|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
Fingers have been pointed at many a person in the dope scandal but a lot of the blame also rests on the system, writes
Milkha Singh and P.T. Usha have been world-class athletes, but they never won an Olympic medal. Perhaps, they lacked that cutting edge to triumph on the biggest theatre of sporting action; perhaps they took pride in representing the country, and winning honours through fair and square means, but not for enriching themselves. Perhaps, they walked the straight and narrow track, dominating the Asian`A0scene completely, but lacking that extra something to triumph at the world stage. Certainly, they never took any performance-boosting drugs to win medals.
Milkha won Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medals by the dint of hard work and the sheer force of his talent. Usha missed an Olympic bronze by a whisker in 400m hurdles at`A0Los Angeles (1984) as she lacked that extra bit of strength and stamina to give that winning push. Imagine, what would have been their performances had they been on a booster dose for enhancing their speed and power! `A0They would have proved unbeatable.
But times have changed; science and technology has changed; and now Indian athletes are prepared to walk that extra mile to win medals by any means. For, winning a medal at the Asian, Commonwealth or world levels will make them rich overnight. Awards will come to them as a matter of right. The considerable hike in the prize money offered by the Sports Ministry, the state governments and the employers of the sportspersons make it worth the bother to adopt shortcuts to success.
Abhinav Bindra raked in a few crores in a matter of days after he shot that memorable gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. All that Milkha Singh and P.T. Usha could have hoped for in their times were perhaps a couple of lakhs, an Arjuna Award or a Padmashri. Usha earned much more money from athletics than Milkha Singh ever did. Still, it was nothing compared to the high stakes of today’s winners.
Win or perish is the motto now. And in this process, doping became an accepted norm and practice. The Sports Ministry, the National Sports Federations, the Sports Authority of India, coaches (foreign and Indian), doctors, support staff and the athletes have all been responsible for the doping scourge taking deep roots in the country as the`A0winning stakes have become increasingly high.
The recent case of catching eight athletes on dope in out-of-competition tests by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the National Anti-Doping Authority (NADA) came as no surprise to those who knew how the system worked. But someone, somewhere has played the spoilsport for catching the athletes red-handed when they least expected such tests. And the Sports Ministry and the SAI are trying to paint AAI bosses Suresh Kalmadi and Lalit Bhanot, now jailed for the CWG scam, as the villains.
The Indian boys and girls, with the help of ‘recovery experts’, have perfected the art of masking their steroids and other dope during competitions to emerge with a clean slate. But people in the know, who are aware of how the system worked, were sure that`A0when India won an unusually large number of gold and medals of other hues during the Commonwealth Games in Delhi last year, the successes were not entirely due to fair practices.
The packed Nehru Stadium had erupted in delirium when the long-limbed Karnataka lass Ashwini Akkunji broke away from the pack with a big thrust in the third leg to give India the lead and Mandeep Kaur, running the last lap, did the rest as she shook off the shadow of`A0Nigerian sprinter Folashade Abugan about 50 metres from the tape to accelerate like a champion filly to lift the gold. And October 11, 2010, became a red-letter day in the annals of Indian sports.
Indian athletics was on a high, though nobody then thought that the golden edifice would crumble`A0in a matter of`A0eight`A0months. Three of the relay girls — Mandeep Kaur, Ashiwni Akkunji and Sini Jose --- were among the eight who tested positive for dope on May 25, 2011, to play out the darkest drama of Indian sports. Suspended by the Athletics Association of India, they are being ostracised by one and all and could face further action. And poor Yuri Ogordnik, the Ukranian coach of the relay girls, is being sacrificed for a crime committed by a group of people.
The girls were`A0tested for steroids, which could`A0not have come from food supplements, as is being made out by the SAI as a face-saver. Some junior officials have been sacrificed, though the officials who should have been held responsible are now ordering an inquiry to unravel the truth!
When Sports Minister Ajay Maken grandly announced the sacking of all the foreign coaches associated with athletics, he was perhaps not aware of the import of the situation. Action was eventually taken only against Ogordnik, though he still stays put in Patiala, and is being held as a virtual captive by the SAI authorities. For, if he spills the beans as a desperate skin-saver, many top heads would surely roll.
So, a charade is being played out that the athletes tested positive due to the "contaminated" food supplements they bought from outside, or the Ginseng the coach got for them from Beijing. Not many people are buying that theory, though Maken being new to the Sports Ministry was perhaps kept in the dark about the doping practice. He is now toeing the official line. The only hope for the truth to come out now rests on the one-man Justice Mukul Mudgal committee, constituted by Maken, to get at the bottom of the doping scandal. `A0
The Minister is rarely briefed about the role of the Ministry and the SAI in the doping drama, and Maken was thus caught unawares. When pointed out that the person appointed as the government observer for athletics, Anasuyabhai, had once failed a gender test and was banned from athletics, Maken was flabbergasted. He took cover in the fact he was just two months into the Sports Ministry, and was slowly understanding the working of his complex portfolio.
But Anasuyabhai continues to be the government observer for athletics!
The fallout of dope taking is very severe as the athletes would have to pay a heavy price in the long run.
Dr Deep Sharma, a leading orthopaedic surgeon, says the use of steroids causes serious physical problems in the long run. "The use of steroids can lead to osteoporosis and myopathy. What happens is that the bone mass decreases, due to which the bones become porous and very weak and develop pathological fracture, which is very difficult to heal," he adds.
At present, assistant professor and lead surgeon at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Post-Graduate Medicine Education and Research, Pondicherry, Dr Deep had treated many steroid-inducing ailments. "In fact, the use of steroids can cause permanent damage to many vital organs of the body, including eyes, kidney, liver `85It can cause a whole lot of side-effects, cause permanent damage to the spine, back pain, paralysis, cataract, glaucoma, diabetes`A0etc," explains Dr Deep.
