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The year started with the anticipation that is characteristic of an Olympic year. This time, however, there were also rumblings of uncertainty in the background. The coronavirus pandemic had started to make itself heard outside of China and before the end of the first month of the year, major sports events started falling to the pandemic.
The Tokyo Olympics was scheduled to start on July 24 and the calendar until that date was crammed with last-minute qualifiers for a number of sports. For India, the initial blows came in the form of the Asian boxing Olympic qualifiers, which were scheduled to be held in Wuhan — the city that ended up becoming ground zero for the virus — being postponed and shifted to Amman, Jordan, and the women’s hockey team’s tour to China being canceled due to the pandemic.
Apart from the problems with holding the qualifiers, international travel restrictions and different levels of restriction on movements around the world left the organizers with little choice but to take up the unprecedented step of postponing the Olympics. The Tokyo Games will now be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
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To what extent the pandemic caught the organizers and stakeholders off guard is testified by the fact that on March 4 — 19 days before the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, and the Japanese government announced the postponement of the Olympics — IOC president Thomas Bach was still comparing the situation to the myriad other problems that previous editions of the Olympics faced months before they started.
“We had (before the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games) a situation where we did not know if we could have Games on the Korean peninsula (because of tensions with North Korea). Before Rio de Janeiro 2016 we were talking about the Zika virus. Boycott discussions about Moscow in 1980, we had the counter-boycott in Los Angeles in 1984. We had a terrorist attack in Munich in 1972. We had the African boycott in 1976. You need more?” said Bach at a press conference after a two-day meeting at the organization’s headquarters.
The majority of cancellations or postponement of sports events in India came during March, including big-ticket cricket events like the ODI leg of South Africa’s tour of India and the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL). On March 12, the Sports Ministry issued an advisory asking for all sports events to be held only if they are unavoidable and spectators won’t be allowed to any of them. The advisory was also marked to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which promptly announced the postponement of the IPL. On March 19, the ministry put out another advisory calling for no sports events to be held until April 15.
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The April 15 deadline was only a temporary one and it kept extending as the government renewed the lockdown that was put down in the country on March 25 and in May, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that there would be no sporting events in India for the foreseeable future.
A silence pregnant with uncertainty prevailed in the country’s sports community during this period, only pierced by virtual events involving current and former athletes and administrative issues like a turf war within the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and National Sports Federations (NSF) losing recognition provided by the Sports Ministry due to a Delhi High Court order.
Just under a week before Rijiju’s comments, however, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) issued detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for a phased resumption of sporting activities in the country, starting with training for Olympic bound athletes.
India’s top athletes were mostly housed either at the National Institute of Sport in Patiala or the SAI center in Bengaluru, Karnataka and the issuing and implementation of the SOPs meant that they could finally get out of their respective hostel rooms and do things that at least slightly resembled their normal training routines.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: 22 साल में पहली बार आस्ट्रेलियन ओपन में नहीं खेलेंगे फेडरर
By the end of July, murmurs of the IPL is set to be held in the UAE started doing the rounds. With the number of infections continuing to a spike in India, the BCCI finally decided to hold the tournament in the UAE while implementing strict bio-security rules. Artificial crowd noises filled up the silence that existed in the stadiums during the broadcast as the 2020 IPL was held from September 19 to November 10.
With that, men’s international cricket also restarted for India with the team traveling to Australia for their full tour of the country right after the IPL. However, there is yet to be a concrete plan for the Indian women’s team while any form of domestic cricket tournaments will take place only in 2021.
It has been a similar case in other sports as well with international tournaments that were set to be held in India and national championships of different sports being postponed to next year. Those athletes that did get some game time under their belts did so outside the country, like badminton and tennis players who participated in tournaments once their respective sports’ international calendars restarted.
Indian boxers were taken on an extended European tour in October and they managed to participate in local tournaments in France and Italy. More importantly, the boxers could spar again once they reached Europe, something that they were not allowed to do according to the SOPs and the NIS where they were situated.
Wrestlers also got a chance to get back on to the mat at the wrestling Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia, although a few of the top wrestlers chose to give the tournament a miss.
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Preparation for an Olympics is a meticulous process with almost every month of a medal prospect accounted for during the four-year period between two Games. For many, it was this structured process that was delivered a body blow when the 2020 Games were postponed but now, it is all about making the most of whatever 2021 has in store for them and be prepared once again for a first-ever postponed Olympics. (IANS)
Fashion's biggest extravaganza, The Met Gala 2021, made a comeback with a vengeance after a skip in 2020 due to the pandemic. The theme for this year's gala was 'In America: A Lexicon of Fashion', and as usual in attendance were a long list of celebrities including actors, musicians and sportpersons. Many fashion houses and celebrities chose to dazzle with the dark side of fashion as capes, leather, face masks and all kinds of drama unfolded at the event, as black ruling the red carpet with its darker vibe.
Met Gala regulars like Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Sharon Stone, Emily Blunt, Irina Shayk, Gigi Hadid and the Kardashian-Jenner siblings were spotted alongside debutantes like 18-year-old British tennis star Emma Raducanu who recently won the US Open, Rose Leslie from 'The Game of Thrones', gymnast Nia Dennis and Justin and Hailey Beiber who walked the Me carpet together for the first time.
