|SPORTS TRIBUNE||Saturday, April 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
needed in awards
sports and health
needed in awards
At a special ceremony in Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi recently the Sports Ministry handed out cash awards worth Rs 1.99 crores to some 211 sportspersons and coaches for outstanding performances on the international scene last year. The recipients included members of the gold medal winning Junior Hockey World Cup team.
Congratulations are in order to both the government which has been so generous with the cash and also to those who earned their money by bringing honour to a country which is desperately short on heroes and heroines.
At the end of it all one was left wondering at the lack of uniformity while weighing the performance and the cash distributed. A government which is generous should not be faulted particularly when it concerns cash incentives to sportspersons. But generosity too must be duly tempered and even handed. There were far too many examples of unequal handouts during the ceremony. Obviously not much thought and planning had gone into determining the cash to be handed over to the sportspersons. Obviously too not many of the people who decided the amount to be distributed were fully conversant with degree of importance of the various disciplines.
One is happy that Mangte Ch Merykom, the young class X student from Manipur was given as much as Rs 9,00,000 for her silver medal winning performance in the first World Women’s Boxing Championships held in Scanton (USA) last year. It was a lot of money for a fledgeling sport which is still to pick up even in India. Women’s boxing is a comparatively new discipline all over world even if it has gained in importance through the achievements of the daughter of the famous Mohammad Ali ( Cassius Clay). But that has been in the professional circuit and an event which is still to be accepted as a major sporting event even by the American public.
By giving such a vast amount to the young silver medallist the government has invested the sport with a degree of importance. Because of the returns from the government the sport may encourage more and more even to don gloves. All for the good. But while giving such a status to women’s boxing, the government has tended to downplay performances in more accepted disciplines. Yasin Merchant, the snooker wizard rightly lamented on the mere Rs 50,000 he received for winning the Asian snooker championship in Pakistan last year. From the time Wilson Jones won the World Billiards title and Michael Ferreira followed his example India has been virtually flooded with champion material in both billiards and snooker. In fact it has become a national game of sorts.
Yet at this function it mattered less than a sport like women’s boxing. What was more intriguing was the inconsistency in the cast amount. Merchant was given Rs. 1,00,000 for winning the same tournament in 1989 and Rs 75,000 for being runner up in 1991. Either the tournament in Pakistan has been devalued by the government or the game itself has become less important. Or maybe Yasin Merchant himself has been devalued. And what about Geet Sethi. He won the IBSF World Billiard Championship in New Zealand but he took home only Rs 2,00,000.
After taking over as Sports Minister Uma Bharti had announced enhancement in cash incentives at various levels. Obviously she meant well and wanted to encourage sportspersons at every level but somewhere down the line she had been wrongly advised.
Giving cash incentives is all very good
but there has to be a yardstick, a proper assessment of standards of the
various games at various levels before striking a balance. Women’s
boxing and billiards and snooker should not be weighed on the same
scale. There is no comparison. The same goes for coaches too. While on
the subject of importance given to fledgeling sport one remembers the
time when a woman won the world arm-wrestling championship on more than
one occasions. By the present yardstick she should have been rewarded
with a minimum amount of Rs 20 lakhs.
sports and health
Yoga has been practised in India from ancient times. The Vedas, Upanishads and other religious texts provide evidences of its wide practice in ancient India.
The modern age has imposed upon mankind new banes viz anxiety, stress, pollution and neurotic disorders. The ancient practices in fact can provide solutions for the present-day sociological, psychological and medical problems. Ayurveda, yoga, martial arts, acupuncture and acupressure are a few of the ancient Oriental practices. Yoga and martial arts aim at the awakening of kundilini or chi energy or life force in different healing traditions which circulates through the body in channels called meridians. At certain points called chakras, energy becomes concentrated.
This energy affects the human being both psychologically and physiologically. A disease is thought to be a condition resulting from the blockage of this energy, which alters the molecules and cells of a particular organ. It is a surprising coincidence that at the points of these eight hypothetical chakras, nervous plexuses have been found. Although this view of energy may or may not be equivalent to physical energy, yet the effect have been made by scientific community to detect and measure this energy.
The frequency of a number of hereditary and other ailments such as tuberculosis, asthma, gout, high blood pressure, heart diseases, cancer, rheumatism, arthritis, diabetes, piles and psychosomatic disorders like stomach ulcer, irregular bowls syndrome, migraine, chronic headache is increasing day by day. Allopathy can only provide temporary relief but cannot eradicate them. Yoga can be very helpful.
Yoga is helpful not only for the cure of diseases but is also helpful in making and keeping already fit and healthy individuals more fit and healthy. In sporting events viz martial arts, gymnasts, wrestling and others, the successful performance depends upon the perfection with which different phases of the event are performed, because performance in one phase is dependent upon other phases. Breathing exercise (pranayama) and meditation lead to better concentration and improved performance.
On the other hand for successful participation in the games viz football, hockey, kho-kho, kabaddi and basketball require different combinations of fitness (physical and motor) and skill execution. Yoga training for thirty minutes improves fitness and skill execution. The training causes enhancement in the endorphin level of the brain, required for neurological functions, leading to an increase in endurance and general vigour of an individual, thereby causing improvement in skill execution. Practice of asanas improves physical and motor fitness. Asanas involve exercising of various muscle groups at different joints and numerous combinations and also provide message to vital organs of the body which effects their functioning in positive manner. The slow stretching and holding methods in yogic postures increase the flexibility, a necessary quality to maintain performance and avoid injuries. Yoga training may help elite athletes to avoid over-training syndrome which is a main factor contributing to the dropout rates in various sports, from novice to elite athletes.
