New Delhi, February 27: To educate Olympic-bound athletes about the mannerisms and cultural sensitivity in Tokyo, Sports Authority of India (SAI) in association with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday (February 27) organised a workshop for the athletes.
A segment of the Tokyo-bound Olympians and Paralympians attended a workshop in New Delhi which was inaugurated by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
The main aim of the workshop was to intimate the sportspersons with the intricacies of the Japanese culture like commonly used phrases to in day-to-day life to communicate in the foreign land, how to travel in a train in Tokyo, wear the kimono, use chopsticks for proper dining, bowing etiquettes, etc.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Secretary-General Rajiv Mehta and a Japanese delegation comprising Prof Hisashi Sanada, Chairman, Tsukuba International Academy for Sports Studies and Mrs Izumi Egami, a lecturer and a former air-hostess were also present at the workshop.
Some of the athletes that graced the workshop are shooters Manu Bhaker, Sanjeev Rajput, Deepak Kumar, Abhishek Verma, Yashaswini Singh Deswal, wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Deepak Punia, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Divya Kakran, Para-athletes Sandeep Chaudhary and Yogesh Kathuniya, among others.
Talking about the importance of the cultural workshop, the sports minister said, "Japanese culture and etiquette is very elaborate. You (athletes) are representing India as its ambassador. So, this cultural sensitivity activity is very important for you. We along with the IOA and SAI will provide the best support to the athletes. The philosophy of India has taken a full shape in Japan and we want to transcend our deep spiritual connection to the arena of sports as well."
"The lessons from this workshop will help the athletes focus more on their game instead of getting bothered about petty issues like getting accustomed to the surroundings at the games village. Also if they are aware of the Dos and Don'ts of the land then there might be optimum chances of them not getting involved in some controversies," the minister added further.
National wrestling coach Hargobind Singh told MyKhel that such a workshop will be very helpful to the athletes and it will make their lives easier.
"It was a very informative workshop and I am sure the athletes must have benefitted from it. We do try and train the athletes before going overseas to make them aware of the laws of the lands and general etiquettes," said Singh.
Wrestlers Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia agreed with the minister's view and added, "the workshop will help us a lot when we head to Tokyo later this year and will help us understand the Japanese people much better when we are there."
Shooter Abhishek Verma further added, "With the help of this workshop the athletes would be better prepared when they enter the Tokyo Games village. We now know that they value their cultural etiquettes at a much higher level and it's beautiful to see that."
Manners of daily life, from everyday greetings to public dealings and street manners to food culture, everything quintessentially Japanese remained the food for the topic.