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There is good news for Indian athletes who will be participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The ministry has decided to double the daily allowance of the national campers so that they can buy good quality dietary supplements. The ministry has also decided to increase the daily allowances of junior athletes to 75% of the amount that will be provided to senior athletes.
According to the ministry order, athletes that will be competing in power games under Category A that includes boxing, taekwondo, weight lifting and throw events will receive Rs700 per day as compared to the previous Rs320 allowance. Athletes under Category B that include sprinters and team events will get Rs400 daily while those qualifying under Category C that includes golf, shooting and archery will be entitled to Rs300 per day.
The ministry has also released a revised list of 14 branded and generic food supplements that will be procured by the Sport Authority of India (SAI). Athletes who prefer branded food supplements that are not available with SAI will have to approach the national federation to make them available. On the other hand, it is the job of SAI to procure the supplements from companies that have been empowered by the government and if they allow the federations to directly purchase food supplements, the ministry runs the risks of increased dope-related issues in the future.
Independent procurement of food supplements for athletes from different companies can be a rather tricky matter. Even if the ministry has made it mandatory that procurement of food supplements should only be made after getting a certificate for safety and WADA compliance, there is no 100% guarantee that supplements are banned substances. The federation might err on this subject because WADA will never accept a plea for a banned substance once it is found in testing. For the record, WADA has conducted random tests in 45 countries to ascertain the quality of food supplements.
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Can be bridge be considered as a sport? Bridge has a century of history and it has been played in many prestigious tournaments. Whether it is a sport or not will be decided by Her Majesty’s High Court of Justice in London.
Sport England that promotes and finances sports competitions in the country has ruled that bridge and chess are not sports because they lack the required element of physical activity. According to Phil Smith director of Sport England, recognition of bridge as a sport will pave the way for claims from other activities like scrabble. As a result, Sports England was sued by the English Bridge Union. The High Court will decide on the potential government funding and tax benefits that are available to sports but not to games.
According to Smith, the job of Sport England it to make people fitter through physical activities and although bridge is a fantastic pursuit and provides pleasure to most people, it does not fit with their idea of making the nation fitter. Smith also suggested that an avalanche of newly recognized sports might deplete the resources of the British government that support a lot of sports activities.
In a ruling last April, Judge Nicholas Mostyn who was reported by the Press Association as a bridge player, said that there is more physical activity involved in bridge than in rifle shooting. However, the judge did not compare bridge to other sports that are more physically demanding like shuffleboard.
The late actor Omar Sharif was also known as bridge aficionado who wrote newspaper columns and books about the game. In fact, there were efforts to introduce bridge to schoolchildren so as to challenge their minds and sustain the game for the future generations.
At least one major multinational organization has officially classified bridge as a sport. The International Olympic Committee has recognized a long list of sports like Frisbee, competitive life saving and tug of war although they are not actually contested at the Games. Unfortunately, bridge did not make it to the shortlist that will be added to the 2020 Summer Olympics. It lost to sports like climbing, bowling and the martial art wushu.