Feature Photo Credits: Inter IIT Sports page on Facebook.
The 54th Inter IIT Main Sports Meet was jointly organized by IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bhubaneshwar from the 14th of December to the 22nd of December 2019. While IIT Bhubaneshwar hosted Squash, Badminton, Table Tennis and Volleyball, IIT Kharagpur hosted the rest of the sports. A total of 774 students participated at IIT Bhubaneswar and 1942 students participated at IIT Kharagpur. This edition of the meet also marked the entry of Squash for women. As with the introduction of any new sport into the meet, for this edition and the two editions that will follow, Squash (W) will not be played for points.
The 181 member strong IIT Madras contingent couldn’t have asked for a better start going into the meet, with the Madras Sharks placing first in the Inter IIT Aquatics Meet and giving the contingent a comfortable lead going into the Main Meet. The run only got better as the IIT Madras contingent continued to win every single match on Day 1, Day 2 AND Day 3 of the meet!
In addition to this, Amit Kumar from Athletics team broke the Inter-IIT Sports Meet Record in the Pole Vault – crossing 3.82 meters. The exceptional performances continued into Day 4 of the meet, with another record breaking performance by Sajusha Ashok from the Athletics team. She completed the 400m (w) sprint in 64.3 seconds, while the previous record was 66.5 seconds.
However, the team soon faced setbacks in some crucial matches.
Concerns regarding the officiating of matches:
IIT Madras registered three formal complaints to the Organizing Committee alleging biased refereeing in the IIT Madras v IIT Kanpur Basketball (W) Quarterfinal, the 800m (W) final and the IIT Madras v IIT Kharagpur Football (M) Quarterfinal.
To begin with, in the 800m (W) final that took place on the 18th, the team alleges that a particular finalist had stepped out of the 1st lane during the second lap. The team also has 2 distinct video proofs of the same, but (until the time of publication) this was not taken into account.
On the 19th, the Football (M) Captain, Saswat Mishra, recounted the events that unfolded in the quarterfinal match in a formal complaint. At Minute 55, Madras was placed comfortably at 2-0. After this, Saswat claims, the referee awarded an unjust penalty to Kharagpur which brought the score to 2-1. Later, during the injury time that was extended beyond 7 minutes, the referee awarded a second penalty and gave a straight red card, which the Madras team maintains was unjust and uncalled for, and this brought the score to 2-2. The team alleges that the injury time was prolonged by the referee in favour of KGP to score the equalizer. Saswat adds that at that point the match was made a laughing stock, so much so that the entire audience, KGP players and even neutrals could see clearly that the IIT Madras team was facing the brunt of questionable officiating. He also alleges that there were some issues with timekeeping in the match, where the 4th official and the main referee did not concur in how much time was left in the game.
The concerns with officiating were just as strong in the Basketball (W) Quarterfinal. Like in the football game, there were issues with timekeeping. ‘The short clock was monitored carelessly until someone pointed it out’, says S. Lakshmi Amrutha – the Basketball (W) Captain. She also alleges that the violations and fouls committed by the opponents were not called in and that there was a lot of inconsistency between the referees and the table officials.
A case of sour grapes?
Srinath Bhat, the Institute Sports Secretary, clarifies that it was not only IIT Madras – but that all the 21 other IITs had stood alongside the contingent in their concerns regarding the officiating. ‘I have never seen this sort of officiating in the 3 Inter IITs I have had a chance to participate in’, he adds.
Srinath maintains, ‘I hope that this sort of thing never happens in another Inter IIT ever again. We train really hard all semester, and for us to be at the receiving end of such poor officiating is very disappointing.’ Breasha Gupta, the Women’s Representative in the IITM Sports Organizing Committee adds, ‘Despite all this, I still think that this year all of our teams have shown a commendable performance and that should be lauded.’
IIT Madras finished with a 3rd place in the Overall General Championship with 89.4 points, while KGP placed 1st with 123.6 points and Delhi placed 2nd with 95.2 points. With a total of 42 points, IIT Madras secured the 4th place in the Men’s General Championship behind KGP (76 pts), Delhi (58 pts) and Varanasi (BHU) (44 pts). In addition to Swimming, the Men’s contingent also won a Gold in Squash. Madras most notably placed 1st (for the whopping 4th time in a row!) in the Women’s General Championship with 38 points, with KGP (28 pts) and Kanpur (24 pts) at 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
In addition to the records broken, some players from the contingent particularly stood out in the meet – with Nipam Basumatary and Roshni Shetty winning the Best Player in Badminton (M & W respectively), and Breasha Gupta for Best Player in Tennis (W).
The overall tally for the General Championship is the sum total of the points acquired in the Men’s and Women’s Championships (inclusive of the Aquatics Meet), as well as the score in the March Past and Chess.
The highlights from the Aquatics Meet can be found here.