Yoga to become part of Asian Games as a competitive discipline

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Yoga to become part of Asian Games as a competitive discipline
05-Jul-24 08:32:55

Yoga's inclusion in the Asian Games progresses with the establishment of National Yogasana Sport Federation of India. The United Nations acknowledged 'International Yoga Day' on June 21, thanks to PM Modi's efforts.

NEW DELHI: The ancient sport of yoga was on Monday included in the future Asian Games programme at an executive board meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which is headed by its acting Indian president Randhir Singh.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president PT Usha, who had written a letter to OCA chief on June 26, requesting for the inclusion of yoga as a sport in the Asian Games, confirmed the development and said the proposal will now move through the IOA's sports committee to the OCA's general assembly meeting, scheduled to be held in Delhi on Sep 8.

The meeting will see OCA ratifying yoga's inclusion in the Games as a competitive sport. It's been learnt that PM Modi was keen on yoga's inclusion in the Games programme. IOA promptly took this initiative keeping in mind that OCA is headed by Singh - a former secretary general of IOA and former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
According to sources, yoga will be included as a demonstration sport with no medals on offer at the Asian Games in 2026, to be held in Japan's Nagoya. It will be added as a competitive sport with medal rounds at the Doha Asiad in 2030.

"I am delighted that the OCA EB spontaneously agreed to India's request to give yoga the recognition it deserves. The inclusion of yoga was an important step as it helps the competitive sporting community to embrace yoga. It has a universal appeal and people around the world have embraced yoga and drawn benefits," Usha said in a statement.
The sport will see participation in five events - traditional yogasana, artistic yogasana (single and pair), rhythmic yogasana (pair, free flow/group yogasana), individual all round-championships and team championships. A total of 15 medals each (5 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze) will be on offer in both men's and women's events.

In December 2020, the ministries of youth affairs and sports, and AYUSH, had formally recognised 'yogasana' as a competitive sport, paving the way for its inclusion as medal-event discipline in some of the government-endorsed domestic competitions such as Khelo India's school and university games and National Games.
A National Yogasana Sport Federation of India (NYSFI) has been established for preservation and development of yoga as a competitive sport. The federation was recognised by the sports ministry as a national sports federation (NSF) in Nov 2020. An International Yogasana Sports Federation (IYSF) was formed in Nov 2019, with yoga guru Baba Ramdev as its president and Dr H R Nagendra as the secretary general.

The development marks an important chapter for yoga, which is believed to have started with the dawn of Indian civilisation and whose origin can be traced thousands of years ago. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had declared June 21 as the 'International Yoga Day' on December 11, 2014 at the behest of PM Narendra Modi during his address to the UNGA that year.