Tuesday September 18, 2018
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Mary Kom Decides To Opt Out Of Asian Games Squad

Instead of Mary, fellow Manipur star Sarjubala Devi will represent India in the women's 51 kilogram category at the Asiad.

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Mary Kom Decides To Opt Out Of Asian Games Squad
Mary Kom Decides To Opt Out Of Asian Games Squad. Flickr
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Five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom has decided to opt out of the Indian boxing squad for the 2018 Asian Games, which was announced here on Friday.

Instead of Mary, fellow Manipur star Sarjubala Devi will represent India in the women’s 51 kilogram category at the Asiad.

“Sarjubala Devi defeated Pinki Rani in the selection trial to take the final spot in the squad. Both the boxers had earned equal points and share of wins in the last two months and the trial was organised to finalize the last name in the squad,” the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said in a statement on Friday.

“Sarjubala Devi dominated in the trial match and won with rather ease to log in her name on the Asian Games roster.”

When contacted by IANS, Mary stated that she is concentrating on winning gold in the 48kg division at the World Championships to be held here in November.

“I opted out myself because there is is no 48 kilogram category at the Asian Games. Right now I am focussed on winning gold at the World Championships in that weight category,” Mary told IANS.

“Also, I have won medals at the Asian Games which include a gold and bronze in the 51kg event. Now I want to give a chance to the upcoming youngsters,” she added.

Replying to query by IANS, the  stressed that the five-time world champion is not in the squad since her preferred weight category is not included at the Asiad.

“She is not excluded. The Asian Games has only three weight categories in women’s boxing (51kg, 57kg and 60kg) where respective players will represent India,” the BFI said.

Apart from Sarjubala, 2016 World Championship silver medalist Sonia Lather (57kg) and Pavitra (60kg) will represent India in the women’s events.

Ms. Universe bollywood actress Susmita Sen and Boxer M C Mary Kom at Guwahati IIT Monday , December 15 ,2013
Ms. Universe bollywood actress Susmita Sen and Boxer M C Mary Kom at Guwahati IIT Monday , December 15 ,2013. flickr

Among the men’s Vikas Krishan (75kg) who has previously won a gold and bronze at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games respectively, will spearhead the Indian challenge.

Reigning Commonwealth Games (CWG) champion Gaurav Solanki (52 Kg), who recently won gold at the Chemistry Cup. also made the cut and will look to emulate his CWG run at the Asian Games.

CWG bronze medallist Mohammad Hussamuddin (56kg) and silver medallist, Amit Panghal (49kg) have also been named in the squad and will hope to shine on their debut at the continental event.

Former CWG champion Manoj Kumar (69Kg), who has struggled with his form over the past several months, will aim to prove himself once again.

Providing depth to the squad will be World Championship bronze medallist Shiva Thapa, who will make his return to the squad after missing out on the Commonwealth Games.

“In the trial held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Friday, CWG silver medallist Manish Kaushik felt short as tThapa stamped his position in the squad,” the BFI statement said.

“Kaushik in the past has twice won against Shiva, but the experienced boxer from Assam looked determined and left the Army pugilist reeling in the middle of the squared ring to earn his berth for the Asiad.”

In the trials for the 64kg weight category, Army boxer Dheeraj defeated Rohit Tokas to book his place in the national squad. Dheeraj is in good form at present and had taken bronze at the 2018 Chemistry Cup.

“In order to keep the selection process transparent, BFI had taken into account performances of all the pugilists from January 2018 with the CWG holding the utmost importance along with performances in the series of international exposure trips that were conducted in the last month alone for the men and women boxers. Along with their international performances the selection committee also accounted their performance in camp, physical status and injury history while finalising the final names,” the federation said.

