Sports Odyssey: KGP's Inter IIT Saga
As the much anticipated Inter IIT Sports Meet draws near, the IIT Kharagpur campus is bustling with optimism and excitement. The collective hope of KGPians is clear — bring home the trophy! The confidence within the team is palpable, and there's a buzz that echoes the spirit of a resilient journey — a journey of lifting the trophy after a gap of 14 years.
Flashback to the early years of Inter IIT dominance, and IIT Kharagpur stands tall, having clinched victory in six out of seven initial Sports Meets. However, these triumphs did little to dispel the skepticism surrounding the institute's overall sporting prowess. The journey from inconsistent performances to lifting the trophy in 2019 and becoming the runners-up in 2022, missing the Champions title by a mere 6 points, has left many curious about the driving force behind this transformation. How did we manage to sustain and build on this momentum, leading to a commendable second-place finish in 2022?
The 37th Inter-IIT Aquatics Meet marked a resounding triumph for KGP, as our exceptional team achieved remarkable success, setting multiple records in the process. With the Aquatics Championship already clinched, our contingent is now poised and determined to secure the coveted General Championship!
IIT KGP clinched 5 Gold and 2 Bronze Medals at the 37th Inter IIT Aquatics Meet
The Editors sought to unravel the mystery behind this newfound success in a candid interaction with our contingent captain and vice-captain — Mr. Akhil Kumar and Ms. Kritika Bagaria.
The upcoming Inter IIT Sports Meet at IIT Kharagpur isn't just a tournament; it's a narrative of dedication, evolution, and sheer passion. As we delve into the crux of this journey, we explore the relentless drive and strategic shifts that have defined KGP's Inter IIT Sports saga.
The Unrelenting Drive Fueled By Passion:
It's a journey where final years set the stage, first years aspire to join, and everyone, regardless of playing time, rallies behind the team. The drive is unmistakable, not just from those on the field but also from the unsung heroes, the ones offering support for every conceivable task. It's a collective fight, an entire contingent rallying with one major target – bringing back the GC. The commitment is a year-long drill starting as soon as the previous competition concludes, a relentless cycle of hard work and consistency with students juggling academics and sports practice, with time management being the key. During the end-semester exams, hardcore preparation stops, with jogging and basic drills maintaining the tempo.
The motivation to invest so much time in sports stems from the realization that this phase, where passion takes precedence, is fleeting. After enduring the sacrifices of their JEE life, students are unwilling to let go of the opportunity to pursue their athletic passion. The coaches play a crucial role in motivating students to excel in academics along with their chosen sport. Sports not only shape athletes but instill pressure-handling tactics essential for life beyond the field.
Beyond the Podium:
Beyond the medals and victories, sports at KGP have transcended the realm of mere competition, evolving into an integral part of personal development and inculcating discipline. Those who discover a passion for sports continue to find solace on the field, forging meaningful bonds with seniors, juniors, and alumni. The camaraderie transcends wins and losses, creating a lasting network of support that extends beyond the playing field. As a campus built on connections, sports emerge as a powerful way to form and strengthen these connections. The connection doesn't end with graduation. Alumni, deeply rooted in the ethos of IIT Kharagpur, still take a keen interest in the institute's position in Inter IIT. Their continued encouragement and shared pride contribute to the legacy of KGP's sports saga. The Inter IIT experience, in particular, becomes a highlight, earning respect during recruitment experiences and adding a unique dimension to the professional journey.
Evolution of Sports Culture and Infrastructure:
Jnan Ghosh Athletics Stadium, IIT Kharagpur
Hosting the Inter IIT in 2019 wasn't just about competition; it became a catalyst for a significant shift in infrastructure and culture. The pressure to host efficiently accelerated the planned enhancements, resulting in the world-class Jnan Ghosh Stadium and improved grounds for football and volleyball. A comprehensive overhaul included the development of an Indoor Pitch in the PAN loop court, building Squash court and revamping Badminton courts. Basic amenities such as lights, drinking water, and washrooms, which were lacking earlier in the MG ground, were installed, providing athletes with a conducive environment for both practice and play. The recruitment of experienced Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) added another layer to the transformation moving towards excellence. The culmination of these advancements, coupled with the home-ground advantage of a spirited audience cheering on the players, culminated in the lifting of the Champions trophy in 2019, ending a 14-year hiatus and marking a historic moment for IIT Kharagpur.
IIT Kharagpur's Gold-Winning Contingent for Inter IIT Sports 2019
The post-2019 era saw a surge in passion despite a two-year break due to the pandemic. Initiatives like compulsory Extra Academic Activity (EAA) with credits were introduced, promoting regular attendance and periodic interest in sports through NSO. Coaches played a dual role, convincing talented individuals to stay in the team, and the tempo and connections incentivized continued participation. The institute's commitment to sports is evident in the Gymkhana awards and increased seats in NSO.
Frequent outstation visits by our players across the years make them accustomed to the high-pressure competition environments. In addition, this year, the successful inaugural session of Shaurya - the sports fest of IIT Kharagpur gave players a flavor of outstation with the energy of home ground.
Additionally, IIT Kharagpur has the Inter-Hall General Championship. Driven by hall tempo, many individuals frequent the grounds, dedicating their time solely to contribute to their Hall’s success in the Inter-Hall GC. This active engagement often sparks a lasting interest in a particular sport, prompting individuals to continue their athletic pursuits beyond the championship. With a large student population, the talent pool is vast, making entry into the team itself highly competitive. Many students come to KGP with prior national and state-level sports experience, and making it into the team often means being among the best in the country in their respective sports.
Participation of Women:
Women's football team at Inter-Hall General Championship 2022-23
While fear of failing, lack of a peer group and hesitation were once barriers, the number of women participating in sports has seen a significant boost. Initiatives like Women's Week, multiple open workshops, the introduction of sports like Squash, NSO Hockey, and Cricket, and events such as Javelin Throw have contributed to this surge. The institute has seen the narrative shift from struggling to form a female team to witnessing a dynamic and competitive environment where women vie for coveted spots on the team roster. Despite challenges, including a transient spike and some lingering peer group issues, the participation of women in sports at KGP is on an upward trajectory.
Strategy for this Year:
As the anticipation builds for the upcoming Inter IIT, this year's strategy involved a meticulous focus on avoiding injuries. The workout schedules have been adjusted to strengthen weak points, and the team is adopting a collective approach during matches. With a contingent comprising 50% seasoned players, the confidence is palpable. The experiences of last year's novice team are now the bedrock for this year's determined and confident squad.
Message from the Captains:
As the captains send out a message to those who didn't make it into the team this year, especially the first and second years, the sentiment is clear – perseverance is key. KGPians are encouraged to join in, wish their friends luck, watch the live stream, and keep the team spirit alive. It's a testament to the inclusive and supportive ethos that defines the sports culture at KGP. With every sportsperson giving their best, the trophy is destined to come back home!
As the curtains draw on this thrilling chapter of the 56th Inter-IIT Sports Meet, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to the extraordinary team from KGP for their outstanding achievements. Wishing the entire contingent the very best as they embark on the quest for the General Championship. Your dedication and prowess have inspired us all. Go, conquer, and make us proud!
Interviewed and written by Anushka Aashvi and Vanshul Shikkewal.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the contingent captain and vice-captain - Mr. Akhil Kumar and Ms. Kritika Bagaria for their precious time.