The 51st Inter-IIT Sports Meet is exactly a month away from today. In this context, we caught up with several students from institute sports teams who graduated in 2015. We spoke to Sharanya Dulasiraman from the Women’s Basketball team; Anubhav Bagari of Men’s TT, Mayank Kakoriya of Hockey, Anand Parikh of Aquatics, Yeshwanth Reddy of Cricket, Krishna Kashampur of Basketball, Abinash Deuri of Volley and Aneesh Bhagwat of Football teams, who have all played for the institute for 3-4 years. The questions ranged from what they think about sports in insti, what sets it apart and what they would like to see at Inter-IIT on their home turf.
Please note that the views expressed in the article are subjective and by no means, are comprehensive in terms of coverage/applicability to all sports.
The Sports Edge:
When we started correspondence on phone and email with this cohort of sportsmen and women, one thing we often heard was that “we’ll miss Inter-IIT the most”. Naturally, our next question was why, and what is that sets sports in insti apart.
Most of them agreed that representing the college is the biggest differentiator for sports in insti and an individual’s commitment level to a sports team is really high. “Sports has a completely different feel to it – it gives you a chance to represent your college. Plus, you have a goal like the Inter-IIT Championship to work towards. It is a long term commitment over 3-4 years and is unlike any other POR. A lot of discipline and passion is required for the same – that’s a reason you’ll find some insanely passionate people on all sports teams.”, said Sharanya.
“Also, very few people get a chance to represent their college, while almost everyone has a shot at some or the other coord-ship. In sheer number, making the cut to the team is really competitive”, thinks Anubhav. One of the others even felt that, “While things similar to other PORs can be done later in life, representing your college is something that will likely not present itself again in the future.”
Yeshwanth pointed out the human relations side by saying, “When you perform under pressure, as you do in sport, you get to know people – teammates, coaches and others – in real and better. You get to make some good friends.” Aneesh continues on the same line, “During Inter-IIT, we meet people from different IITs. And each IIT having a different culture, we get to learn a lot and build strong bonds of friendship with them.”
It’s best summarised in Anand Parikh’s words, “Basically, sport builds character like nothing else. It requires an effort and commitment like other PORs, but the experience of setting out to make your insitute proud after enduring the months of arduous training is so exhilarating that most other things cannot offer it.”
Resume Mark Politics
So, is all well with the state of sports in insti? No, these guys didn’t think so. Experiences with team building, interaction with administration and increasing the reach of sports made them think otherwise.
That selections to the teams should be more merit-driven, was a common concern. Anand said, “A sport requires serious effort in building skills, stamina and coordination. This can happen only in long term – there cannot, and should not, be a quick fix way to get into the team for anybody.”
“Of late, people seem to be getting in for the sake of a resume point. Often, people who have no intentions to continue the sport in the future end up in the team just to fill up the numbers. This only hurts team’s prospects in the future”, echoed the others.
Abinash thinks that sports administration in the institute needs to be more transparent and increase student role in governing finances. He said, “Institute provides more than enough funds for sports. We should make sure that it reaches the students properly and does not end up getting mismanaged.” The funds could be, for example, used in organizing or sending the teams to more tournaments or incentivising institute team players by providing better nutrition, as Aneesh and Yeshwanth suggest.
According to Aneesh, “Playing matches is the best way to improve the level of the team. I feel we should be allowed to attend more tournaments. Even organising mini-leagues within the institute would work.”
Yeshwanth talks for many people on the contingent when he says that playing sports for the insti should be made more rewarding. He thinks that, “Sportspersons can be provided with better nutrition. Also, each match at Inter-IIT can have a “Player of the Match” award. This will ensure that sportsmen get a decent amount of recognition. Financially also, it is feasible”
Inclusivity of Sports
Yeshwanth also goes on to add that sports in insti should become more inclusive. “Places like Chemplast and the Insti Footer ground cater to only 25-30 people in the insti. Not everyone can play in Chemplast. Sports in insti should cater to everyone. People should just get out of their rooms and do something. ”
Aneesh felt that adequate steps must be taken to mould freshies right from the beginning, and “an Inter- IIT at home could used as a springboard to attract more people towards insti sports.”
Sharanya, Anubhav and Krishna think that making NSO sessions more useful would be the first step in that direction, “Instead of making attendance the criterion for passing NSO, there should be basic skill tests so that NSO serves its purpose. Else, people end up picking up nothing.”
The Inter-IIT At Home
Of late, the scale of the meet has become large. With the addition of new IIT’s, the participating IIT’s have increased to 18 with an expected footfall is around 3000 students. The budget is to the tune of tens of crores and the profiles of the visiting artists/athletes and Chief Guests very flamboyant. These make a plethora of things for the organizers to worry about – but what are some of the things that we should necessarily focus on as the hosts?
Sharanya thinks that rather than a really expensive Professional Show, the arrangements for accommodation and food must be made comfortable. The emphasis should be on getting basic things like scheduling matches, communicating the same to the teams, ensuring enough place for onlookers in the arena, etc. right.
Krishna thinks that interaction amongst sportsmen from different IITs should be increased. “Interaction is one of the major takeaways from any Inter IIT. There could be more informal events to lighten the mood and enable interaction between various contingents.”
Yeshwanth focuses on the acclimatization problems – “Last year, we had a problem acclimatizing to the grounds in Bombay. They were very different from the one in insti. To prevent such problems to an extent, photos and details of all playing arenas can be sent to other IITs so that they can come prepared. Practice arenas can have floodlights for teams to practice during the night and get more familiar with the courts; teams do not get time to practice in the mornings due to matches.” Aneesh felt that the first aid facilities can be taken one notch higher.
Who are some players to look forward to in this Inter IIT?
Tennis – Ankitha Aravindan
Hockey – Dhruvesh Patel
Football – Abhijeet Shenoi & Sethu Madhavan
TT – Daniel Raj David
Volley – Avienaash
Badminton – Soham Parikh
Athletics – Bipin Babu
Basketball – Sagar Joshi, Chinthan Muthuraj, Nithila Kumaran
Cricket- Shubham Atram, Tirth Shah
Which other IITs will be the ones to watch out for this year?
Basketball: Roorkee, Delhi
Hockey: Kanpur and Delhi
Football – Kharagpur
Cricket – Kharagpur
Volleyball – Roorkee, Delhi, Kharagpur
On asking to recount their most memorable moments from Inter-IIT, all of them invariably talked about winning their ‘first’ gold, or matches where they ‘thulped’ other teams, or evenjust playing amidst an electric atmosphere and a vociferous crowd.
But of course, given we play at home this year, the experience will be even better. And, while we are at it, let’s thank the seniors and carry the baton forward with a resounding “Go Madras!”
Photo Credits : Inter-IIT Design Teams ( 2014-15 and 2015-16 )