapists with specialised sports- oriented training, but filling the gap at the Commonwealth Games will be ayurvedic masseurs and therapists from Kerala and West Bengal.

Thousands of athletes and players are expected to take part in the October 3-14 event ó the 19th edition of these Games ó during which sports masseurs and therapists will be needed.

In India, however, sports masseurs are very rare to come by and, in fact, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has around 10 of them working under it at any given time. So, to meet the deficit, the organisers have looked outside the state and have chosen those involved in ayurveda which, experts, say could be an added advantage.

"Around 150 ayurvedic masseurs from the Indian system of medicine have been identified to be trained in sports massages. The Delhi Government shortlisted the names from Kerala's Directorate of Health Services and we have recently given the names to the Games Organising Committee," J.P. Singh, the Delhi Government's health secretary, said.

In addition, the Delhi Government has identified 100 more people from Kerala and West Bengal for physiotherapy requirements.

However, these ayurvedic masseurs will undergo rigorous training conducted by foreign experts before the sporting event.

"Since a sports massage is a very different concept from the Indian system of medicine-based massage, the selected candidates will undergo training from foreign experts. After the Games, they can be inducted for the domestic demand also," Lalit Bhanot, the organising committee's spokesman, said.

The foreign experts will teach the candidates massages like 'Petrisage' (massage based on pressure application for relaxing), 'Efflurage' (for warming up muscles before a sporting event) and many more, he said.

"Typically, this type of specialised training is made available in countries like the UK and Australia. The training will be an 11-day module. This is likely to held in Kerala and the experts from abroad will be flown down there. After that, the masseurs will be tested through a written exam ahead of the Games," the official added.

Explaining the importance of masseurs in any sports event, Alakananda Banerjee, head of the physiotherapy department at Max Hospital in Saket, said: "They are a very important aspect of the training for sportspersons and are required in all sports, like hockey and football. Masseurs are required before, during and after any sporting event.

"When sportspersons play, their muscles get tightened, which can lower their performance. The sports massage helps in blood circulation, ultimately helping the sportspersons."

According to sports medicine expert P.S.M. Chandran, the concept of sports massages is still unknown in India.

"Sports massage is an unknown entity in this country. As of now, under the Sports Authority of India (SAI), we have just 10 of them and they, too, have a knowledge of the ayurveda system. Even without the Games, there was a demand for them but no supply," said Chandran, who is also director of sports medicine at the SAI.

"If you know some massaging technique, it is better since you can be easily trained. Ayurvedic massages are used for certain diseases and have different training. The masseurs already know how the hands are used and have knowledge of the human anatomy," he added. ó IANS
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FIT ZONE
MIND matters
Bharat Thakur

Bharat ThakurYOGA can make you a very happy and healthy human being. People who have been practising yoga for quite some time would surely know all about the advantages of yoga and, maybe, that is the reason they have stuck to it.

People are aware that yoga can provide a lot of positive benefits to a person's physical well-being.Yoga can help in relieving physical pain. It actually helps in decreasing the stress hormone, cortisol. With minimal levels of cortisol in the blood, a person is in a relaxed state.

It's true that yoga really has a lot of physical benefits; however, yoga can also help a person psychologically. Yoga can help a person to change his mood and also help in alleviating depression. Not only does yoga relieve physical stress, it also alleviates emotional stress that causes depression.

Yoga for the mind

Improved Concentration: All the balancing postures bring a lot of concentration into oneís life. The nervous system has to function at an optimal level just to hold these postures.

Increase in feeling of well-being: This is the result of a stronger mind-body connection and calmness, due to improved concentration, the reduction of hormones associated with stress and some introspection.

Depression reduction: This is the result of several biochemical reactions, including increased oxygen levels in the brain, as well as the release of the associated "negative" energy.

Hostility decreases: This is the result of the increased level of relaxation and control you learn through meditation.

For the body

Increased range of motion: The series of yoga poses gradually stretches your muscles, ligaments, and tendons over time.

Cleanse: This stretching also massages your organs, and ensures optimal blood flow. This helps to release toxins.

Muscle tone: Often positions are held for a while causing the aforementioned stretching, but at the same time muscles are worked and strengthened as well.

Reduced blood pressure: This stretching and massaging provided by yoga also serves to lower your blood pressure, by increasing blood oxygenation and improving circulation.

Cardiovascular efficiency increases: The combination of lower blood pressure and increased oxygen levels increases your level of endurance.

Real benefits

Decreased risk of injury: Due to your new-found improved range of motion, strength and blood flow, your body will be better protected from future injuries and will be able to heal quicker.

Improved coordination: Due to your improved mind-body connection and range of motion you will become more graceful.

Reaction time: This is a result of improved circulation and the better mind-body connection.

Endurance: Improved blood flow and oxygenation lead to better cardiovascular health and improved endurance. This is one of the many reasons endurance athletes like runners include yoga in their training.

Hastauttanasana
Inhaling deeply, raise both arms above your head and tilt slightly backward, arching your back.

Padahasthanasana
With deep exhalation, bend forward and touch the mat, both palms in line with your feet, forehead touching your knees.

Ashwasanachalanasana
Inhaling deeply, take your right leg away from your body, in a big backward step. Both your hands should be firmly planted on your mat, your left foot between your hands, head tilted towards the ceiling.

Santolanasana
Hold your breath and take your right leg back to join your left leg. Now straighten both your hands, legs and back. Your neck spine, thighs and feet should be in a straight line.

Ashtanganamaskara
Inhaling deeply, lower your body down till your forehead, chest, knees, hands and feet are touching the mat, your butt tilted up. Take a normal breath in this pose.

Bhujangasana
With deep inhalation, slowly snake forward till your head is up, your back arched concave, as much as possible.

Parvatasana
Exhaling deeply, again push your butt and hips up towards the ceiling, arms aligned straight with your head.

Namaskarasana
Return to stand facing the sun, both feet touching, palms joined together, in a prayer pose.

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