|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
Forgetting some discouraging irritants like strict security and the frustrating running around for tickets, this month’s most widely televised Hero Honda world cup has succeeded in bringing home to a people so sentimentally attached to the game facts like hockey being no longer what they were conditioned to believe in and that there are so many good teams around that even qualifying for international tournaments cannot be taken for granted, as India found to its cost recently.
Every one of the 12 teams playing a World Cup has to be really good. The Indian team that was part of it at Delhi’s Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, gleaming under the lamps after the recent makeover, must have disappointed many of its supporters by not qualifying for the semi-finals from their six-team group (Australia, England, Spain, Pakistan, India, South Africa). But, forgetting patriotic feelings for a moment, the eighth position that it ultimately had to settle for comes closer to its true worth.
India’s Spanish coach Jose Brasa is on record saying that the team suffered from a lack of competitive experience, and the Sports Ministry says that it spared no expense in its training and foreign tours. But all-win tours like that in Canada can create a false sense of euphoria. The team also toured Australia, but it was only involved in games with developmental teams there. As for the Champions Challenge in Argentina, India ended an unimpressive third there, thus failing to qualify for the Champions Trophy proper. When Brasa’s players went back into training ahead of the World Cup there was a mutiny-like situation in the coaching camp at Pune. When somehow a settlement was arrived at over payments, there was open disagreement over who should be captain. Ultimately, it was Rajpal Singh, the selectors’ choice who was chosen to wear the captain’s band on his arm. But the selection committee itself appeared to be a big joke. It included two former women players, whose knowledge of men players is often questioned. It is like Diana Eduljee or any other old woman cricketer being asked to help select the men’s cricket team. In the prevailing ad hocism in the Indian hockey administration, this, to say the least, was not the ideal run-up to the hockey World Cup. What we saw at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium was a hockey tournament of the highest class: speed, power, the art of ball possession, passes of powerful sweeps and perfect trapping, artful goal-poaching deflections, the knack of forcing penalty corners followed by drag-flicks of great skill which made our own drag flick expert Sandeep Singh look overrated, compared to such men as the Australian Luke Doerner, Holland’s Taeke Taakema or the Englishmen Richard Mantell and Ashley Jackson. Even in the matter of individual skills, we have been left behind as the Australians and the unshaven Germans, the youngest team in the event, showed. They included at least at least one player who was too young to possess a driving licence, as he revealed when he was presented the keys to a Hero Honda motor bike for being the man of the match. In such top company, Rajpal Singh’s team, hard as it tried, could not hold its own. Sad to say, teams like Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Spain and Korea were streets ahead. In terms of time, they appeared years ahead. To catch up with the best in the world it will take India long years of hard work and massive doses of investment. To begin with, it has got to put its house in order and conduct the affairs in a proper professional manner. It is humiliating and hurtful that Leandro Negre, the Spanish president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), has to warn India to hold elections to Hockey India by May 31 or face suspension. Defeating Pakistan was a grand way for Rajpal Singh’s India to start the World Cup. It not only erased nightmarish memories of the 1-7 rout suffered by Zafar Iqbal’s Indian team in the Asian Games final of 1982 at the same venue, but there was promise of better things in the days to come. By way of encouragement Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi promptly announced cash of awards of Rs1 lakh to each player and there were messages of congratulations from the high and mighty, including the President, Pratibha Patil. But a team needs something more than mere money, however important, and congratulatory messages to win a World Cup. It needs a consistently high standard of performance. Match after match. As it turned out, Rajpal Singh’s players flattered to deceive. Shivendra Singh’s much-debated suspension did not help either, but a strong team is one which can take such a setback in its stride, as the England proved when they lost their stalwart drag flicker Richard Mantell (broken ankle) in the match against Pakistan. For all that, the Hero Honda World Hockey Cup is a great opportunity that India has to seize with both hands. For all the steep fall it has suffered for reasons that are public knowledge, it is still alive and kicking. The FIH, sensing the market for the game in India, is keen to do more business here in future, including the staging of a proposed world cup of club champions, now that a modern facility in the shape of the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium has come up in Delhi. But if and when such an event takes place, Hockey India should start a well structured process to determine which club is the country’s champion club. The sooner it sets its house in order the better, or the opportunity presented by the Delhi world cup would have been lost.
During the heyday of Indian hockey, the national team called the shots in major sporting events, annihilating opponents with utter disdain. A record win of six straight Olympic gold medals, bagged from 1928-56, has till today been an unbreakable record, thanks to the legendary players like Dhyan Chand, Mohd Shahid, Balbir Singh, M. P. Singh, Dilip Tirkey and so on. Major Dhyan Chand, the wizard of hockey is no more but his eldest son Brij Mohan Singh, an international and national player (retired sports officer from Rajasthan who has also served in Hadoti) lives in Kota, Rajasthan. B.M. Singh stays there with sons Vishal and Ajay. The veteran players talked about the "poor homecoming" and the hockey fiasco at the recent FIH World Cup: Excerpts from a candid chat:
What are the reasons for the poor performance of the Indian team recently?