Also read: Mary Kom aims to win a gold medal at the 2020 Olympics

The 2018 Asian Games will be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 1, with the boxing events starting on August 24. (IANS)

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Boxing for Fitness Takes the Fight to Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson's mainly affects the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. That leads to a lack or a loss of dopamine, which contributes to the movement difficulties

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The Rock Steady Boxing nonprofit was founded in 2006 by attorney Scott C. Newman, who was looking for ways to stay active after being diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 40. Pixabay

Rock Steady Boxing NOVA gym opened in McLean, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C., last December. That was the good news for 75-year-old Neil Eisner, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s six years ago and finds boxing an effective way to fight back against the disease.

Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) was designed especially for people with Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to tremors and balance problems. Each exercise in the program focuses on a specific skill — one is combining punches on a bag to work on strength, another is crawling across the floor. Eisner says the exercises help him perform everyday tasks like moving around and getting in and out of bed.

Some strengthening exercises target vocal cords. “One of the things that’s interesting enough is [Parkinson’s patients] tend to have a [softer] voice. When you have that lower voice, and people can’t hear you, you don’t realize. So, he asks us to bring our voice clearly and more loudly,” Eisner said.

Becoming an RSB trainer

For personal trainer Alec Langstein, working with an older population is familiar. He understands their health issues and the need for them to stay active.

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Parkinson’s patient Jim Coppula gets some pointers from his daughter Ellen as he works out on a bag during his Rock Steady Boxing class in Costa Mesa, California, Sept. 18, 2013. (VOA)

“My aunt has a gym in Westchester, New York, and she does a Rock Steady Boxing program there,” he said. “She invited me up to her gym to check out the program. She thought it would be a perfect fit for what I do. I helped out with a few classes, and it was just, I thought, an amazing program.”

The Rock Steady Boxing nonprofit was founded in 2006 by attorney Scott C. Newman, who was looking for ways to stay active after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 40. Since then, more than 500 boxing programs have been introduced in the U.S. and around the world.

Langstein went to the organization’s headquarters to become an RSB-licensed trainer, and a few months later, he opened his Rock Steady Boxing NOVA gym.

“It’s a typical boxing program,” he explained. “They focus on balance, hand-eye coordination, reaction, footwork. There is some cognitive stuff because in boxing, certain numbers equal certain punches. So, when I yell certain numbers, you have to move and react at the same time. So, the brain and the body are working together. It’s also taking out the aggression some people may have out of having the disease.”

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A Parkinson’s patient waits for his training session in the ring during his Rock Steady Boxing session in Costa Mesa, California, Sept. 16, 2013. (VOA)

Improving quality of life

To understand how RSB can help Parkinson’s patients, physical therapist Danielle Sequira says it’s important to know what triggers the symptoms.

“Parkinson’s mainly affects the dopamine-producing cells in the brain. That leads to a lack or a loss of dopamine, which contributes to the movement difficulties,” she said.

While boxing and other exercises don’t cure the disease or stop the dopamine decline, they can improve the patient’s quality of life. Exercises can be modified for people with Parkinson’s, including those in wheelchairs.

“The research shows that exercise helps the brain use dopamine more efficiently,” Sequira said. “My goal usually, after I work with some of my patients with Parkinson’s, is to refer them out to get involved in an exercise program out in the community.”

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Parkinson’s patients stretch as they begin their workout at Rock Steady Boxing in Costa Mesa, California, Sept. 16, 2013. (VOA)

The social effect

RSB seems to have helped Victoria Hebert reduce the symptoms of her Parkinson’s. She has a tremor in her left hand, and says certain situations trigger it.

“Being cold, being hot, or sitting with a crowd I’m not very comfortable with, I can’t help starting to shake. I end up having to sit on my hand just to keep it still,” she said.

Also Read: Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson’s Progression

But with this crowd, Hebert doesn’t feel the need to hide the disease. “These people have become very close in the four or five months we’ve been together.”

“That’s the big part of it, sharing experiences with others,” she added. “I have to say, it’s very embarrassing, but over eight years of time I’ve never met another person with Parkinson’s. Then, I came here, and it was like a whole class of 20, 25 people with it. It was kind of surprising to me, kind of surprising that I, myself, didn’t reach out to anybody before that.” (VOA)