Yoga now a competitive sport, championships soon: Sports ministry

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju says National Yogasana Sport Federation of India will prepare a roadmap of events for the next year

While some pasted placards on torso, others wore T-Shirts having photograph of Rahul Bhat | Representational Image

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, has officially recognised yoga as a competitive sport and will soon hold pilot championships to promote the ancient practice.

“Yogasana has been competitive sport for a long time. But it has to be recognised by the government of India so that it becomes an official and recognised competitive sport,” said Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju while promoting yogasana as a competitive sport during an event along with AYUSH Minister of Shripad Yesso Naik on Thursday (December 17).

“The reason behind making yoga a competitive sport is to encourage its practice and to help improve the physical and mental wellbeing of the people,” Naik said.

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The sports minister said the government will provide financial support to the National Yogasana Sport Federation of India (NYSFI) that was recognised as a national sports body last month. The federation will then prepare a roadmap of events for the next year.

The ministry in November last year had also formed an International Yogasana Sports Federation with yoga guru Baba Ramdev as its head and DR HR Nagendra as the general secretary.

“Till now it wasn’t recognised but now that it has come under us, the Sports Ministry will start by providing the NYSF with financial support to make their annual training and calendar,” Rijiju said.

That apart, yogasana will also be added as a sport to the Khelo India Games programme and introduced in school and university competitions.

According to PTI, for competitions, 51 medals have been proposed in four events and seven categories in the sport. The proposed events include traditional yogasana, artistic yogasana (single and pair), rhythmic yogasana (pair, free flow/group yogasana), individual all round-championship and team championship.

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The government has also proposed to organise a pilot championship called National Individual Yogasana Sport Championship in February 2021, which in turn will be followed by district, state, national and world championships.

“Having yogasana as a part of international event like Olympics etc. would provide an opportunity to spread the awareness of Indian yoga and its innumerable health benefits,” Naik said.