49th Inter IIT Sports Meet, IIT Guwahati: The Great Kanpuriya GC Campaign

After days, weeks and months of gruelling practice sessions, carefully planned meals and workout schedules, and intense discipline and self restraint, the Sports Contingent of IIT Kanpur began its week long quest for the General Championship at the 49th Inter IIT sports meet in the spellbindingly beautiful campus of IIT Guwahati. Each one had a single goal in mind- victory.  With years of struggling for the elusive and humongous, if one may, GC trophy, they were not ready to settle for less.

Having sustained the biting cold of Kanpur during winter camp, when the Contingent set its feet on Guwahati soil, they were greeted with a pleasant weather and an even more pleasant start by the Cricket team. Things were looking good, with a comfortable start by the cricket team and a third place in the points tally as a result of the consistent efforts of the Aquatics team in October.

Summary of the Aquatics Meet:

The Aquatics meet commenced on 1st October, 2013, with Kanpur winning a bronze in 4x100m Freestyle Relay. Parth Tripathi won two gold and three silver medals in various events while Rohit Barnwal won a bronze in 200m backstroke. Harshita Varshney came second in 200m Breaststroke and the girls won another bronze in 4x50m

Freestyle Relay. In the Water Polo matches Kanpur managed to reach the semi- finals stage but lost to Madras with a score of 7-6. Luck was not on Kanpur’s side in the match for the third place as well,  as we lost to Kharagpur by an unfortunate margin of one point.Overall, with the conclusion of the Aquatics Meet, Kanpur was at the third position on the leaderboard.

The main meet, that took place in December, began with the customary march past event. While the contribution of attendance to the points tally was not compromised on, points were lost in execution and appearance and we were in the fourth position with 7 points out of ten, along with many other IITs. Participants were reprimanded for their nonchalant attitude and sloppy appearance.

Day 1; 17th December, 2013: The first day saw a favourable outcome. Most of the pool- level matches were won and the field  was set for a challenging battle for each team on the second day. The basketball team put up a tough fight against the heavyweights of IIT Bombay but lost in both the Boys’ and Girls’ matches by close margins.

The hockey, squash, volleyball and the newly formed football team won their matches right at the start putting us in a good position on the points tally. The prodigies from the Badminton team were off to a good start with wins from both the boys and girls. The weightlifting team, after having excelled in numerous district level tournaments, gave an average performance. Overall, the athletics team had their sprinters clear the heats and qualify for semis. Devi Mutyala of Y12 qualified for the finals of 400m and bagged the gold medal in Long Jump with a record leap of 4.48m.

Day 2; 18th December, 2013: With sterling performances at the onset, IIT Kanpur was faced with tough competition from sister contingents on the second day. The hockey team won against the team from IIT Bombay and secured themselves a place in the semis.Volleyball  boys inflicted a brutal defeat on Madras, winning the match with a score of 3-0. Badminton boys gave the team from IITB  a run for its money and won with a score of 3-0. What could be called the cherry on the top of the proverbial cake was the 2- 0 victory of the TT girls in the match against IITD. Rai Singh Meena of the athletics team bagged gold in 1500m relay, with Deepak Bansal winning a bronze in the same event. Surya Prakash set another Inter IIT record for the institute and for himself, winning gold in high jump. It was not the year for the former Bronze winning team of Basketball girls as they lost in a match against Kharagpur with a score of 25- 29. This defeat marked their exit from the tournament. The young crusaders of the football team, having gotten off to a good start, lost in a tough struggle against the rookie team from IIT- BHU. They lost with a score of 0-3.

The weightlifting team was out after the second day too.

Day 3, 4; 19th, 20th December: What followed in the next few days can be aptly described as a ‘roller coaster ride’ for the troopers from IITK. The Boys’ GC was in sight. Having cleared the matches that took place on 19th and 20th December, we had made our way into four semi finals and were expecting to win an overall gold medal in athletics. The other IITs to look out for, in the tournament, were Madras, Bombay and Kharagpur. If any of the three had won silver in athletics, it could have spelled disaster for us. With a strong line-up in 4×400 m relay, Bombay had very good chances of doing so. Among the girls, the Volleyball team and the TT team made their way into the semis. The girls’ GC however, was a lost cause, with IIT Roorkee expected to clinch the title of Girls’ General Champions again.

Day 5; 21st December 2013: We emerged victorious in four of the six semi-finals, namely Hockey, Girls’ Volleyball, Squash and Badminton. The matches for the third place were played in Girls’ Table Tennis and Boys’ Lawn Tennis.  Of all the matches to play in, if we had lost each one, we’d have ended up with a score of 59 on the points tally. Winning in just two out of the four would have landed us in a comfortable situation with 67 points. In the meanwhile, Madras had chances of scoring  a maximum of 67.5 points, if they managed to win a silver in Athletics.

Day 6: With the help of a stellar performance from the Cricket Team,  we had another gold in our basket. Kanpur defeated Kharagpur by 5 wickets and redeemed itself after the Inter IIT meet at Kharagpur in December 2011.  Volleyball girls won us another gold medal. We lost all the other finals. Lawn Tennis Boys and TT Girls won their respective matches for the third place. At the end of all events, the score read as Kanpur: 65 and Madras: 65.5.

Day 7: 23rd December. The game of numbers had now begun. Kanpur was almost neck and neck with Madras in the GC campaign. While Kanpur had consolidated its hold on first place in Athletics, Madras’ performance was crucial to the overall GC struggle.

To sum it up, with Bombay trailing behind Madras, the need of the hour was for them to overtake and come second. Only four events remained. Madras was at 32.5 points and Bombay at 18.

Event 1: 400m Veer Singh bags gold; Bombay finishes at 3rd and 4th position. Madras does not get a position in top four. Bombay: 21Madras: 32.5
Event 2: Hammer Throw Bombay gets silver. Kanpur holds the 3rd and 4th position with Balamurugan G.’s and Shubham Yadav’s performance. Madras not in picture. Bombay: 24madras: 32.5
Event 3: 100m Madras has a very strong sprinter. Wins silver. Bombay gets an unexpected Bronze. Bombay: 26Madras: 35.5

 

It all boiled down to the fourth and final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay. After a nail- biting duration of 180 seconds, Bombay scored gold, Kanpur won silver and with no sprinter in the 400m finals while Madras was unable to secure any position in the top four. This catapulted Bombay to the second position overall, with a score of 36 while Madras remained at 35.5. And hence Kanpur won the coveted General Championship, for the very first time in a span of 49 years of Inter- IIT sports’ meets, outdoing an opponent as formidable as IIT Madras.

The closing ceremony of the meet was one that the Inter IIT contingent of 2013 will remember for years to come. To have broken the jinx and silenced the naysayers was a triumph of its own kind. The contingent members were called upon stage to receive the uncannily huge trophy. Anant Mundra, General Secretary of the Games and Sports Council for session 2013- 2014, addressed the exultant contingent members, pride and satisfaction evident in his tone and choice of words.

This unprecedented victory of ours was celebrated with a luncheon at the Director’s residence. This was followed by a victory march all over the campus, leaving not a single Hall of Residence unbeknownst of its happening. With everything in place, the entire contingent concurs on the fact that there is a bigger challenge lying in wait at IIT Bombay in another cold December of 2014. It is that of defending the title of General Champion and preserving the reputation once created, in the sports meets to follow.

Written by Anushka Jha