"The doping game cannot be played by a single person. The athletes are too ill-informed and illiterate to do the doping on their own. You have to know when to take steroid, the dosage, when to stop and what to take to mask the side-effects. The athletes, coaches, doctors, support staff, officials`85all are involved in this game. It’s a team effort", observes Dr P. S. M Chandran, the whistle-blower who was the former director of Sports Medicine, SAI. Even when he was with the SAI, Dr Chandran had voiced his disapproval of many unethical things done by the SAI officials.
A top SAI official once confided that prior to the Olympics, the SAI team wing’s had ordered 750 syringes and vials of injections at the request of a sports federation.`A0When the medical centre questioned this strange requirement, it was asked to shut up and carry on.
Gurbhachan Singh Randhawa, chairman of the senior selection committee of the Athletics Association of India, had quit in protest on the eve of the CWG in Delhi last year, as he was not told where the athletes were training (either in Belarus or Ukraine) and he had no way to assess their performances for selection into the Indian team.Hitherto, weightlifters have been the worst offenders in doping, as it was routine for the top lifters to be caught for banned substances. So much so, the Weightlifting Federation of India was banned by the international body, and the Organising Committee of the CWG had to shell out $500000 to bail out the WFI to enable the Indian lifters to compete in the CWG.
The foreign coaches, mostly the ‘recovery experts’, were brought in specifically for doping and recovery, and even the Sports Ministry cannot escape the blame as the appointment of a foreign coach and his salary are confirmed by it.
India were only emulating a worldwide trend when doping was introduced in the country, as it was firmly believed that without the aid of performance-enhancing substances, it was impossible for Indian sportspersons to win medals in the big competitions, as all the countries were adopting similar tricks, but with finesse.
India got into the dope trail after the 1982 Asian Games, when the Sports Authority of India (SAI) was formed. The Sports Ministry did not exist, as it `A0was then `A0part of the Human Resource Ministry. The Sports Ministry was elevated to the Cabinet status much later, but once the SAI came into being, it started emulating worldwide trends to give the cutting edge to our sportspersons. Earlier, the Indian sportspersons were sent to the unified Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic, Poland etc for "expert training," as these countries were willing to accept payment in rupees for the services rendered by their`A0sports experts.
India were initiated into the Russian
and German way of doping, and after these countries ceased to exist in
their former forms, India started relying on coaches from Belarus,
Ukraine and other such Soviet Bloc countries for importing coaches with
the specific task of enhancing the performances of our sportspersons
through doping. — MSU
Yogilates is a fusion
workout that is great for people who want to combine the spirituality of
yoga and the muscle toning of pilates in one exercise
Yogalates is a complete workout that tones and strengthens your body while also relaxing your mind, creating the perfect solution to our stressful lives. It creates a union between body and mind and improves overall well-being.
Yogalates, also called Yogilates, is a combination of pilates and yoga that is highly complementary and beneficial. Creative, yet grounded in tradition, it is the ultimate in mind-body fitness.
Pilates and yoga have many similarities. They both focus on getting your mind and body in tune with one another and put emphasis on flexibility, strength, graceful movements and body awareness. Both practices involve attaining specific postures, which emphasise correct breathing and meditative mindfulness. However, pilates tends to lean more towards the physical aspect of toning your body, whereas yoga has a strong spiritual foundation to it. Both have many benefits individually, but to bring them together, for some, is the perfect union. Yogilates mixes those benefits together to provide a workout that will leave you feeling energised, as well as relaxed, in body and soul.
It is great for people
who want the spirituality of yoga and the muscle-strengthening aspect of
pilates in one workout. It is also great if you are getting bored with
your current practice and looking to try something new, or are looking
to challenge your body in new ways. A must try for those needing to
strengthen their backs, those suffering from arthritis or osteoporosis,
and postnatal women.
A session always begins with a short relaxation phase using simple pranayam (breath work) to centre the mind with the body and the breath. The workout consists of series of floor exercises incorporating both mat workout from pilates and some yoga poses to warm up the body and prepare you for more challenging standing work later. A session usually ends with deep relaxation and meditation. It is usually accompanied with soothing music.
Relaxation: The relaxation aspect of yogilates comes from yoga and can greatly reduce stress levels. It is an excellent form of preventative medicine bringing the body, mind and emotions into harmony. It will leave you feeling completely relaxed while also helping you to feel calmer and sleep better.
Flexibility and balance: With the combination of the different postures and stretches from both yoga and pilates, this will help to improve your overall flexibility. Often one side of the body is more flexible. When the body is asymmetrical, we experience pain and discomfort, which lead to injuries. Regular practice will help heighten physical co-ordination and achieve balance between the left and right, front and back, top and bottom sides of the body.
Strength: Yogilates can help improve your overall body strength, as well as the strength of certain muscle, especially the back muscles. If you suffer from back pain, then this fusion workout is for you as it not only helps in reducing back pain but also helps to protect the spine from injury.
Improved core muscles: A key benefit of yogilates is in the strengthening and stabilising of the core muscles, as this will help to improve your posture, helping you to sit, stand and walk better. You will also be strengthening and lengthening all of your other muscles, in particularly your arms, legs, abdominals and back muscles, through the range of different stretches and poses.
Lose inches and weight: Yogilates can help you lose some inches by tightening, toning and firming your body. It can also help you to lose some weight. However, it is important to remember that yogilates does not burn a significant amount of calories, so you will not lose a lot of inches or weight with it. It cannot replace your cardio workout but can only supplement it.
A yogilates workout can also help to improve your stamina, as you will
be performing exercises and stretches that allow you to be able to work
at your own pace and gradually increase the resistance of the exercises
as your stamina and fitness improves.