With Inter IIT 2018 having just begun, The Fifth Estate looks forward to the 53rd Sports Meet and wishes the IITM contingent the very best in their quest to bring the General Championship home. The 53rd edition of the Inter IIT Sports meet takes us to the foothills of the Shillong plateau and the banks of the Brahmaputra – Guwahati. In this short article, we look forward to Inter IIT 53 and IITM’s very own ‘We are 9000 strong’ campaign.
The Inter IIT Sports Meet was initiated in 1961 at IIT Bombay with only five existing IITs participating (namely IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Kanpur, and IIT Delhi) in the first meet. Only five sports were played during the first meet, but since then, the meet has continuously expanded in terms of participation and the number of sports being conducted. The number of sports has been increased to 13 while the number of participating IITs have grown to be 23. The main objective of this annual Sports Meet is to encourage sportsmanship, foster harmony and build close ties among students of different IITs.
At Inter IIT 53, all IITs will be participating in a league style competition across various sports in hopes of claiming the General Championship trophy. With over 3500 participants, more than 50 events and 500+ matches, this edition is going to be one of the biggest throughout the history of the Inter IIT Sports Meet. This will also be the first time when the talent of differently abled individuals will be acknowledged with the inclusion of Para-powerlifting, among other competitive sports.
IIT Madras, of course, has been quite successful at Inter IIT events in the past and is the institute with the most number of General Championships. This is often a great source of pride for everyone in insti and a common question in freshman orientations. With IITM “going for No. 19” for a couple of years now, one hopes that Guwahati is the site of IITM’s next General Championship.
T5E caught up with Institute Sports Secretary Kishore Yadav before the contingent departed for the Sports Meet. He noted: “It doesn’t just take 160 odd players from 20 different teams, playing 13 sports to win the Inter-IIT General Championship. It takes the cheers, encouragement, and support from our entire institute to win it. We are 9000 strong.” The ‘We Are 9000 Strong’ campaign was executed by the Sports Secretary’s PR Team. The following is an account by Sakthi Ashwin, the PR Core (and former men’s tennis captain) and W Keerthana, former women’s tennis captain who played a key role in executing this campaign, on what the campaign is and what it means for the sports scene in the run-up to the tournament.
We are 9000 strong
In late October and early November, several Facebook timelines were filled with posts from people in the Inter IIT contingent. This dedicated social media campaign, titled ‘We are 9000 strong’ aimed to create a sense of inclusivity, camaraderie, and togetherness within the institute, as the IITM contingent aims to bring No. 19 home. The primary goal of the campaign was to draw attention to the institute sports scene, while simultaneously breaking the elitist aura that surrounds the sports contingent. The latter was aimed at inspiring more students to take an active role in the institute sports scene.
With the tagline #HonourOurHeroes, the campaign aimed at celebrating the support provided by team probables, alumni, friends, coaches, and groundsmen. In making a platform and cultivating an environment for the contingent to practice, develop and succeed in, these unsung ‘Heroes’ have a lasting impact on the fortunes of the IITM contingent. Team probables, in particular, are highly underappreciated, given their position away from the limelight. Nevertheless, their relentless drive, zeal to succeed and support during practice session are crucial to ensure the contingent’s success. The strong support system provided by friends and Inter IIT veterans cannot be discounted either as this support system is what players rely upon on bad days. The contribution of each of these ‘Heroes’ is often forgotten but this campaign has tried to ensure that their work and determination is highlighted for all to see.
When asked about the campaign, Kishore mentioned that contingent players typically steal the limelight, thus eclipsing the contributions of other players, ground staff, coaches etc. He stressed that the latter were crucial to everyday practice sessions and building a good team and concluded by noting that the campaign was a tribute to the unsung heroes who are very much part of IITM’s journey to a 19th GC. We also got in touch with Vignesh, the men’s badminton captain and asked him about the campaign. He was grateful for the support that he received from teammates, alumni, and friends and noted that this had helped him become a better player. Vignesh was enthusiastic about IITM’s chances this year and concluded that “Together we must believe but more importantly make the GC come home”.