SPORTS & WELLNESS
 

Cheer leaders
Football players from the region are not only getting a kick out of all the FIFA frenzy, but are even motivating other Punjab de puttars to take to the game
Kusum Arora
A
MID loud cheers for their favourite football greats, a group of I-league players along with the young soccer enthusiasts of Jalandhar are busy celebrating FIFA World Cup goals, feeling the frenzy right here. And why not? Soccer fever has gripped one and all.

bend it like Ronaldo
W
ITH the soccer mania at its peak, football enthusiasts and youngsters are having a gala time watching their favourite players take the lead and are supporting them by dressing up like their soccer icons. From sporty T-shirts displaying footballs club logos to buying footballs and soccer kits; youngsters ensure that they follow the latest fashion league.

FIT ZONE
Back to basics
Bharat Thakur
D
O you want to keep a slim figure? Or do you want to be physically, mentally and spiritually healthy? Then, why not go in for yoga. Yoga is both a physical and a mental activity, as it needs all parts of your body to work together. The gentle postures combined with excellent breathing methods can help you ease your stress, refresh your mood and facilitate meditation.

Eat, pray, shove
Bakers in Beirut prepare local pastries called manakish decorated with the designs and flag colours representing the countries competing in this year's FIFA World Cup A group of Muslim football supporters prays at a park near Soccer City Stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg Two Chinese promotion girls pose with a World Cup ball to attract visitors to a theme park for watching the televised matches on giant screens in Beijing
Bakers in Beirut prepare local pastries called manakish decorated with the designs and flag colours representing the countries competing in this year's FIFA World Cup. Similar to a pizza, the manakish is a popular Levantine food consisting of dough topped with thyme, cheese or 
ground meat and is served either for breakfast or lunch
Photo: Reuters
A group of Muslim football supporters prays at a park near Soccer City Stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. While Christianity is practised by over 70 per cent of South Africa's population, there are still over half a million followers of Islam across the country
Photo: AFP
Two Chinese promotion girls pose with a World Cup ball to attract visitors to a theme park for watching the televised matches on giant screens in Beijing. China recorded the single largest television audience for a World Cup match in the first two days of the tournament, according to world football governing body FIFA
Photo: AFP

 





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Cheer leaders
Football players from the region are not only getting a kick out of all the FIFA frenzy, but are even motivating other Punjab de puttars to take to the game
Kusum Arora

Players from leading football clubs like Churchill Brothers-Goa, JCT-Phagwara and Air India-Mumbai during a practice session at Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar
Players from leading football clubs like Churchill Brothers-Goa, JCT-Phagwara and Air India-Mumbai during a practice session at Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar

Women workers busy washing footballs at the sports goods unit
Women workers busy washing footballs at the sports goods unit Photos: Malkiat Singh

AMID loud cheers for their favourite football greats, a group of I-league players along with the young soccer enthusiasts of Jalandhar are busy celebrating FIFA World Cup goals, feeling the frenzy right here. And why not? Soccer fever has gripped one and all.

Players from leading football clubs like Churchill Brothers, Goa, Air India, Mumbai, and JCT, Phagwara, are back home during the off-season, and looking forward to the soccer season ahead of the Santosh Trophy coaching camp, which would be held at Guru Nanak College, Phagwara.

Harpreet Singh, a Jalandhar-based I-league player from Air India, Mumbai, says that football a game that you cannot enjoy minus the cheering, and so, they ask their locality lads to come and enjoy the matches with them. "I have been watching the FIFA matches with my friends. We discuss the moves of the strikers, and keenly observe the sharp reflexes of the players", he adds.

While the evenings promise a great deal of action, the players ensure that they get some original soccer kits, too. "Though I already have my soccer kit of Churchill Brothers, I am looking for an original jersey of either England, Spain or Italy. I am supporting my favourite team, Spain, this time. The star players from Spain have been exhibiting great fitness and wonderful performance on ground," he adds. Despite being back home in the off-season, the players also ensure that they involve the local school and college boys in the game. "We have a small seven-side football ground, where we enjoy some action once in a while. This also ensures that the local boys stay away from anti-social elements, too."

