The Inter IIT Sports Meet takes place in two stages: the Aquatics meet which is conducted around October, and the main meet which is in December. We’ve covered the 2014 Aquatics Meet here. This article talks about the 2014 main meet.
The bags were packed. The hopes were high. The stage was set. It was time to leave campus for the 50th Inter IIT Sports Meet at IIT Bombay. The challenge that awaited in Mumbai was daunting. As they say, “Getting to the top is tough, but staying there is tougher.” Last year, we had won the Men’s GC, and had finished first in the overall tally. This time around, not only did were we aiming to retain that trophy, we also had our eyes set on the Women’s GC.
The Inter IIT contingent set off from campus early morning on the 9th of December. We left Kanpur at 6 am with high spirits and loud cheers of “Jeetega Bhai Jeetega, Kanpur Jeetega!” We reached Mumbai on the morning of 10th. Soon after, we were at IIT Bombay, all set to create history yet again.
Members of the contingent en route to Bombay
The opening ceremony was scheduled for the 12th of December; giving all the teams two days for practice and to acclimatize to the Mumbai weather. We made full use of these two days to sharpen ourselves for the battle that lied ahead.
IITK’s Inter IIT Sports Contingent at IIT Bombay
As 12th arrived, our excitement levels were on the rise, not only because it marked the official beginning of the Meet, but also because of the ensuing opportunity to witness Sachin “The God” Tendulkar, in front of our very own eyes. The competing events were kicked off by the March Past, which was led by IIT Kanpur, the defending champions. We finished 4th, securing 7 points in the GC tally.
Afterwards, with the contingents seated, the opening ceremony was conducted. The speech from Sachin left everyone awestruck, which was followed by performances by local artists. With the official declaration of the Meet being ‘Open’, it was time to get to our tasks, focus our minds and temper our bodies for the grind.
Sachin, the God, Tendulkar
Our cricket campaign also began on the 12th of December, with the opening league match against IIT Roorkee, which went down to the wire. Our team managed to brilliantly pull off a win, chasing a steep total of 152.This result electrified the entire contingent right at the very beginning.
The athletics events and league matches in other sports commenced on 13th morning. The first day was more of a cruising ride, with all the teams (except Squash boys and the Tennis girls) able to win their matches comfortably. The squash loss of our formerly silver-medal winners was a huge setback, as it made their pool tougher in the semi-final stages.
14th December brought with it a mixed bag of emotions. It was adorned with gold medals by Ritesh Giri (weightlifting U69 category) and Shubham Yadav (shot put).
Members of IIT Kanpur’s weightlifting team
However, the Table Tennis boys were defeated by Jodhpur. The Basketball and Tennis girls teams suffered losses at the hands of Roorkee and Bombay respectively. The Hockey team went down fighting 0-1 against BHU in the most shocking result of the day. All the other teams won their matches, qualifying for the quarter-finals.
At this point, the Mumbai rains struck, delaying the Cricket, Hockey, and Football schedule by 1 day.
15th, like the 14th, was a mix of successes and disappointments. The Cricket team suffered an unexpected loss at the hands of Jodhpur, in a thrilling encounter that lasted till the final over; and the Basketball boys went down to Roorkee. The Hockey team played to a 3-3 draw against Delhi; putting on a valiant effort, but eventually not being good enough to qualify through to the quarter-finals. The Table Tennis boys team lost 2-3 to Kharagpur, getting knocked out of the tournament.
Members of IIT Kanpur’s volleyball team
The losses were accompanied by wins. The day saw some remarkable performances by our contingent. Robinson Guria clinched the Silver medal in Weightlifting open category putting our team in overall 2nd position, by securing 6 points towards the GC. This was the first time the Weightlifting team had managed such a result, bringing out a vibe of joy and inspiration among the rest of the contingent. The Tennis boys team put forth a solid performance against Madras in their last group match, winning 2-0. Volleyball boys won a thrilling encounter against hosts Bombay amidst loud cheering and electrifying support for both sides. Squash boys won their crucial ‘do-or-die’ encounter vs Madras 2-1 moving on to the Semi-finals. Gold medals by Devi Mutyala (High Jump) and Shubham Yadav (Discuss Throw) were the cherries on top.
As the league matches ended, predictions about the winners started to ensue, and the race for the GC entered its final stretch. IIT Kanpur was to play the quarter-finals in all sports in boys except Table Tennis and Hockey, and in all sports in girls except Tennis.
The quarter-final junction is a crucial phase, as getting more teams into the semifinals greatly increases the odds of placing first in the overall standings. Unfortunately, our contingent faltered massively at this stage. In the boys’ matches, we lost in Basketball to Kharagpur 46-47, Cricket to Delhi by 8 runs, Football to Hyderabad 1-0, and Volleyball to Madras 3-2. The girls lost Table Tennis to Bombay and basketball to Kharagpur. But there was a silver lining. Badminton cruised through to the semi-finals in both girls and boys. Volleyball girls earned a well-fought place in the semi-finals beating Gandhinagar 2-1. Tennis boys had to fight their way past defending Champions Bombay in a well-fought match, eventually winning 2-1.