The event is hosted by Vogue's Dame Anna Wintour and is held annually at The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Here's a look at some of the stars who chose to walk on the darker side:
The event is hosted by Vogue's Dame Anna Wintour and is held annually at The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City. | IANS
Keywords: Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Sharon Stone, Emily Blunt, Irina Shayk, Gigi Hadid, the Kardashian-Jenner, Emma Raducanu, Met Gala
Many young and middle-aged people today are dying of sudden heart attacks. Studies show that cardiovascular diseases (CVD) strike Indians a decade earlier compared to their Western counterparts. Why is this happening? How can we prevent it? Are we just focused on post-heart attack action? Or should we be focused more on prevention?
Luke Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach -- Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine shares an input that could prevent heart attacks at a young age:
Cholesterol is not the culprit, inflammation is: Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. The main reasons behind most heart attacks are inflammation and oxidative damage in the heart, blood vessels, endothelial lining, arteries, and more. While maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is important, we cannot blame heart attacks on cholesterol levels alone. What then can you do to keep inflammation in check and your heart strong? Adopt simple lifestyle changes.
Many people believe that high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are the sole culprits behind their heart attacks. | Flickr
Switch from ordinary substandard cooking oils to cold-pressed oils: Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. Choose the right quality and quantity of oil to boost your heart health. It might cost you a few extra bucks, but remember, your health is not a cost but an investment.
Refined oils are highly inflammatory and a threat to your heart. Using refined oils just to save some money isn't a wise idea. | Photo by Ashwini Chaudhary on Unsplash
Switch from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one: Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. Choose fun workouts that you enjoy -- dancing, aerobics, Zumba, swimming, whatever it is, but keep that body moving. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are at high risk of heart attacks. Having said that, over-working out with little orno rest or recovery period is equally harmful. So, figure out the adequate level of activity your body needs and stick to it.
Even if you don't engage in a full-fledged workout, just stay active. Walking and yoga are the most effective exercises. | Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash
Don't take matters to your heart: Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. While stress is inevitable, what sets a happy person apart from a stressed person is their capacity to diffuse and navigate stress and see things in a positive light. You can continue attending stress management classes and workshops, and while all of them can help you feel better for some time, the real change happens when you start changing your perspective towards life and how you relate to stress.Learn to accept and let go. Build your self-worth, create a beautiful inner world, reflect inwards, and allow these teachings to slip into your daily living.
Before renting out your heart space and mind space to a person, event or experience, ask yourself if it is worth it. |cPhoto by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
Fix your sleep routine: There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. Your body only cares about survival. Remember, your sleep is your heart's free drug. The chronic deprivation of it can increase your risk of a heart attack. Your heart is a muscle that needs recovery. Lack of sleep increases your insulin resistance and makes you more prone to type-2 diabetes and a gamut of metabolic conditions. So, adopt a fixed sleeping schedule and sleep deep.
There is nothing cool about pulling an all-nighter to work or socialize more. | Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA on Unsplash
We cannot wait for more misfortunate incidents to realize the importance of lifestyle and start prioritizing it. We must wake up and work towards prevention. Many of us may go through heart disease later in life, no matter how well we exercise or eat clean. So, identify risk factors and work towards tackling them. Even if one of your risk factors is genetic predisposition and there is nothing you can do about it, you can still alter your lifestyle. Our intelligent human body was designed to fix and heal itself. The least we can do is invest in it and help it do its job effectively. Lifestyle can help you bridge this gap.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: lifestyle, heart, oil, stress, sleep, human, body, health, heart attack
When it comes to burgers, its not just the patty that makes it all worthwhile... one can't forget the cheese or the crunchy lettuce either. In India, McDonald's ensures their burgers use the freshest produce, which means that don't use any ordinary lettuce. The iceberg variety was first introduced in India by McDonald's, as early as the 90s, at a time when not many people were familiar with lettuce and used cabbage instead. Lettuce is a key ingredient known for its crunch, its odourless and is ideal for salads, sandwiches and burgers.
The fast food giant collaborated with local Indian suppliers and pioneered the local production of iceberg lettuce in the country. Their lettuce undergoes 30 quality and food safety checks. After harvesting, the lettuce is pre-cooled to a temperate of below 40C at the farm gate to maintain its freshness. It is then transported in refrigerated vehicles to the world-class processing plant where it is shredded to a measured length and width and then washed and cleaned thoroughly before being vacuum-packed.
The fast food giant collaborated with local Indian suppliers and pioneered the local production of iceberg lettuce in the country | Photo by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash
Today, the lettuce that goes into your favourite burger is produced at a pristine height of 10,000 feet under the rain shadow areas of the Himalayas in the Manali and Lahaul districts. Over the last 15 years, the farm base that produces lettuce for McDonald's menu items has grown from 5 acres to more than 100 acres. The process for growing lettuce is very rigorous and thoroughly monitored starting with the selection of seed variety, nursery production, fertigation, integrated pest management and post-harvest technology. Over the years, the company has continued to engage with local suppliers in good agricultural practices, meeting the Gold Standards of food safety and hygiene. It has transferred global best practices in irrigation, pest control, seed selection benefitting nearly 250 small and marginal farmers across the country. These practices ensure the right conditions for the iceberg lettuce to grow.
With over 60 years of experience in developing the best quality standards for the industry to follow, it continues to build and strengthen the foundation of good food practices and knowledge transfer, while serving great-tasting menu items at a value to its customers. "At McDonald's, we are committed to offering great tasting food using high quality ingredients to our customers. To offer the best to our esteemed customers, we take extra care in ensuring that the highest levels of hygiene and food safety are maintained at every step of how our food is produced, where its ingredients are sourced from and how it is processed . We are committed to responsible sourcing and supporting farmers community growing lettuce for us." said Rajeev Ranjan, COO, McDonald's India , North and East.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: burger, india, lettuce, McDonalds, locals, North, East