A Bittersweet Account Of The Much Debated Sangram 2017
Another year and another Sangram has passed us by.
The battleground of the Southern IIM’s – Sangram, has yet again lived up to the hype and excitement that is guaranteed with any event of this magnitude.
The host for this year, IIM Kozhikode, were the outright winners and had an exceptional contingent this year, many of whom were accomplished sportspersons. There was no shortage of controversies either, with the happenings at events such as Kho-Kho, Swimming, Football, Basketball and Hockey proving to be a bone of contention between all the participating institutes. Perspectives from students of IIM Bangalore and IIM Kozhikode have been doing the rounds on this forum as well.
For IIM Trichy, this year’s Sangram was another occasion to prove our mettle against the other IIMs of the South. The journey to ‘God’s Own Country’ began from our new permanent campus on the night of November 16, 2017. The whole contingent, a healthy mix of both first and second years, was buzzing with excitement, the former because they would finally get to experience what they had only heard from their seniors and the latter, with the previous years’ experience on their mind, were raring to go and prove themselves on the field once again.
For many, months of hard practice was about to boil down to the moment of truth over the next 3 days. The Institute had ensured that we were offered the opportunity to practice well for the tournament and also arranged for comfortable travel to IIM Kozhikode. Some caught up on sleep, invaluable as it is in b-schools, while others discussed strategies and some others cherished the break afforded to them and enjoyed the travel.
As the sun rose on the morning of November 17th, we were greeted by greenery all around as we finally arrived at our destination. IIM Kozhikode is renowned for having one of the most beautiful B-school campuses around and the location of the ‘Kampus’ totally did justice to it. After the usual registration procedures at the campus and settling down in the assigned dorms, the Cricket team rushed to NIT Calicut for their first match against IIM K. After thirteen hours of tiring journey and playing the match without having breakfast was quite a task for IIM T but the kind of fight put up by them was an evidence of the prowess and will they possessed.
However, in the end, it was IIM K drawing first blood with a hard-fought victory and moving on to the finals of the event.
Meanwhile, back at the IIM K campus, the inauguration activities were in full swing with the lamp lighting ceremony and welcome speeches by the members of IIM K. A busy first day of events followed with Badminton, Basketball, Football and Table Tennis matches scheduled before evening.
With IIM T being the defending champions in football, our contingent was out in full force for the match against IIM Visakhapatnam. IIM T emerged victorious by a comfortable margin. Carrom, Lawn Tennis, Throwball and Chess matches followed in the evening session with IIM T putting up a good performance in all the events. The volleyball match played during the night session between IIM T and IIM K proved to be a great spectacle with students of both institutes getting behind their players and cheering along with the inevitable sledging of the opposite team throughout the encounter.
The last event of the day was the men’s Basketball game between IIM Bangalore and IIM Trichy. IIM B, having beaten IIM T in the same encounter last year was high on confidence and so was our team who had practised hard for this matchup. The game played to its potential and was poised for a nail-biting finish with both teams exchanging leads throughout the match. Over the last quarter, IIM T pulled away with the lead and managed to close out the match, leading to huge celebrations on the court.
The next 2 days maintained the pace and vigour of the first day albeit with some controversies on events such as Swimming and Kho Kho, where there were issues called out by all visiting teams. The incident on the Kho Kho ground led to minor scuffles between the contingents of IIM B and IIM K along with allegations thrown at each other. For the swimming events, it was found that the initial venue decided was not fit for competition and after a collaborative effort of IIM K and IIM T, the event was postponed and shifted to an alternate location. The number of swimming events was also cut down citing time constraints. The ‘Icing on the cake’ was that no transportation available and the hosts asking us to carr y the participants and their committee members in one of our buses.
There were concerns raised by IIM T on the 25 m freestyle event, where the timings recorded by participants of IIM T were switched with those of IIM K. After discussions with officials, the issues were later rectified, but it did dull the spirits of the participants who had practised hard and were not expecting such errors from the officials.
The football final between IIM T and IIM K was another tense affair as it was a repeat of last year Sangram’s final fixture, where IIM T triumphed over IIM K. The match itself fell afoul initially with the display of refereeing errors/bias by the officials. The match ended in a stalemate at the end of regular time and headed towards a penalty shootout, where IIM T eventually proved to be the superior team, which led to massive celebrations on the pitch by IIM T contingent on retaining the coveted trophy.
[Photo credit: (Facebook) Samuel T. Khonsgai – PGP 2016-2018, IIM Trichy]
The Hockey match between IIM K and IIM T was a match where refereeing biases crossed all limits and again IIM T who have remained unbeaten for the last 4 years had to settle as Runner-ups.
The final of men’s Basketball was another event that stirred up controversy as the team from IIM V had given a walkover to IIM K the day before because of which a Round Robin competition between the 3 remaining teams was expected. The match was delayed by 3 hours as the teams fought over the fixtures with IIM B demanding that a round robin type fixture be played and with IIM K staying adamant on playing the final against IIM T. After hours of back and forth discussions, with their demands not being met, the team from IIM B walked off from the event and refrained from participating further. IIM K then called for the final match against IIM T, which was held in front of one of the biggest crowds for any event of Sangram and witnessed sledging and cheering from both contingents. The team from IIM K emerged victoriously and took away Gold with IIM T settling for a Silver.
The Cricket team put in a great performance in their bronze medal match with some good individual contributions with both bat and ball against IIM V and walked away with the third position in the event where they could probably have easily bagged the gold if given some time to rest after their journey in the first match.
With everything done and dusted, IIM K emerged as overall champions in Sangram for the first time ever, leaving the defending champions IIM B who left no stone unturned in putting up a good fight but eventually had to settle for the second place this time.
For IIM T, although we couldn’t match up to the gold medal tally of last year, there was an encouragement in the form of our improved performances and victories, which will only make us hungrier than ever for Sangram 2K18. The balance of wildness and sportsmanship is what always keeps the spirits high and competitiveness alive in Sangram. And finally, with memories of sledging, cheering, mingling and above all performing to our potential, Sangram ended up with a mixed bag of feelings.
IIM K proved out to be good hosts and organisers barring a few instances but let bygones be bygones as we gear up for the next edition of this enthralling journey. Ultimately, more than anything, Sangram every year is a chance for the IIMs in the South to display their sporting prowess while at the same time consolidating existing relationships and creating new ones. On that note, all participants did ‘Go the Distance’ and revel in the breathless 3 days of intense competition with a promise to hone their skills and come back the next year wit a renewed hunger to prove themselves again!
About the Author:
I am Dhanesh Ramachandran, a Mechanical Engineer by background and a first year student at IIM Trichy. I am a Member of IIM Trichy’s Sports Committee. Prior to this, I have worked at a leading E-Commerce firm and have an overall work experience of 3 years. A sports enthusiast, I actively follow multiple sports and am passionate about Basketball and Football.
As told to Abirbhav Mukherjee
Please DO NOT view this as another piece criticizing any Institute. Every event carries its own share of good and bad, from which lessons are to be learnt and the memorable events are to be cherished.