With these results, it became almost impossible to win the GC in Girls and in Boys, there was no room for error left. The surviving teams had to win it all. But, as they say, the real Champions reveal their best only when the going gets tough. The spirit wasn’t down at all.
The semi-finals day posed a steep challenge for our teams. Badminton boys fought their way past Bombay and entered the finals. Squash boys were on the verge of clinching a final spot, just 5 points away from it in the 3rd singles. Unfortunately, they had to face a heart-crushing defeat even after our ace player Vaibhav Gupta managed to knock down the supposed best player in Inter IIT representing Roorkee. Volleyball girls, defending champions from last year, suffered a shocking loss at the hands of hosts Bombay .
Meanwhile, in Athletics, the girls cruised to 20 points without much obstacles. The boys’ race was heading to a ‘photo-finish’ with Bombay for the top spot. Rai Singh Meena, the athletics captain, lost to IIT Bombay in 800m and 1500m, only managing silver. But he had the last laugh, clinching the gold in 5000m, even after he had to halt during the race to tie his shoelaces!
Akshat Varma and Surya Prakash secured the silver and gold medals in 110m hurdles, and Akshat Verma the gold medal in 400m hurdles. Shivam Kumar bagged the Gold in javelin throw, adding a crucial 5-points in our athletics tally.
The highlight of the semi-finals was the lawn tennis match vs Kharagpur, which turned out to be one of the most nail-biting ones in Inter IIT tennis.
Aaditya Ranade, Kanpur’s Tennis captain, defeated Kharagpur’s Tennis captain 7-5 6-1 in a clinical display of tactics. The doubles match saw us miss two set points at 5-4 in the first set, to go on to the set 5-7. The sudden shock took a toll on the confidence and the team found itself trailing 0-3 in the second set. But, the resolve never died out, and the fight was on. The team won the second set 6-4. To break the stalemate, a tie-break of 10 points ensued. Trailing from 5-8 down in the tiebreak, the team went on to pull off a victory winning 15-13 and entering into the finals.
Aaditya Ranade, the tennis team captain, after the semi-finals win against Kharagpur
The race for the GC was still on. IITs Bombay and Roorkee were among the likely candidates to be GC winners as well, with an advantage due to their dominance in the field events.
It all came down to the 18th of December. We had 2 finals and a Bronze medal match, and IIT Bombay had 3 fInals and 2 semi-finals. Bombay lost all 5 of its matches, and we struck when it was most required: tennis boys and badminton boys pulled off great, victories getting gold medals. This added the decisive 20 points in our GC Tally.
This splendid comeback by IIT Kanpur again brought hope into our minds. Now, all eyes were set on athletics events on the ultimate day. We got a gold medal in Pole Vault in the morning. IIT Bombay won both the relay races that followed, with us finish 3rd in them. Vikrant Singh pulled off a stunner, finishing 2nd in 400m running in the 8th lane. These heroics sealed the deal for IIT Kanpur. IIT Roorkee outperformed themselves and showcased an unexpected onslaught winning 3 out of their 4 finals, but that wasn’t enough to go past the might of IIT Kanpur as they still trailed by a narrow margin of 0.5 points from us.
AND THAT WAS IT! All our hard work had paid off, the title was successfully defended, and IIT Kanpur won the 50th Inter IIT General Championship with a total of 69 points. The girls finished overall 2nd with a total of 41 points.
This Inter IIT marked the beginning of a new culture, of a new breed of champions, a new drive among the sports fraternity of IIT Kanpur. We had the pleasure of welcoming Director Dr. Indranil Manna, DOSA Dr. A. R. Harish, DORA Dr. Prabhat Munshi, and SPEC Chairman Dr. N. R. Patra at IIT Bombay to support us. We were also pleased to have several alumni working in Mumbai and elsewhere coming in to support the contingent. As a new initiative, around 175 alumni received a live feed of IIT Kanpur’s performance, through a Whatsapp initiative.
What followed after the medal ceremony was shouting, cheering, screaming, crying and running with joy. There were smiles and hugs all around. The trophy was carried around the Main Field in a victory run amidst the bursting of crackers and loud cheers of ‘Jeet Gaya Kanpur’. The atmosphere was electrifying, which brought back the memories from Guwahati when we lifted the coveted trophy for the first time ever. It was happening all over again!
IIT Kanpur’s Inter IIT Contingent with the General Championship trophy at IIT Bombay
The final points tally is as follows:
With every year, old faces need to leave and new faces enter the fray. But what stays is the spirit of victory, the spirit of Kanpur. The road ahead beckons us, as this isn’t the end of a journey, but the beginning of one. The new teams have started gearing up, the new Champions are in the making. The challenge awaiting at the 51st Inter IIT Sports Meet hosted by Madras beckons us as we prepare for another year, another race.
ONE CONTINGENT, ONE DREAM! #JeetegaKanpur
Written by Aaditya Ranade, the Deputy Contingent Leader of IIT Kanpur for the Inter IIT Sports Meet 2014. This article has been edited by Vox Populi.