Trailblazer inspite of odds: NIT Rkl at SPARDHA
SPARDHA is the Annual All India Games and Sports Festival of IIT-BHU (Varanasi). With over 2200 participants in SPARDHA, India’s largest sports festival held at IIT-BHU and housing some of the best sports teams from various colleges, it was quite a big achievement for NIT Rourkela to shine and stand apart from the rest colleges in most of the events.
It was supposed to be conducted from 18th to 20th October but started from 17th due to the influx of a large number of teams. There were about 20 sports events that occurred. The overall fest was satisfactory but there seemed to be a recurring problem with the hospitality. Online payment wasn't accepted during registration; so players brought a ridiculous cash amount of 3 lakhs for registration amount of 1500/- person.
The bills are asked by SAC for reimbursement of payment and dues. The publicity of SPRDHA was good with no direct interference of higher authorities.
All members of the team qualified heats and went for finals. The total medal tally consists of 3 gold, 10, silver and 2 bronze. Krishna Ghadiyali won gold in 100m fly and 100m freestyle and bronze in 50m freestyle. Aniket Mukherjee won gold in 100m breaststroke and silver in 50m breaststroke. Bikash Ranjan won silver and bronze in 100m and 50m backstroke respectively. The team got silver in both 4x100 freestyle relay and 4x100 medley relay.
Thakur Patel, a Sophomore in the swimming team, had the following views:
The pool in which they held their competition this time was different from last year. The water was clean, but there were no diving boards which made things tough for the competitors from outside colleges. But we had to adjust. Overall, I feel our pool infrastructure is better than theirs.
Aniket Mukherjee, the gold medal winner in 100m breaststroke, citing his experience at SPARDHA:
We had a very strong team, had we got better practice and equipments , we would have produced much better results. The management of the fest was really good and it was mostly the students who did all the work. It was a good experience, initially the management was not good enough but it got better as the fest progressed.
Team NIT Rourkela bagged 4*100m relay bronze(W) and long jump bronze (M). Opponents were the teams from MNNIT Allahabad, DTU, IIT Delhi, IIT BHU, NIT Trichy.
Monali Behera, from the athletics team citing down the issues the team faced:
We had a good experience and got a chance to learn a few new things as well. But the sad thing was that all the students of respective colleges came along with their permanent coaches. This is the only thing we lack in our college, we are provided with coaches only during Inter-NIT that to just for a period of one month. Thats really not suffiecient for us athletes to learn and practice.
Our teams performed fairly well, with the boy's team ending up as Quater-Finalists and the girl's team ending up as Runners-Up.
Smruti Snigdha Behera, the recipient of the Best Player Award expressing her views:
I am really happy with my performance and priviledged to recieve the Best Player Award . I plan to put in more efforts next time and aim to win the championship.
There were 18 teams in total. There were 8 pools. In our pool there were 3 teams including us. We won all the matches in the. Leagues and won the quarters and semifinals after that. In finals we played with IIT Kanpur. There were 3 matches of 3 sets each. The team which wins the maximum no. of matches will win the tournament. In singles I won following losing the doubles match and the last singles . So the score became 1-2 and we came runners up!
Speaking about the institute’s lack of financial support, she said:
First of all I really want to say that if we are representing our institute in the tournaments then we should get proper support from our institute. This time we had to book our travel tickets, registration fees and caution money all by our own means as we didn't get it sanctioned beforehand. We were told that we will only be getting tickets for one way. It's really very unfortunate that NIT Rourkela can't provide travelling tickets for the students who represent it in national level. It's really very hard for us to travel this time.
Although the experience was memorable, it wasn’t short of hurdles. Recollecting it, she said:
About the facilities there, it was really great compared to our institute. There were coaches for all other institutions there except for us. Their courts, ground and gymkhana , food, hostels etc.were great. The other teams were all provided with shuttles and equipments throughout the years whereas we get only during or beginning of the tournaments or sports fest. So we have to practice with our own shuttles .
Overall the experience was good. We worked really hard and put everything to win the tournament. So I am happy with the results. In all we enjoyed the trip
Team NIT Rourkela had a good series of wins against IIT-BHU (27-6) and DTU (13-10) but they lost the final match against the home team by a close margin of 13-15. The team secured a silver medal as runners-up.
There were 4 groups and the NITR team was in group A which consisted of 4 other teams, namely DTU, VIT Bhopal, IIT Delhi, and SOA. They won in two of the four matches with a scoreline of 2-0 in both. They played a 1-1 draw each against DTU as well as IITD. DTU won 3 matches and drew only one. From each group, only one team was going through to the semi-finals and that’s why they couldn’t qualify.
Basketball men's team couldn't qualify for the quarter-finals but gave tough competition in its pool. The basketball women's team won all three matches in its pool in the league stage but lost in the Semifinal to the IIT BHU team.
The first match with NSIT proved to be a victorious one for the college team but lost to DTU. It was a very heated match as they had the same points till the last ball and they gave the opponent a tough competition.
Animesh Raj, a sophomore in the cricket team, said the following about the event:
Their hospitality was a class apart from that provided in our college. It was way better. But I feel like it’s not a coincidence that both the teams in the final were from IIT-BHU. The game could have been more transparent
An average show up was put up by our team in volleyball resulting in elimination from the quarter stage.
Our hockey team could only manage to get to the quarter stage despite showcasing some good performances in the matches.
The team was all set to make it big in the game of Kabaddi. Due to major injuries to two players from the team, the performance of the team downscaled and all the team could manage is a position in the quarter stage.
The Kho-Kho Boys and Girls team managed to showcase their A-game and went on to bag the third and fourth position respectively.
Although the sports infrastructure of IIT BHU is ten fold better than that of NIT Rourkela, the sports gear like balls and swim wear that were provided to the teams of NIT Rourkela for SPARDHA by IIT-BHU were old and in a very bad condition inspite of availability of new stock.
Prashant Sharma, the Captain of Institute’s football team, had strong views about the fest held:
I’d like to add that the tournament could have been organised in a better way. A clear biased nature was being observed by all the outside teams in many sports regarding the referring and creating up of the groups and fixtures. Being the India’s largest sports festival, they could have been more transparent.
However, NIT Rourkela doesn’t fall back in adding more to the heap of problems the college sports teams face.
The lack of any special attention given to the sports teams in NIT Rourkela makes their hard work and efforts go to waste.
The appointment of coaches is done from the player’s own money for preparation. There is a need for permanent coaches. Professional coaching or guidance isn’t there. Temporary coaching is not effective for our teams. Women sports teams were not encouraged and only the good strong teams likely to perform well were asked to go by NITR authorities. The jerseys were not provided by the institute and the players had to pay for their jersey.
Team MM wishes that the lack of equipment and professional training required by these players are resolved in the future. We congratulate all the winners for putting our college on a pedestal at a national level.