|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
The latest addition to this summer of controversies, the confrontation between the Union Sports Ministry, on the one hand, and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the national sports federations (NSF) affiliated to it on the other hand, promises to be most bitter of them all.
When Sports Minister M. S. Gill threw the rule book at the IOA and the federations, who receive government grants to run their affairs, restricting the terms of office-bearers to a maximum of 12 years (three terms of four years each), people cutting across all political parties, who would normally hate to be seen sharing the same platform, lost little time in putting up a united front against what they perceived as an insolent diktat trampling the autonomy of the federations they controlled.
If Communist Party secretary D. Raja took a view contrary to that of politicians heading the NSFs, maybe it was because Leftist politicians have not thought of making a career out of sports administration. Not so far, at least.
It was not a little amusing to see men like Suresh Kalmadi, IOA president and chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, who is Congress MP from Pune, Bhartiya Janata Party stalwart and leader of the Opposition in the Delhi legislative assembly Vijay Kumar Malhotra, prominent Congressmen Jagdish Tytler and Satish Sharma and Akali Dal politician Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, not to mention bureaucrats like V.K.Verma and businessmen like B.S.Adityan joining forces to oppose the government directive.
The longest serving of these heavyweights, Dr Malhotra, has headed the archery federation for an unending 31 years, followed by Satish Sharma, who has presided over the Aero Club of India for 24 years. Then, there is Randhir Singh, who has been secretary-general of the IOA for two decades, and Kalmadi, the apex bodyís president for 15 years. Dhindsa has led the cycling federation for 14 years.
The list of those fearing an end to their reigns is long and distinguished. In it are men who have no intention of giving up their "honorary" positions no matter if they have crossed the age of 70, the final retirement age limit stipulated by the new directive of the ministry. Why should not minister Gill himself be the first to go, it is being asked. He himself is over 70. Itís a tu-tu main-main tussle.
Coming to think of it, there is a sense of d`E9j`E0 vu. We have seen it all before. There was a similar of hue and cry when the guidelines were first issued in the 1970s. The government then showed little political will to enforce them, and for all practical purposes they were not implemented all these long decades. Now, Gill says he is being paid to see that the IOA and NFSs fall in line. Itís like reading the riot act once again: follow the rules, else ...
In this season of raging controversies, the timing of Gillís move is being questioned. He could have waited till the Commonwealth Games, less than five months from now. By that logic, should he not then delay his clean-up endeavour till the Asian Games, which will follow later in the year in China? In the heat of the controversies it is being forgotten by all parties concerned that they all have equally pressing work to do.
The Hockey India (HI) mess has to be cleared. Is anybody worried that the International Hockey Federation has threatened India with suspension if the ad hoc HI set-up doesnít hold a proper election by May 31? For a country, which held the world championship in March, it will be the ultimate shame if its hockey officials are unable to meet the election deadline. That a lot of work still remains to be done to prepare Delhi for the Commonwealth Games is no secret.
If these worries are not serious enough headaches, then the news of the resignation of Bob Houghton, the English coach under whom India has won two back-to-back Nehru Cup tournaments and also entered the Asian Cup finals after 24 years, has come like a bombshell. It does little credit to the Sports Ministry or the All India Football Federation if the man canít find a single facility in the country decent enough to train his footballers, like the one in Dubai, where he took them for a stint last time round.
Busy as he is with organising the Commonwealth Games, the IOA president canít `A0convincingly explain why the National Games, allotted to Jharkhand, have been given the miss. Officials who should be seen supervising the training of athletes for the CW Games are worried about their own future.
A pity that that the exploits of young Indians like Vikas Krishan, who has picked up a gold medal in the World Youth Boxing Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, or a Saina Nehwal, or a Deepika Pallikal on the badminton and squash courts, or a Sunil Chhetri in the stadiums of the US Major Soccer League, to mention just a few recent examples, are less talked of than the disputes involving self-perpetuating officials and the unholy affairs of the just concluded IPL.
Women should take up to 10 times the current recommended dose of Vitamin D during pregnancy, experts have said after it was found to cut premature birth by half.
In Britain, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are recommended to take 10 micrograms of Vitamin D daily, but a study has suggested higher doses may be more beneficial, reports telegraph.co.uk.
The team from the University of South Carolina found the women taking the highest dose were 50 per cent less likely to suffer from problems, including premature labour, gestational diabetes and infections, than those on the lowest dose. Carol Wagner, lead author of the study, said: "The spectacular part of the study was it showed women replete in Vitamin D had lower rates of pre-term labour and pre-term birth, and lower rates of infection."
Wagner also added that the results showed the high dose was safe and effective, so they could recommend all pregnant women take 1,000 micrograms of Vitamin D daily. It has been estimated that two in 10 adults in Britain could be deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is found in foods like fortified cereals, eggs and fish but most people also need around 15 minutes of sunshine three times a week to ensure sufficient levels.
Recent studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is a serious public health issue.
Therefore, Wagner and her colleagues, including Bruce W. Hollis, who has worked in the field of Vitamin D research for 30 years, set out to determine the optimal dose of Vitamin D supplements for pregnant women without doing harm.
Researchers randomised 494 pregnant women at 12-16 weeks' gestation into three treatment groups.
Group one received 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D a day until delivery, group two received 2,000 IU, and group three received 4,000 IU. The women were evaluated monthly to ensure safety.
"No adverse events related to Vitamin D dosing were found in any of the three arms of the study," Wagner said. Investigators also looked at the effects of Vitamin D supplementation on complications during pregnancy, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, and pre-term labour and birth. "The spectacular part of the study was it showed women replete in Vitamin D had lower rates of preterm labor and preterm birth, and lower rates of infection," Wagner said.
The greatest effects were seen among women taking 4,000 IU of Vitamin D per day. Therefore, the researchers recommend this daily regimen for all pregnant women, said a Medical University release.
These will be presented at the Paediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. ó IANS