Yoga does not promise results the easy, short-cut way. It does not either promise quick fixes for all problems but it leads to positive results if followed in a systematic manner. Yoga like other sports demands tremendous integrity, self-discipline and awareness to take us beyond existing level of physical, motor, skill and other types of qualities related to a particular sport.
Techniques like progressive relaxation (muscle relaxation), breath control, relaxation response, autogenic training, systematic desensitisation, biofeed back are being used for the psychological advancement in sports at various levels. All of these techniques have more or less same yogic elements. Yoga can help to improve competitive performance. Archery, rifle, shooting, pistol, shooting, squash, and golf require optimal levels of concentration. And with stress and anxiety. Meditation can help in improving concentration, which leads to better performance. Solvery et al reported that ACEM meditation, almost like transidental meditation once a week for seven weeks improved competitive shooting performance of elite athletes.
India, once recognised as world
champion, stand no where in world hockey in these days. The Indian
hockey team during preparation for participation in the 1975 World Cup
was imparted three weeks yoga training. India won the 1975 World Cup.
Vijay Singh is an Indian golfing icon, settled abroad. Sponsored by Gautam Thapar, a golf-lover and managing director of Ballarpur Industries Limited, he has consented to a stop-over at Delhi for two days (April 19 and 20) more because of friends than because of any financial consideration.
An amateur in Fiji, Vijay has risen to be one of the world’s top players. Winner of several titles, including the 2000 Augusta National Masters crown, he will be seen in action in the BILT Skins Golf Contest along with Arjun Atwal, Harmeet Kahlon and Kapil Dev, whom he admires. Had Jyoti Randhawa not dislocated his shoulder in a motor-bike accident, he would have also figured in the contest.
Vijay loves winning. He has gone on record as saying that no matter how down he is, he still wages a grim battle to stage a comeback in the game which is even more unpredictable than cricket.
The Skins format, is a unique pattern to provide thrill to spectators. His style of play, friendliness and participation in junior clinic on April 19 should go a long way in providing further boost to the game, which has already caught the imagination of golfing masses.
What is cause for happiness is the spontaneous involvement of the Thapar group. It was Surrender Lall ‘Bandy’, also of BILT, who drafted the constitution of the Professional Golfers Association of India (PGAI). Now Gautam Thapar’s entry will further enrich the sponsorship field, which should provide more fruitful avenues to pros. Maybe, there should be Skins competition between teams of caddy-pros and amateur-pros.
Vijay’s rise to stardom is meteoric. He has risen from humble background to elite status of world famous pros. He now lives in Ponte Vedra Beach (Florida) with his wife Ardena and 10-year-old son, Qass. Vijay feels that there are many potential stars in this country. He is optimistic that they will descend on the international circuit with greater impact than has been the case at present.
The national media, involved in covering the Royal Challenge Indian Open at Delhi after six-years of forced isolation, was taken for a ride. The journalists, print and electronic, were given to understand that the leading light, Brayad Marksang (Thailand) was in the fray for the title until the last minute. Runner-up in the Hero Honda Masters, almost all national dailies showed in their ‘preview reports that he was one of the hot favourites. There were many absentees and one more withdrawal of the player would not have lowered the importance or impact of the Royal Challenge Indian Open. The fact is he did not arrive here.
It was great that Vijay Kumar became the new champion. He was a ‘Don’ among Indian tigers. Living in a tiny village, Martinpurwa, around the Lucknow Golf Course, he showed that he was ready to play abroad even without befitting sponsorship. When a pro wins a major title, he earns two years exemption for participation in some competitions abroad. Similarly, when any Indian pro wins the Indian Open or Hero Honda master, he should get sponsor for at least one year if not two years.
If Vijay Kumar’s victory did all
India, a particularly the caddy clan, proud, Digvijay Singh finishing
third was a very happy augury. The youngster played superbly throughout
and his brother-in-law Jyoti Randhawa, with his arm in sling, saw him
rise to the occasion.
Yuvraj’s omission surprising
The omission of Yuvraj Singh from the squad is surprising. He is a natural stroke player who has a penchant to score runs under most trying conditions. In the last two one-dayers against Zimbabwe, he played memorable knocks. His knock of 81 against the mighty Australians brought him into the limelight.
Ranjit Sagar Dam
Yuvraj Singh is among the best players today. He is quite confident and mature. He has a lot of talent. He should have been in the Indian team.
It was extremely shocking to learn about the sad demise of England’s Test and one-day cricket star Ben Hollioake in a car accident. Hollioake was only 24 years old. He was a dashing batsman. He would have served the England team for many years. Really, England suffered a big blow.
SUBHASH C. TANEJA
Kudos to Dinesh Mongia for his great effort. He played like a genius. He should do better in the coming tournaments.
Finally Steve Waugh has admitted that Ashes 2002-03 will be his last assignment as cricketer. Just one year ago in Kolkata, and in England, he was the most respected batsman. But just one bad season with the bat proved costly and he was written off.
It is pity that in Haryana there is no weightage for sports for admission ‘to engineering colleges of the state. Children waste their precious time to win laurels for Haryana, but there is no reservation or weightage for sportspersons, while the same exists in adjoining states like Punjab and Chandigarh.