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Spotlight on India's hallmark, yoga, to increase soon

The world of sport could witness the ushering in of a new era when yoga becomes a competitive sport.

India’s largest global presence?

Crossfit may have heralded the arrival of the sport of fitness, but it seems that the world of sport could witness the ushering-in of a new era when yoga becomes a competitive sport. On Monday, the 31st of August 2015, the Sports Ministry recognized yoga as a sport and granted it ‘Priority’ status alongside sports like football, swimming, squash and chess.

The government’s determination to increase the ancient Indian exercise’s global recognition is evident. The order from the Department of Personnel and Training to the Sports Ministry was followed by paperwork moving at record speed and and official recognition was granted. The approval of the Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) was an important factor.

Funding to the Yoga Federation of India is expected to increase with this decision and this will allow them more freedom in hosting national and international events in the country. According to an official, – “Yoga as a sport can create plenty of jobs and even in terms of fitness, it will help to create awareness. Most of the sportspersons already practice yoga. So it’s logical to have it as a sport”.

A noteworthy point is that a sport should be a part of the Olympics, Asian or Commonwealth Games to receive a ‘priority’ status, apart from the fact that the country should be competitive globally in it, according to ministry regulations. This has been relaxed in the case of yoga and there are reports of including yoga in National Games as well as continental events. 

Another minor sport to receive a boost is fencing, based on the preformance of Indian athletes in major international events. The government’s drive to increase the importance of sports in the country was seen as ‘University Sports’ were shifted to ‘Priority’ category.

The statuses of several other sports were re-assigned and the allocation of financial assistance to them was revised.

The Ministry decided that the categorization of certain sports as ‘General’ will continue, though the criteria for inclusion in this category and plans for funding would be seperately announced. Individual sports that have secured up to 8th spot and team sports that have secured upto 10th spot in either Olympics, World Championships,Asian Games or Commonwealth Games will be classigied as ‘General’. Funding to conduct national championships and one international tournament in India will be granted to these sports.


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