A defender, Harpreet played for JCT, Phagwara, East Bengal Football Club, Mahindra United Football Academy, Mumbai. Then, he was picked up by Air India, Mumbai.

Another Jalandhar-based player, Warundeep from Churchill Brothers, Goa, says, "While states like Maharashtra and Goa have a football culture, we, in Punjab, lack that spirit for the game. However, we play along with the college boys to ensure that more and more youngsters take up this game as a profession." He has been playing with Churchill Brothers for the past four years, while earlier he played for the Tata Football Academy, Jamshedpur. "When I took up this sport, there was no active support from any quarter. In fact, there was no one to provide any assistance. But back home, I ensure that budding football players get maximum guidance," he adds.

Warundeep is quick to add that he, too, keeps motivating budding football players to take up the game. "If a football player plays the game in a disciplined way and maintains himself well, nothing can stop him from reaching the top football clubs of the country. And what could be better than enjoying your game and making a profession out of it,", he quips.

And the likely winner in this World Cup? Prompt comes the reply: Brazil. "I am supporting my favourite team, Brazil. In fact, I am searching for an original Brazil jersey, which would costs around Rs 3000 plus," he adds.

In fact, the I-league players from Jalandhar held a friendly football match at the local Lyallpur Khalsa College with the college team around the beginning of the World Cup in South Africa. The players, a majority of who are from Khalsa College, say that the game promises good money as compared to many other sports in the country.

Rakinderjeet, another midfielder from JCT, Phagwara, maintains that as a country, we have miles to go in this game. "The fact is that even the foreign coaches swear by the physical fitness and endurance of the boys from Punjab. But the game cannot pick up in this region until we have good football clubs," he says. However, for these players the soccer fever is here to stay. "Our evenings are packed with the FIFA schedule. And we are planning to enjoy the finals together in a big way on July 11," they add.
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bend it like Ronaldo

Managing director of NIVIA Sports, Jalandhar, Rajesh Kharbanda, shows different kinds of promotional footballs being manufatured by the firm to cater to the World Cup craze
Managing director of NIVIA Sports, Jalandhar, Rajesh Kharbanda, shows different kinds of promotional footballs being manufatured by the firm to cater to the World Cup craze

WITH the soccer mania at its peak, football enthusiasts and youngsters are having a gala time watching their favourite players take the lead and are supporting them by dressing up like their soccer icons.

From sporty T-shirts displaying footballs club logos to buying footballs and soccer kits; youngsters ensure that they follow the latest fashion league. Among the hottest craze are leading football club T-shirts like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea and those with country names.

The T-shirts are priced between Rs 350 and Rs 1200 each. "These T-shirts are selling like hot cakes. We are getting bulk orders as groups and individual clubs are buying the stock. As the football season in going on, our sales are picking up fast", says one of the manufacturers.

While footballs in different age groups are priced anywhere between Rs 250 and Rs 400, soccer fans can pick their range of small promotional footballs with country flags and players for Rs 90 each.

And if you thought that this mania was just confined to boys, think again. The girls, too, have joined the bandwagon. The local traders have also introduced a special range of girly T-shirts.

Amit Sharma, the partner of the Jalandhar-based sports manufacturing house, Spartan, says that they look forward to the football season as it promises a great deal of profit. "As the football kits are the same for both the boys and girls, we are receiving good offers," he adds.

However, director of exports, Brightway Exports International, Jiten Mahajan, who was the first exporter from India to supply footballs to the world-renowned Manchester United (MU) Football Club, says that though they introduced special girls football kits in the kid section (for 5 to 6 years and above) some time back, the response was minimal. "It is a fact. While boys enjoy the game and love to don the soccer T-shirts, the girls do not take much interest in it. Hence, we could not find many buyers for the girl kits," he adds.

