The Department of Ayurvedga, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy has approved the move to declare yoga a sport. Narendra Modi’s government have aimed to bring yoga into the global spotlight, and this move is likely to help bring yoga more recognition around the world.
University Sports have been moved up to the ‘priority’ sports category, while other sports such as fencing have been moved to the ‘general’ category, whereas fencing had been in the ‘other’ category up until now.
The different sports categories come with differing amounts of financial assistance from the government. Although there has not yet been a final decision, the Yoga Federation is likely to have its funding increased. In addition to this, the Federation is likely to host international events and its national championships in India.
A sports ministry official commented on the status of yoga as a sport: “Yoga as a sport can create plenty of jobs and even in terms of fitness, it will help to create awareness. Most of the sportspersons already practice yoga. So it’s logical to have it as a sport.”
In most cases, with yoga being the exception, sports are only categorized in the ‘priority’ status when they are played on an international level such as the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, or the Asian Games.
Those sports disciplines that have been included in the major sporting events and have been ranked up to 10th for team events, and up to 8th for individual events, will still be categorized, however, they will fall within the ‘general’ sports category. Financial assistance will be given accordingly.