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Home Guest Columns A huge responsibility lies ahead for agriculture in sports

A huge responsibility lies ahead for agriculture in sports

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When millions of people are struggling for freshwater, why sports is wasting millions of litres of water every day? This question is going to be the biggest challenge for sports soon. While the communities are going to fight for water, many sports such as golf, football and cricket are going to be severely affected by that situation. These sports need fresh water for maintaining the natural grass, which aesthetically makes these sports stunning.

Sports need grass fields not only for the game days but also for practice. Even though the artificial turfs are promoting as a substitute for natural grass, the people who played in both the surfaces will prefer natural grass over artificial turf due to many reasons. So, Sports Agriculture is going to play a key role in keeping these sports beautiful. The responsibility of sports agriculture is developing hybrid sporting grass varieties which need less water and withstands high temperatures. 

 Sports need grass fields not only for the game days but also for practice.
 Sports need grass fields not only for the game days but also for practice.

The relationship between sports and agriculture starts along with the origin of human beings. During the ancient Olympics, the Olive wreath was the prize for the winners. It was a branch of the wild olive tree that grew at Olympia. Many modern sports such as golf, cricket and hockey originated from the agrarian community, especially shepherds who had good leisure time during cattle rearing. Agriculture-related activities inspire many sports events such as timber sports, Kalapoottu (cattle race in the paddy fields of Kerala) and Jallikattu (in Tamil Nadu). 

Aesthetics of most of the sports events were redefined by the natural grass. Natural grass turfs made games such as football, cricket, baseball, hockey, golf and lawn tennis beautiful. The invention of the lawnmower was a revolution in sports. The first lawn mower was invented by Edwin Budding in 1830, England. 

Budding’s mower was designed primarily to cut the grass on sports grounds and extensive gardens. Lawn mower was the catalyst for the preparation of modern-style sporting ovals, playing fields (pitches), grass courts, etc. This led to the codification of modern rules for many sports, including for football, lawn bowls, lawn tennis and others.

Even in the era of a wide variety of synthetic components, different wood varieties such as maple woods, oak and ash are used commonly for sports flooring. The advantages of wood flooring are Shock Absorption, Ball Bounce, Easy Maintenance, Customization and Uniformity. 

Sports goods manufacturers are depending on various types of trees to get wood
Sports goods manufacturers are depending on various types of trees to get wood

Sports goods manufacturers are depending on various types of trees to get wood for making different sports goods such as cricket bat, hockey stick and rackets. The major trees are Kashmiri willow, English willow, sugar maple, white ash, mulberry, beech, olive wood and rosewood. Carbon fibre replaced wood from many racket sports such as tennis and badminton. But many sports still prefer natural wood for their sporting gears. 

Agriculture products are the basic fuel for athletes. Different agricultural products act as food, food supplement and medicine, thus supports the sports performance. Ginseng, caffeine, ma huang (Chinese ephedra), turmeric, Boswellia and maca root are the most popular herbs used in exercise and sportsMany of the natural herbs have the capacity to augment human performance without falling in the bracket of doping. Countless common medicines, such as aspirin, digoxin, and quinine, were first developed from herbs. Many countries like the USA and China are very fast in using herbs for enhancing sports performance. But, we don’t have initiated any serious studies in this regard in India. 

If India wants to be a football superpower, we need many grass pitches at the grassroots level.
If India wants to be a football superpower, we need many grass pitches at the grassroots level.

In future, the responsibility of sports agriculture is too high. If India wants to be a football superpower, we need many grass pitches at the grassroots level. A footballer who plays in the sand or artificial turf during his developing days will fail in grass field because of the difficulty to judge the ball movements in grass. If you want to be a great international footballer, you must learn football on the grass.

So we need many natural grass football fields. Today our limitation is huge maintenance cost of grass fields due to watering expenses and labour costs. If we can develop a hybrid grass variety with features such as less water consumption, less damage due to climate, water and play and should have limited growth. Sports agriculture is also focussing on finding out new timber ranges to make wood flooring economical. These kinds of inventions in sports agriculture will make sports economical and will be a real blessing for developing countries like India. 

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