However, he says, the upsurge in the football sales has taken place due to the organised retail sector in the country. Adds Managing Director of NIVIA Sports, a football manufacturing unit, "We have introduced a promotional range of World Cup country footballs, shin guards, studs and football shoes to meet the demands of the retail houses like Big Bazaar, HyperCITY, Aditya Birla, Bharti Walmart in the domestic market." KA
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FIT ZONE
Back to basics
Bharat Thakur

Bharat ThakurDO you want to keep a slim figure? Or do you want to be physically, mentally and spiritually healthy? Then, why not go in for yoga.

Yoga is both a physical and a mental activity, as it needs all parts of your body to work together. The gentle postures combined with excellent breathing methods can help you ease your stress, refresh your mood and facilitate meditation.

People who know little about yoga would consider it as a common activity to decompress. However, yoga is more than this. As a matter of fact, yoga needs the cooperation of your entire body, enabling you to keep a slim figure as well as enhance your flexibility and agility. You can gain lots of benefits from this exceptional practice. It can help you keep fit, be more vigorous, maintain balance and suppleness. Constant practice of breathing can make your internal organs work more smoothly and place your metabolism at a stable grade. With overall concentration on unity, yoga maintains your physical, mental and spiritual strengths.

Yoga positions can provide you with a toned body, while yoga breathing can bring you peace of mind. In brief, performing yoga regularly is of great benefit, and it would bring out a completely new you, in body, mind and spirit.

Given below are some simple asanas that work to shape and tone your body and also to make all the glands function at the optimal capacity. The pranayam greatly helps in making your body fit and slim.

Bhujangasana

  • Lie face down on your yoga mat, with legs together and the hands on either side of the chest (fingertips in line with the top of the shoulders). Make sure to keep the elbows tightly to your side.

  • On inhaling, lift the upper body off the floor and straighten the arms. Let the shoulders slide down the back and keep the neck long.

  • Lift the hips and legs off the floor so that only the hands and the top of the feet have floor contact.

  • Lift through the sternum and allow the shoulders to slide down the back. Stay raised through the abdomin to support the spine.

Ardhamatsyendrasana

  • Sit in any comfortable cross-legged position.

  • Straighten the legs. Bend the right knee and bring the heel of the right foot close to the left hip.

  • Inhale and bend the left knee upward and place the left foot flat on the floor to the right of the right leg, with the ankle touching the right thigh.

  • While turning the spine to the left straighten the right arm bringing it around to the outside of the left knee and grasp the left foot with the right hand.

  • Avoid twisting the neck in this posture if you have spondylitis.

Janusirshasana

  • Sit on the floor, with legs stretched in the front.

  • Bend the left knee and place the left heel against the inner side of the left thigh near the perineum. Try and push the left knee as far back as possible.

  • Bend forward and stretch the arms towards the right foot and hold it. First catch the toes of the right foot, then gradually catch the sole and finally, catch the wrist of one hand with the other, beyond the outstretched foot.

  • Keep the right leg stretched throughout by tightening the knee.

  • Inhale, raise the head and trunk, straighten the arm and gaze up for a few seconds, extending the spine and trying to make it concave.

  • Release the hand grip on the right foot, straighten the left leg

Kapalbhati (pranayam)

  • Sit with legs crossed in a lotus-like position or if on a chair, with both feet on the ground.

  • The spine straight, chest open, like a string is going from your butt up through the top of your head and holding you straight.

  • Using the diaphragm, inhale while ballooning the belly.`A0

  • Start! Forcefully exhale, using the diaphragm and count, 1-2-3-4-5 (you will automatically inhale, but focus on exhaling)

  • Take rest when you are tired and repeat three times. Even with just two min utes of this a day, you will notice the benefits.
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