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A long way to go for women in sports: Saina Nehwal

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New Delhi: Sania Mirza’s latest Grand Slam triumph at Wimbledon is a testament to what Indian women are capable of achieving, but there is a long way to go before change sets in for most women who wish to take up sports as a profession in this country, feels badminton ace Saina Nehwal.

In the past few years, the likes of Sania, Dipika Pallikal (squash), Saina, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa (all badminton) have done India proud with their unprecedented feats.

Picture from www.speakingtree.in
Picture from www.speakingtree.in

However, World No.2 Saina admits that despite the global success of Indian women in sports, there is a lack of enthusiasm for sports education for girls in the country.

“Changes are happening and girls continue to outperform and excel in life, but there is still a long way to go when it comes to sports. Women are traditionally not encouraged to indulge in sports,” Saina told IANS in an email interaction on her association with Microsoft’s #MakeItHappen campaign.

As part of the campaign, she has motivated Indian youth to follow their dreams – via a video titled “Umeedein” – and shows sports being brought into an all-girls school.

“Apart from being a relevant topic, it is close to my heart and one that has the potential of giving this country many more proud moments,” said Saina, who brought home the first and only Olympic medal for India in badminton.

“The video carries a message for the Indian youth to follow their dreams. I wanted to communicate to parents and stakeholders to let girls experiment and give them freedom of choice so that they can opt for the best possible career for them,” she said of the initiative.

The Hyderabadi also stressed while “female education is something everyone can get enthused about, but when it comes to girls taking up sports as a profession, that enthusiasm vanishes”.

Photo from naidunia.jagran.com AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA
Photo from naidunia.jagran.com
AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA

“One of the reasons is the assumption that sports cannot be a profession for girls and that it distracts them from doing well at studies. In my experience, I have met a lot of girls who are equally interested in sports but lack a proper direction to take their interest forward,” said the 25-year-old.

“They are still being pushed to do well at studies and try and build a career in professions ‘perceived’ as made for girls. People, especially, from tier-II and tier-III towns are often disadvantaged as they do not get as many opportunities as people from the metros. We need good sports people who can make our country proud.”

Saina’s said her professional entry into the sport was by chance.

“I was spotted by coach P.S.S. Nani Prasad Rao in Hyderabad. He agreed to take me under his wing as a trainee at the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) summer camp in 1999. I have been fortunate to have always got encouragement and support. I was spotted while playing at school. Hence, I am a big believer of encouraging girls to take up sports,” she said, adding that there’s no ideal age for sports education.

Saina also hopes her story, “among other stories of success, can help bring about a nationwide change in the mindset of people who still go by old perceptions”.

(IANS)

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Indian Expert Claims that Russia Might help India in Nuclear Medicine

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Nuclear power must be developed.
Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi in a conversation. Wikimedia Commons.

Given the current high costs of making radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine, there is considerable scope of collaboration between India and Russia for their manufacture at affordable cost, according to an Indian expert.

Chandigarh-based Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Professor Baljinder Singh told IANS here on the sidelines of the just-concluded 10th Atomexpo organised by Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom that such cooperation has become essential in view of the global shortage of molybdenum, isotopes of which are used in tens of millions of medical diagnostic procedures annually.

The molybdenum isotope 99mTc, for instance, is the most commonly used medical radioisotope worldwide.

“The molybdenum daughter radionuclide 99mTc is used the world over for imaging on gamma cameras,” Singh said.

“Most nuclear reactors have molybdenum as a by-product — there is a shortage of which globally.”

Singh, who is a jury member at the Atomexpo2018 for selecting the best research projects in the category “Nuclear Technologies for better Healthcare”, pointed out that as a leader in civilian nuclear technology, India is among a few countries making “significant” efforts to produce radioisotopes.

“India has made significant strides in this direction and the task of developing Linear Accelerator (LINAC) technology has been undertaken by Sameer (Society of Applied Microwave Electronics and Engineering and Research) located in IIT Mumbai,” he said.

“It is a Rs 100-crore project being funded by the Telecommunications Ministry. Apart from India, Canada and Russia are the only other countries undertaking advanced level research in this area.”

According to him, in view of the importance of nuclear medicine in early detection of cancer and the recent emergence of new radionuclides for effective treatment, an effort is needed in India to provide these at an affordable cost.

Partnering with a foreign institute having nuclear facility for production of medically useful radioisotopes, and radiochemistry training are required urgently as we have no such course in the country as yet," he said.
The two dignitaries sharing a light moment. Wikimedia Commons.

“Developed countries like the US and Japan have about four PET (positron emission tomography) scanners per million population followed by Europe at 2, and Australia at 1.6 per million. India scores very low with 0.1 PET scanners per million population,” Singh said.

“To have a reasonable ratio of 1 PET scanner per million population over the next ten years, India needs about 1,400 PET scanners and an equal number of gamma cameras.”

Read also: Merkel Told Putin, US Complicated Middle East Situation

He suggested that through tie-ups with Russia, India could arrange to be supplied with such imaging equipment at affordable cost.

Singh’s wish list at this Black Sea resort includes a collaboration with Russia in human capacity building in this area.

“We urgently require international collaboration on radiopharmacy training, as there is no such facility in India.”

Partnering with a foreign institute having nuclear facility for production of medically useful radioisotopes, and radiochemistry training are required urgently as we have no such course in the country as yet,” he said.

“Panjab University, Chandigarh, has taken a lead in starting an M.Sc Nuclear Medicine programme in 2007, jointly with PGIMER.”

Singh is hoping that his agenda would figure in the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled to take place here next week. IANS.