SPORTS & WELLNESS
 


NET GAINS
The real glory for Indian tennis will come when the Somdevs, the Sanams and their like rise to a higher level beyond the Asian Games, writes K. Datta
If there were some heartbreaking disappointments for India at the Asian Games, like the failure of the hockey team to win the gold medal, which would have ensured it a place in the 2010 London Olympics, or badminton queen Saina Nehwalís defeat at the quarter-final stage, letís not forget there were also several positives to be drawn. Dwelling on failures is like opening old wounds; talking of positives promotes a sense of well-being. So, letís talk of the positives. The delirious joy with which Sanam Singh leaped into the arms of Somdev Devvarman after winning the doubles gold medal was infectious.

Bodylicious with Bhangra Masala
Bollywood's Masala Bhangra aerobics is attracting a lot of fitness enthusiasts
Sarina Jainís Masala Bhangra is a new form of aerobics that combines a rigorous workout with the pacy moves of the Punjabi folk dance
Move over salsa, tango, and western dance forms and aerobics classes; it's time for Bollywood-style fitness regimes. Masala Bhangra, a new form of dancing aerobics that combines rigorous workout with the pacy moves of a traditional dance from northern India is attracting youngsters and fitness enthusiasts in New Delhi.

Sarina Jainís Masala Bhangra is a new form of aerobics that combines a rigorous workout with the pacy moves of the Punjabi folk dance

Worth the weight
Women donít need to starve but have a healthy relationship towards food, says nutritionist Rujuta Diwakar, who guides stars like Kareena and Konkona
What are the four secrets that keep women fit and healthy? According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwakar, who has often been described as the mastermind behind actress Kareena Kapoor's famed size zero, it is nutrition, exercise, sleep and relationships.

 

   

 

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NET GAINS

The real glory for Indian tennis will come when the Somdevs, the Sanams and their like rise to a higher level beyond the Asian Games, writes K. Datta

Sania Mirza, who took4 Indian womenís tennis to new heights, has not shown the same mettle of late Photos: AFP
Sania Mirza, who took4 Indian womenís tennis to new heights, has not shown the same mettle of late Photos: AFP

If there were some heartbreaking disappointments for India at the Asian Games, like the failure of the hockey team to win the gold medal, which would have ensured it a place in the 2010 London Olympics, or badminton queen Saina Nehwalís defeat at the quarter-final stage, letís not forget there were also several positives to be drawn. Dwelling on failures is like opening old wounds; talking of positives promotes a sense of well-being. So, letís talk of the positives.

The delirious joy with which Sanam Singh leaped into the arms of Somdev Devvarman after winning the doubles gold medal was infectious.

Even more so was the singles gold medal, which Somdev won the next day. Anil Khanna, secretary of the All-India Tennis Association, must have been a happy man, as he presented the medals at the Guangzhou tennis stadium. To have the pleasure of repeatedly seeing Indian tennis players on the podium at the Asian Games is a rare experience and the elation in tennis circles back home is understandable. Five medals (2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze). Never before has an Indian team won that many in an Asian Games. †Itís a safe guess that had Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathy and Rohan Bopanna been available, India would have also won the team title.

While Somdev Devvarman has some global experience to back him, Sanam Singh (left) has benefited from his training in inter-collegiate tennis in the US
While Somdev Devvarman has some global experience to back him, Sanam Singh (left) has benefited from his training in inter-collegiate tennis in the US 

The Asian Games is not the toughest of tests in competitive tennis. But when a player is on court for the cause of his country, he is a transformed performer. Winning a gold medal turns you into a national hero. Somdev became one twice in successive months. He had also won a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in October in Delhi. His gold at Guangzhou was the more creditable of the two, for there he beat a player who is placed much higher in the ATP rankings, the 44th ranked Denis Istomin of Uzbeksitan. Devvarman is at 106.

In the resulting euphoria, it would be hasty to conclude that India has found adequate replacement for its ageing stalwarts. Paes and Bhupathy, now on the wrong side of the 30s, and in the evening of their tennis careers prefer to play doubles. Bopanna, a late bloomer, at 30, is not very young either. He, too, is better known for his partnership with Pakistanís Aisam-ul-Quraishi.

Devvarman, 25, has been around for a couple of years and justified the trust reposed in him. Sanam Singh, 22, like Devvarman, has benefitted from his experience in inter-collegiate tennis in the United States. To his credit, when he got his opportunity to partner with Devvarman at Guangzhou, he made the most of it. He can be banked upon when Paes and Bhupathy finally cease soldiering on for the country in the Davis Cup. Vishnu Varadhan, about the same age as Sanam, had a share in the Asian Games mixed doubles silver medal with Sania Mirza Taking the clock back, the Krishnans and Amritrajs were holding their own against the best in the major international tournaments when they were in their early 20s. Even Paes was barely 17 when he made his Davis Cup debut at Chandigarh over two decades ago.

It would be ideal if India could discover about half a dozen, if not more, talented youths in the 18-20 age group. Hopefully, they will emerge. There is much more to tennis than the Asian Games, which has given Indian tennis a new image. In fact, if thereís any message for Indian tennis from Guangzhou, it is that our players must work much harder to reach up to world standards.

