Q) You gave a passionate statement of purpose. Now that it has been a few weeks since your election, what all have you started working on? Have the teams started with their training? What is the schedule like?
Preparations for a virtual farewell have begun and will be done within this week. Farewell posters and welcome posters for the outgoing and the incoming captain and vice-captains will be released shortly. Moreover, we have finalised our awards- something which was done within two days of our appointment. We have also launched a fantasy league with over 700 registrations and shall be conducting yoga sessions soon.
Q) You talk about conducting online training sessions. What sort of sessions are you talking about here. Have the coaches been approached, and are they on the same page about this plan?
Most of our coaches may not be available to take online sessions. We plan to conduct ‘drilling’ sessions, which shall require no equipment but just enough space for the student to stand. Complete training sessions can not be undertaken, but such sessions are pertinent to maintain a basic fitness level. We have to consult with different captains before moving ahead with this idea.
Q) Do you hire coaches on a full-time basis, and have they been compensated for the previous months? Is the ground staff still employed and paid?
Coaches are hired on a contractual basis. I cannot comment on the latter part of your question since BSA’s student body is not responsible for these matters.
Q) Further to that, it is expected that students will not have the necessary sports equipment to train or practice. What is your plan for them?
We will ensure that no one requires any equipment. Our training sessions would only include basic exercises to maintain physical fitness. For example, volleyball players need to work on their jump, so footwork becomes essential for them. Similar activities will be conducted for other sports, but this will only materialise after consultations with Sports Captains.
Q) You plan to hold virtual meetings with dieticians. When asked for feedback on this, some team members said they would prefer to have virtual sessions for weight training. To what extent do you think dieticians would be beneficial considering that with everyone stuck in their homes can’t really have much of a choice in what to eat.
Weight training sessions are not possible because students should not be lifting weights at their homes.
Some people in our team do not consider diet a priority, but quite a few want to monitor their diet and would be motivated to do so even in the current times. Moreover, when we are on campus, we are always on the move; take my case, there were times when I would miss my lunch because of the lack of time. The opportunity to have virtual sessions with dietitians would be very beneficial for those who want to monitor their diet since they will now have ‘time’ on their side. Similarly, for physiotherapists, students generally don’t take ‘warm-up’ and ‘cool-down’ exercises seriously, which results in injuries. This time can be utilised to focus on these usually ignored but important aspects.
These sessions include hiring and require the approval of our President before execution.
Q) Teams are motivated by tournaments. In the absence of inter IIT/ college tournaments this year, why will teams want to train so hard? How will you motivate players to give their 100 percent to training without any perceivable evaluation of their training?
Instead of Sportech and Inter IIT 2020, we plan to have a mini inter-IIT 2020 in April, albeit this mini Inter-IIT won’t be at a grand scale, but that depends on the condition that prevails in the coming months, but we as a students body will try to make it possible.
Additionally, it is my belief that in our contingent, people don’t just stop training!
I feel next year we will have the revered Inter-IIT tournament.
Apart from this year, we have decided to have greater participation from sophomores in our team because they would be the ones more enthusiastic about the tournaments next year. At the same time, the current third-yearites would be busy with placements. This change has been brought about to keep our team motivated and attached. We want them to feel connected to us and give their hundred percent!
Q) You mention that you don’t want the team’s performance to go down during this period. Still, the fact of the matter is that sports are all about practice in a particular game, and for most of the team, practising their sport while simultaneously ensuring that they don’t catch the virus would be an unlikely task. What do you propose then?
In the current situation, saying that the team’s performance won’t go down is wrong.
For example, in table tennis, our star player, Medha Agarwal, doesn’t have her racquet with her at home. She had been using the same racquet for quite a while, and now that she doesn’t have it, she had to set her hands on a new one to get back on practice. It is just a small example to show how performances can be hampered. Such problems would be there with everyone. Everyone’s performance will be impacted. We have decided to utilise this time to build team bonding by using the activities discussed earlier. The idea behind introducing online sessions for drills is to minimise the loss of fitness. We do not encourage people to go outdoors and increase their risks of catching the virus, but we do want them to participate in drills to maintain momentum.
Q) You didn’t mention much about the students enrolled in NSO in your manifesto, but you plan to move it online as per your SOP. How will that work? Do you expect students to upload hours and hours of videos, and if yes, how do you propose to verify the data?
We plan to conduct activities for those seeking NSO hours. This would be similar to the ‘challenges’ of April. For these challenges, we are thinking of including yoga and flexibility challenges.
Apart from that, we know that our friends at NSS are struggling with hours in the current scenario. We plan to conduct events to promote mental health in collaboration with NSS and provide NSO hours for the same. But we need the approval of our President and the administration for this. The exact procedure for providing NSO hours virtually is still undecided. But we are trying our best to conduct some activities and you can expect that in the second half of this semester.
Q) You put tremendous emphasis on the championship, victory, and the trophy- the trophy even finds itself in the background of your manifesto. In the current circumstances, do you see the championship happening?
As mentioned before, we might not be conducting Inter- Hostels this year. We cannot expect first-yearites to participate without bonding. With the semester delayed, this ‘bonding’ would not be possible in time to conduct a 2-month Inter-Hostel tournament. Sportech too seems unlikely, but we are hopeful that we will be able to conduct the ‘Mini Inter-IIT’ in April sometime. If this does not work out, we will organise a one-week internal tournament for freshers and the outgoing students; like a ‘Freshers’ VS ‘Outgoing year’ match. The final decision will be taken after consultation with the Sports Secretary.
Q) Would you like to add something?
I do want to mention that any general secretary can only ‘propose’ their plans. We don’t get to make decisions directly. As student representatives, we send our proposals to the administration, keeping our fellow students’ best interests in mind!
Himanshu comes across as someone who has a multitude of ideas for the BSA and its stakeholders. Their much popularised Fantasy League is one such example that involved people beyond the BSA family and hit the nail on the head.
The BSA has correctly directed its time and efforts towards virtual engagement- with their online farewell series, fantasy league, and planned sessions that shall, as such, require no training equipment.
Himanshu puts great emphasis on team spirit. His plans on encouraging bonding and interaction amongst team members shall hopefully allow the younger talents to be nurtured into sportspersons ready for the championship- whenever it strikes!
Himanshu is pragmatic and does recognise the fact that a lot depends on the upcoming months, and nothing can be guaranteed as such- be it the mini- Inter IIT or the championship. He acknowledges that performances have been impacted, and one can only hope for their best.
The issue of NSO hours still needs clarity, and a lot is uncertain there for the stakeholders. With almost half the semester over, the BSA is yet to come up with a concrete plan for NSO hours. With the virtual onboarding of freshers on the cards, one hopes that they ideate this pertinent activity at the earliest.
It is good to see that he recognises that he needs to work in consultation with a plethora of people and refrains from making promises he may not be able to keep.
It must be noted that while the ideas of online sessions seem promising, they are yet to materialise and require the approval of the competent authority.
Himanshu comes with constructive, practical ideas, but only time will tell what all can be achieved in these uncertain times.
Link to Manifesto:
Interview by Ananya Mohit