Indian Olympic Association campaigns for yoga’s integration at Asian Games

IOA president PT Usha has suggested yoga be included as a sport at the Asian Games.
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Indian Olympic Association chief PT Usha has proposed the inclusion of yoga as a competitive sport in the Asian Games. In a communication to Olympic Council of Asia president Raja Randhir Singh, the former sprinter emphasized starting with the continental event before aiming for the Olympics.

“The international community celebrated the 10th International Day of Yoga on 21 June, with a remarkable response to its global appeal,” she stated in the letter. “Communities worldwide have embraced Yoga and experienced its benefits.”

“As the spiritual birthplace of Yoga and as Vishwaguru, India can lead the campaign for incorporating the sport in the Asian Games and eventually the Olympic Games,” she added.

She also highlighted the initiative by the Paris Olympics organizers to conduct yoga sessions at the Louvre Museum ahead of the upcoming Summer Games.

“It is encouraging to see the Louvre embracing Yoga. It is our duty to promote the sport’s recognition by securing its inclusion in the Asian Games and Olympic Games,” she commented.

The four-time gold medalist at the Asian Games further explained the support from the Indian government, particularly from Sports Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, towards achieving this objective.

“He shared that he believes participation in the Asian Games would be a stepping stone to eventually taking the sport to the Olympics. We must showcase our indigenous sport on such prestigious platforms,” PT Usha expressed.

“Yoga as a sport could appeal to broadcasters,” she continued. “Yoga has been integrated into the Khelo India Games. Following its success, the National Games organizers in Goa included Yoga, including Mallakhambh and Yogasanas, in the program. I am optimistic that the Olympic Council of Asia will find compelling reasons to accept my proposal.”

In August 2020, the National Yoga Sports Federation (NYSF) was established, which was recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as yoga’s national federation in November 2020. The main objective behind this move was to promote and enhance yogasana as a competitive discipline. However, in the process of transforming yoga into a sport, seven out of the eight traditional limbs were overlooked, focusing solely on the physical aspect, known as asana.

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