To have just one player hovering about the 100 mark is not enough. The future lies in the Wimbledon and other Grand Slams. Even Devvarman has to come through qualifiers. Sania Mirza, who took Indian womenís tennis game to new heights when she was ranked in the 30s in the world, is not the same player she once was. You could see that the old spring in her stride was missing at Guangzhou. Her many fans hope the sprightliness will return soon enough.

That brings us to the subject of fitness. Working hard on athleticism and fitness are not in the nature of Indians. Skill alone will not take a player far in modern tennis, in which power plays a great part. For that matter, also in any other sport.

Khanna, when he hung those medals around the necks of the players on the Guangzhou podium, no doubt, must have been a happy man, but not exactly very contented. The contentment will come when the Somdevs, the Sanams and their like rise to a higher level in the Davis Cup, keep the Indian emblem flying round after round in tournaments across the world and, in a word, make Indian tennis into a power to reckon with, beyond the Asian Games.
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Bodylicious with Bhangra Masala

Bollywood's Masala Bhangra aerobics is attracting a lot of fitness enthusiasts

A large number of fitness freaks, along with first-timers from every age group, have taken to the high-energy workout.
A large number of fitness freaks, along with first-timers from every age group, have taken to the high-energy workout. Photo: Thinkstockphotos/ Getty Images

Move over salsa, tango, and western dance forms and aerobics classes; it's time for Bollywood-style fitness regimes.

Masala Bhangra, a new form of dancing aerobics that combines rigorous workout with the pacy moves of a traditional dance from northern India is attracting youngsters and fitness enthusiasts in New Delhi.

Amalgamation of the Hindi word masala, which means 'spicy' and Ďbhangraí, a popular folk dance from the northern state of Punjab, this unique workout mixes cardiovascular workouts with dance moves, and is suitable for participants of all ages and fitness levels.

Conceived and designed by Sarina Jain, an American of Indian origin, Masala Bhangra is among the top five fitness workouts in the USA. It is an Indian dance workout, 'masala' is Hindi; 'bhangra' is a folk dance of the northern state of Punjab. This class combined with elements of bhangra and Bollywood. You have to put some elements of Bollywood into the class; my entire programme is backed by the fitness boards. I am very proud to say it is one of the top five workouts in the US," says Jain. She was in the Capital for her annual special class at her studio, in which she personally supervises the participants.

Jain says along with the fitness aspect, her classes have also instilled confidence among the participants.

"There are many people out there who want to work out, but they don't know what to do. There many people who want to dance, but they don't know what to do? So, when you break down steps easy, it's a very simple routine. They feel accomplished, wow! Ok. I can easily get these five- six steps that I just learnt. And in the beginning, when I thought of my class, people were all over the place but the end people were like ok, we got it, we feel good. That is why I keep going over and over again because I didn't want to stop. I have helped many people lose weight, helped many marriages. It's helped many people's confidence come out," says Sarina.

A large number of fitness freaks along with first-timers from every age group participated in the high-energy workout. Participants loved the bhangra and Bollywood dance movements in an easy-to-follow fitness format.

"Wonderful, exciting, energetic, enthusiastic! It's after a long time I have done bhangra and I think she must visit India frequently," said Rakesh, one of the participants.

According to Jain, the 'Masala Bhangra' workout is certified by the American Fitness Boards, including the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Jain has a chain of fitness studios in New York, Los Angeles and other cities of the US and in Japan. She is now planning to increase her base in India.  ó ANI

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Worth the weight

Women donít need to starve but have a healthy relationship towards food, says nutritionist Rujuta Diwakar, who guides stars like Kareena and Konkona


Rujutaís (R) upcoming book, Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha, addresses diet fads and disorders of the fair sex

What are the four secrets that keep women fit and healthy? According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwakar, who has often been described as the mastermind behind actress Kareena Kapoor's famed size zero, it is nutrition, exercise, sleep and relationships.

Diwakar, whose new book Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha will be released in bookstores in January 2011, says: "Moderation is the key to fitness".

Her previous book, Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight, had sold 200,000 copies in four languages and is still on the bestseller list.

Deepthi Talwar, executive editor of the Westland Tranquebar Press, which is publishing the book, said: "The book focuses on women, their health and fitness through the various phases of their lives ó puberty, student, marriage, pregnancy and menopause. She (Diwakar) also talks about the very prevalent disorders of polycystic ovary disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes and high blood pressure."

"It advises women on what they can do to get better. It's different from her first book in the sense it specifically addresses women and issues that affect them," Talwar said.
The author, winner of the Nutrition Award 2010 from the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, is one of the most sought-after and qualified nutritionists today. Her work addresses diet fads, diet-related disorders and fears among urban Indians across all walks of life.

The book emphasises how important one's relationship is with oneself. "So many issues, anorexia, bulimia, can be traced to the relationship we have with our self and with food," Talwar said. She said books on nutrition are in demand in market because "the kind of lifestyles people lead, the pressures people are under, lead to a host of disorders and unhealthy habits".

In her last book, Diwakar had advised "readers not to starve" and to remain fit. "Nor is it needed to burn the last remaining drop of fat in your body by torturing, crash dieting, no all-fruit diet, no carb deprivations and no curb on cravings," Diwakar prescribed.

Diwakar works with Bollywood celebrities like Kareena Kapoor, Anil Ambani, Preity Zinta, Karishma Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma, among others. ó IANS

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