Inside Lines: Why Mozart is 'better than drugs' for sport

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The Independent Online

Never mind the nandrolone. A strong dose of Mozart is more likely to enhance athletic performance. This is the revolutionary theory of a Greek cardiologist who, when not attending to affairs of the heart, busies himself as a composer. He recommends music as the best stimulant for sporting success and claims that a series of studies have shown that, used in combination with the right diet, "it can act as an energy supplement in the attempt to reduce the use of pharmaceutical substances by young people involved in sport". According to Thanassis Dritsas, an adviser to the Greek Olympic team, music is a natural tonic which can banish fatigue and stress, increase muscle power and boost performance on the day. In his book Music and Medicine, he praises the use of personal CD players for training purposes and says music "might develop into a technique which, unlike doping, does not run counter to Olympic ideals". But he stresses that it has to be the right kind of music. Classical rather than trance; symphoni

Never mind the nandrolone. A strong dose of Mozart is more likely to enhance athletic performance. This is the revolutionary theory of a Greek cardiologist who, when not attending to affairs of the heart, busies himself as a composer. He recommends music as the best stimulant for sporting success and claims that a series of studies have shown that, used in combination with the right diet, "it can act as an energy supplement in the attempt to reduce the use of pharmaceutical substances by young people involved in sport". According to Thanassis Dritsas, an adviser to the Greek Olympic team, music is a natural tonic which can banish fatigue and stress, increase muscle power and boost performance on the day. In his book Music and Medicine, he praises the use of personal CD players for training purposes and says music "might develop into a technique which, unlike doping, does not run counter to Olympic ideals". But he stresses that it has to be the right kind of music. Classical rather than trance; symphonies, not rock. His studies have been conducted in conjunction with a Greek colleague at London's Brunel University, Professor Costas Karagiorgis. These show that music can relax athletes before an event and "create a positive training environment that increases their kinetic skills". Says Dritsas: "Before every workout there should be 10 to 15 minutes of classical music at a slow, easy pace, so that exercise begins at a low pulse-rate to aid the blood flow to the muscles." Live music is actually banned during Olympic competition - except for rhythmic gymnastics and synchronised swimming - but, if the Greek philosophy is right, the message is to stop swallowing the steroids and switch on the Strauss. Music to the ears.

Hamed return? Fat chance, says Ingle

Is Naseem Hamed serious about fighting again or is it, as they say in the business, all "moody"? While the dethroned Prince is said to be working out again in his luxury gym under the supervision of a Sheffield-based Syrian trainer, Anas Owelda, prospects of a summer comeback are actually far slimmer than his present 12st-plus frame. "He hasn't got either the condition or the motivation," says Brendan Ingle, who took him to the world featherweight title. "Funny how these stories always seem to surface when Michael Brodie, whom he consistently refused to meet, is fighting. It is almost as if Naz wants to take the play away from him." The British Boxing Board of Control would demand rigorous checks on Hamed's weight reduction before allowing him to fight again and HBO, his American TV backers, remain sceptical. One of their worries is that he would now be a hard sell to US audiences because of the Islamic proselytising surrounding his ring walks, which have involved incense and a prayer-chanting Imam.

Betting on outsider to win Premiership race

The race for the Premiership title may still have a one-horse look about it, but those who fancy a flutter on an outsider should point themselves in the direction of Haydock Park on Sunday 11 July. Then football and racing combine, with runners in all six races bearing the colours of Premiership teams. The meeting was officially launched at Stamford Bridge last week by former Chelsea and England striker Kerry Dixon. A bit of an irony here, for Dixon himself admits to a few bad days at the races. His gambling problems hit the tabloids a few years back, but he was never a Priory case and stresses: "I wasn't an addict. Financially things didn't work out, but when I got into trouble I left it alone." These days Dixon, 42, who spent eight years at Chelsea, says he doesn't bet. Not even on Russian roulette.

Little Lord Moynihan, who fought as a lightweight for Oxford, continues to land some heavyweight punches as shadow sports minister. Indeed, his efforts to force through a Government U-turn on the Gender Recognition Bill, thus allowing sports bodies to make their own decisions on whether transsexuals should be allowed to compete, have brought a letter of congratulation from the IOC president, Jacques Rogge.

Moynihan is also keeping up the pressure on the Government to include the British Paralympic Association as beneficiaries for any future Olympic Lottery. They have now agreed to consult with him. Just as well that Moynihan is so high-profile in the Lords. Frontbencher Nick Hawkins, who recently wrote to remind us that he is the official Opposition sports spokesman in the Commons (not many people knew that), was last week deselected as MP for his Surrey Heath constituency, which doubtless he regards as not very sporting of them.

Sabres crossed - and fingers, too - in Ghent, Belgium, next weekend when Britain's fencers have a final chance to qualify for Athens.

As things stand there is every chance that for the first time since 1896 Britain will not have a fencer in the Olympics. This would be a disaster for a sport which has helped shore up the medal table in past Games. But not all is gloom on the piste. Fencing is actually increasing in popularity and is proving a big hit at the Sport and Science Exhibition at London's Science Museum. There youngsters can try out with foam swords and progress to the real thing. They can test their technique from athletics to volleyball, and learn how Jonny Wilkinson acquires his. A recommended holiday visit.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

Exit Lines

A blind man on a galloping horse can see his talent - he's a litttle Fabergé egg. Ray Hudson, former DC United coach, on the 'next Pele,' 14-year-old American Freddy Adu ... He has a wrist injury but they'll give him a general anaesthetic so he can play. LBC radio's David Prever, which may explain why Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg went to sleep against Chelsea... He has the skill but he's not prepared to make the sacrifices. Training manager Mark Petchey on why LTA funding has been withdrawn from Alex Bogdanovic.

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