Technology: A Tool That Evolutionized Sports

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technology in sports
Image Credits: Virtual Eye

The age of the Internet is upon us. Technology has penetrated in every facet of our lives, quite literally from Google glasses to smart home there has been no sector left untouched by modern technology. It is not surprising that sports have seen intervention by modern technology. It was inevitable, with the collision of the worlds of sports and technology giving the audience and the coaches, insights into the inner workings of the game, improving the game and providing stats that have revolutionised the game.

technology in sports
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For cricket fans, the Decision Review System (DRS) is one of the most niche forms of technology that has been incorporated into the game. Since it first debuted in an India v Sri Lanka match in 2008, the DRS system has become a reliable fall back for all kinds of decisions such as LBW or player and umpire reviews in cases of out or not out. Just recently in the ICC World Cup match of India vs Pakistan, it was the Snickometer that informed the world that Virat Kohli hadn’t actually gotten out and he had mistakenly walked off the pitch. Similarly, in soccer technology, the Goal Line Technology (GLT) and Video-assisted Referee (VAR) has been used to adjudicate and make decisions with a lot more precision in such games.

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Naturally, initially, there was quite a bit of retaliation from fans of the game, claiming using VAR and another tech in the games, increases the time duration of the games apart from adding to the confusion among supporters, but after its resounding success in the FIFA World Cup match in 2018 in Russia, the technology won over a lot of sceptics. In games such as rugby, American Football, soccer and cricket, technology has been integrated for decision-making capabilities, in events such as swimming the integration of technology and textiles helped develop a new full body suit made of a material known as LZR, was launched in 2008. The swimsuit helped reduce skin friction drag by 24%. When the swimsuit debuted in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it helped reduce competitive swim times by 1.9%-2.2%. At the Beijing Olympic, 94% of all swimming races were won wearing that suit and 98% of medals were won wearing that suit.

Image Credits: Speedo

93 world records were broken wearing the LZR Racer and when in December 2008 in Croatia 17 records fell because of swimmers wearing the LZR Racer, FINA finally stepped in banning swimsuits that went past the shoulders or covered the neck. This was done to prevent the integrity of the sport which must be judged on the physical fitness of a competitor and not their equipment. But by now the world had seen what technology could do, the sport could never be the same.

Technology is being developed every day for new inventions to improve different sports and now a wide array of courses are being offered in both India and abroad for qualification in Sports Technology. In India institutes such as the Indian Institute of Sports Science and Technology and other schools abroad, such as the KTH Institute and the Swedish GIH institute offer specialization courses in sports science and sports technology.