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Yoga's promotion as sport not on communal lines: Government

New Delhi:  The government on Wednesday defended its decision to recognise Yoga as a competitive sport, saying it was not done on communal lines and it was high time Yoga is seen as a proper
PTI September 03, 2015 7:13 IST
PTI

New Delhi:  The government on Wednesday defended its decision to recognise Yoga as a competitive sport, saying it was not done on communal lines and it was high time Yoga is seen as a proper game since it is India's age old tradition.

"It's a tradition. It's an age old activity. People across the religion have been practising Yoga. It's high time that Yoga is seen as sport," Onkar Kedia, Joint Secretary in Sports Ministry, said when asked whether the decision was taken on communal lines.

The government on Tuesday placed Yoga in the 'Priority' category, in which only Olympic, Asian and Commonwealth Games disciplines were included before this decision. The Priority category sports receive more funds than disciplines which fall under General and Other Categories.

The Narendra Modi government has been pushing hard for some time to make Yoga an activity which has global presence.

An International Yoga day was also observed on June 21.

Asked if Yoga will not be be restricted to domestic level since other countries do not recognise it as a sport, Kedia said it was only the first step and they would be pondering over how to take it forward.

"We have to find out. There has to be a Federation to take it forward and many other steps will be taken. Things are under discussion," he said on the sidelines of a programme.

Asked if there will be jobs for athletes who will pursue Yoga under Sports quota, Kedia said, "For that a separate order is required."

Kedia also said that the boxers in the country have "suffered" due to the absence of a Federation.

"We have been trying to give support to the boxers.

Things are improving and I am sure boxers will do their best (at Rio Games)," he said.

Talking about suspended Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) Kedia said, "We are waiting for all factions in PCI to unite. We want it to get recognised by the International body.

It will give push to the welfare (of the athletes)," he said.

Asked when will the government withdraw the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan award from IOA President N Ramachandran as directed by the Delhi High Court, Kedia said he has not seen the full order and it will be done at an appropriate time.