Modi government planning Olympic-type competition for yoga this year

NEW DELHI: For all the Yoga enthusiasts out there, your Yoga skills will not be hidden from the world anymore. There might come a platform where you can perform a perfect “Surya Namaskar” and even win a medal for it. Modi government promises International Yoga Day to be bigger and better, with “Olympic-type” competition likely to be on the cards. Last year, PM Modi had personally led the inaugural Yoga Day celebrations.

“International Yoga Day is to be celebrated every year now. But it won’t be done in the same way – some changes should be done,” said Yoga Minister Shripad Yesso Naik. “We are thinking about having an Olympic-type yoga competition in Delhi this year for two days before June 21 (Yoga Day).”

The idea behind having a competition for yoga, which isn’t generally regarded as a competitive sport, is to “create a new generation (of yoga practioners)”, said Naik. “When it becomes a competition, the new generation becomes interested.”

The onus of such a mega event would be on the Ayush ministry, the officials of which –  shouldering the  responsibility for implementation of the idea – gave a glimpse into some of the deliberations on the matter.

The competition will be based on how well practitioners perform their individual asanas, they said. “In Delhi, state teams will compete against each other,” said one of the officials. “But the state teams will be chosen based on competitions among village panchayats.”

In the past, many localised yoga competitions have been held across India. Art of Living, for instance, has held Yogathons that involve performing the surya namaskar asana. World yoga championships have been held in different western capitals and there has been talk in the past few years about making it an Olympic sport. However, this will be the first time there’s official Indian backing for promoting yoga competition.

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