Tag: Sports

The Euphoria called Football

The FIFA world cup kicked off on Thursday by Saudi Arabia and Russia in the latter’s capital of Moscow. For an entire month, the world will be gripped in the ecstasy of football. Thousands of fans will be attending the event in 11 cities across Russia with millions more joining in from all across the world through the power of television and the internet. A sport, loved so much, that people spend sleepless nights to watch their favourite teams play in this tremendous tournament.

1930 was the year when this quadrennial event began. The venue for this watershed moment in sporting history was Uruguay. A mere 13 countries participated; because crossing the Atlantic Ocean was a perilous task back then. It took almost 3 weeks to travel from Europe to South America. Even though it was a small tournament, the effect it had was a large one. In succeeding world cups, the number of teams participating to qualify for the tournament kept on increasing and the desire to lift the trophy even more so.

We have come a long way from the 1930s. The 2018 world cup has 32 countries competing for the title of world champions; and over 200 countries who participated in the qualifiers for the world cup. The excitement is not just for winning the cup, but also for hosting it! The hosts for the next two world cups have already been declared with Qatar hosting it in 2022 and United States, Mexico and Canada, jointly hosting the one after that in 2026 (Which is going to be the largest one ever, with more than 40 countries). Such is the craze for the FIFA world cup.

Even a country like India where cricket is considered to be the ‘unofficial’ national sport football too has a great following. Millions across India tune in to watch the various European clubs compete for the title in their respective leagues. India has one of the largest viewers of football in the world. With India hosting the U-17 World Cup, being victorious in the recently hosted continental cup and advent of Indian Super League, football too is rising up to the position which cricket presently holds. It will not be long before football becomes a ‘religion’ like cricket is in India. But what is it that makes this game just so wonderful to look at and play?

Football is the kind of game which keeps you at the edge of your seat. For those 90 minutes nothing else matters, just the football and shooting it into the back of the net. In the blink of an eye the tide can change. From being down 1-0 to leading the game by 2-1, the exhilarating moments and breath-taking movements on the pitch keeping even the non-followers glued to the screen. When you play the game, you feel what the players who are playing for their countries feel. The unparalleled adrenaline rush of getting past the defenders and kicking the ball into the back of the net. It is a feeling which all of us experience, whether it is playing or watching the game. Personally, I never used to watch football; but since the exciting final of the 2014 World Cup, I’ve become a follower of the sport. Making sure that I watch the important fixtures across all leagues if not following it religiously. Any chance I get to play, I make sure that I do. At the end of the match, regardless of whether you won or lost; watching or playing; those 90 minutes are just simply euphoric. If you meet someone who doesn’t speak your language, football will be your connection. That’s the reason why football is so popular across the globe. It brings the people closer, the countries closer and inadvertently, the world closer to each other.

Priyamvad Rai

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There’s also this doping you know

In recent weeks, there has been an increase in ‘doping’ among many athletes, ranging from different sports, just a few months back the Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was convicted of doping. But many don’t know about another type of doping that has remained hidden from the spotlight.

In this age of cycling competition, feather light carbon fibre bikes cost more than a car and the also the difference between gold medal and nothing. Every single aerodynamic of the cycle, even the rider’s position on it matters. Cycling as many used to think of it as a simple sport, no longer is. It has many scientific and technological advancements that weigh in on the factors of the competition.

For years organizers of cycling competitions have fought the ever increasing biological doping amongst the participants, the controversy of Lance Armstrong still reamins fresh iin the minds of not only avid fans of the sport but amongst the other participants too. But now, a different kind of doping has emerged and that is mechanical doping. Yes, you read that correct.

There had been many rumors that riders had found ways to hide tiny metal motors or magnets in their cycle’s wheels or frame to draw out couple of more watts of power and gain the edge over other cyclists. In this age of technology, motors as tiny as a 15gb pen drive exist and can be easily concealed. Initially, it was considered that mechanical doping was fantastical and nobody would stoop so low to win by cheating. But it has increased and the technology is out there, and not just the technology which helps you win, but the technology to hide it too.

Due to this particular problem, organizers have to inspect the cycle too and take it apart if there’s some kind of doubt on a particular cyclist. This is an inconvenience to both the organizers who try to develop an atmosphere of fairplay and the cyclists who see their well maintained and carefully calculated cycles, along with the embarrasment and their reputation being taken apart in front of the public. The International Cycling Union is worried about this particualr problem and is hard at work to develop a system to tackle it effectively.

No one really knows what compels the participants, of not just cycling, but of any other sport to take this down trodden path to a victory which they’ll never be able to cherish in the coming years. But that is not the problem, and the problem is to cut off any kind of path to cheating and doping and that my readers, is the real problem as well as the solution.

Priyamvad Rai