Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

New Delhi: The Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda Yoga and Naturopathy Unani Sidda Homoeopathy) and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports formally recognised yogasana as a competitive sport on Thursday. The announcement was made at a joint press conference held here by the Union Minister of State for AYUSH Shripad Naik and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

While addressing, Naik traced the origins of yogasana competitions to the Indian Yoga tradition.

He said that they are still being conducted today at multiple levels, but a strong and sustainable structure to impart national visibility to the competitions is yet to emerge.

Naik further said that the government's decision to recognise yogasana as a competitive sport comes after 3-4 years of wide consultations with the stakeholders of the yoga sector.

The Minister also said that yogasana is an integral and important component of yoga, which is psycho-physical in nature and popular across the globe for its efficacy in fitness and general wellness.

"Yogasana becoming as a sport will also ensure new technologies and new strategies being inducted into the disciplines, to benefit our athletes and officials towards building fruitful and fulfilling careers in this field," Naik said.

On this occasion, Rijiju said that the competitions that will arise out of the recognition of yogasana as a sport will enhance interest in yoga among people around the globe.

He also said that both the ministries have been closely working together to establish yogasana as a competitive sport and that a plan is being made to include yogasana as a sport discipline in Khelo India and in the University Games.

"We will also pitch it at the National Games but the aim and objective of any sport is to be included in Olympics and this is a beginning of a long journey," Rijiju said, adding that yogasana is going to become a beautiful, attractive and popular sport.

The Secretary AYUSH also informed that various steps or activities will form part of the road map and the future development of yogasana Sport like a pilot yogasana competition named as "National Individual Yogasana Sports Championship" (Virtual Mode) to be held in early 2021.

Launching of an Annual Calendar of competitions, events and programmes of yogasana sport, development of Automated Scoring System for the yogasana championship.

Courses for coaches, referees, judges and directors of competitions, coaching camps for players.

Yogasana as a Sport discipline in National Games, Khelo India and international sports events will be introduced along with steps to create job opportunities for yogasana athletes.

(With IANS Inputs)