The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports along with the Ayush Ministry formally recognized Yogasana as a competitive sport in India.
Making the announcement at a joint press conference, AYUSH minister Sripad Naik on Thursday said the decision comes after three-four years of wide consultations with stakeholders in the yoga sector.
“Yogasana becoming 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 added.
Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju said the competitions that will arise out of the recognition of Yogasana as a sport will enhance interest in Yoga among people around the globe.
“We are planning to include Yogasana as a sport discipline in Khelo India and in the University Games and 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.
The sports discipline of Yogasana is likely to have 51 medals in 4 events and 7 categories.
The proposed events for both men and women include Traditional Yogasana, Artistic Yogasana (Single), Artistic Yogasana (Pair), Rhythmic Yogasana (Pair), Free Flow/Group Yogasana, Individual All Round – Championship and Team Championship.
The AYUSH minister traced the origins of Yogasana competitions to the Indian Yoga tradition, where such competitions have been held for centuries.
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.
“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,” Naik added.
The AYUSH secretary informed that the following steps or activities will form part of the roadmap and the future development of Yogasana sport:
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 programs 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.
Launch of a League of Yogasana, to ensure a career and social status for performers, experts and practitioners, to create Sports Stars among Yogasana athletes.
To introduce Yogasana as a sport discipline in National Games, Khelo India and international sports events.
Steps to create job opportunities for Yogasana athletes.