The reasons are many I had gone with lot of interest to see the matches with brother Ashok Kumar in Delhi but came back disapointed and dejected. The same story was repeated. India started well with a comprehensive win over Pakistan. Everybody was delighted but it lost the other matches very easily. The team looked slow and could not match the European styles. Spanish coach Brasa was also relatively new (nine months’ old) and would surely take some time to settle down. I feel that the individual players were good but failed to combine as a team. The stamina was also low. The same old story again. Talking of the team management there were certain things which were not in favour of the team like the team selection, fitness of the players, orientation, preparation, lack of penalty corners conversion etc. For example, the training camp at Pune could have been replaced with a serious domestic series with the best teams.
Similarly, there is need for focus on power and fitness. Only artistic hockey is not enough, we need a power game.
What are the other reasons for the downfall of Indian hockey?
The reasons are manifold. The glamour, money, fame associated with other sports like cricket. Hockey is a laborious game, as perceived by the young generation, with very few star attractions, high-cost of astroturf grounds (that cost crores and only available at selct places), the government's attitude towards the sports, lack of sponsorship etc, many such factors are responsible for this. The media also unforutnately covers more of cricket today. Hockey seems to be only active in Punjab and Jharkhand etc. What about the rest of the country? Sports is progressing but not homogeneously. It has become too commercial now, especially the game of cricket. There are either very rich players or too poor players today. More efforts are surely needed from all quarters for the betterment of sports. The available young talent should be harnessed more.
Your comment on the demand for granting the Bharat Ratna to Sachin?
Well, Sachin is great and surely deserves the award but first it should go to my father Major Dhyan Chand, called the "Wizard of Hockey". He holds a record in the highest number of goals in Olympics and scored a total of 102 goals in the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics. In fact, the the Bharat Ratna award should have gone to him long back.
Any special message you would like to communicate?
Let's make a new beginning. have a meeting of all those people wanting the good of hockey and representing the aspirations of many countrymen. Promote more serious domestic competetions. Play other games also but don’t neglect our national sport, please respect it. Spare some time for hockey in any way you can. It can surely stand up once aagain. Koi to zid phariye`85doobe dariye ya mariye ...Chak De...Chak De India.
Soybeans originated over 13,000 years ago in China , where they were considered one of the most important crops in the area. They were introduced into Japan in the 8th century and many centuries later, into other regions of Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam. Soybeans made their first appearance in the US in the 18th century.
The delicious, slightly nutty flavored soybean is the most widely grown and utilised legume in the world and one of the most well- researched, health-promoting foods available today. Soybeans' key benefits are related to their excellent protein content, their high levels of essential fatty acids, numerous vitamins and minerals, their isoflavones, and their fibre content.
They are regarded as equal in protein quality to animal foods. Plus, soy protein tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol.
Research suggests active isoflavone compounds found in soy, specifically, genistein, may help us stay lean by causing us to produce fewer and smaller fat cells.
A study conducted on middle-aged men consuming soy in their diet reported significant reductions in both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. A recently discovered bioactive peptide found in soybeans, lunasin, is likely to be a key actor in its cholesterol-lowering actions, which inhibit the expression of the gene responsible for the internal production of cholesterol.
Soy protein has also been shown to reduce the stickiness of platelets. Consuming soy foods significantly inhibits bone loss and stimulates bone formation in menopausal women even if the they are consuming less than 90 mg of soy isoflavones per day.
A study has shown that while eating soy nuts, hot flashes dropped by almost 45 per cent in women who had an average of four or more hot flashes a day.
Another condition for which soybeans can be very beneficial is diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes. The protein in soybeans, and also in other legumes, is excellent for diabetic patients. A substance found in soybeans may reduce colon cancer risk. Protect your prostate health by making soy foods a staple part of your healthy way of eating.The incidence of prostate cancer is much lower in Asian than western populations, and soy foods may be one important reason. Rsearch suggests that isoflavone phytonutrients found in soybeans may have a protective effect.
The fibre in soybeans also provides preventative therapy for several other conditions. Fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins and remove them from the body, so they can’t damage colon cells.
How much soya to have in your diet?
A variety of soyfoods commonly eaten in the Asian diet contain isoflavones, including tofu, miso (dried soya milk), soymilk, soy flour, green or dried soybeans, soybean sprouts and a fermented soy food called natto.
Enjoying soy foods daily for just six months can be enough to exert beneficial effects on bones in menopausal women. All the traditional soyfoods (tofu, soy milk, soy flour) provide 30 to 40 mg of isoflavones per serving. Roasted soybeans are an especially good source; just one-half cup contains 167 mg of isoflavones. However, neither soy sauce nor soy oil contain isoflavones
Enjoying half cup of soy nuts as one source of protein in a daily diet can reduce blood pressure and the LDL cholesterol levels in post-menopausal women by as much as 10 per cent.
So, if you're postmenopausal or heading towards menopause, including a half-cup of unsalted soy nuts in your diet is an easy, delicious way to lower your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, while greatly reducing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. Divide your soy nuts into 3 or 4 handfuls and use as a snack or a crunchy topping for soups, salads and steamed vegetables.
As discussed above , a daily intake of at least 20 gm of soy protein (100 gm of soya bean contains 40 g of protein), including 80 mg of isoflavones for a minimum of five weeks would be effective in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in high-risk, middle-aged men.
Some allergic reactions to soybeans are:
Although allergic reactions can occur to virtually any food, research studies on food allergy consistently report more problems with some foods than with others. It turns out that soybeans are one of the foods most commonly associated with allergic reactions.
Oxalates in soybeans: Soybeans are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallise and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating soybeans.
The writer is with the Department of Dietetics, PGI