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This month's archival snippet is on Sports at IIMA, what with the frenzy generated by the Euro Cup, Wimbledon and the Olympics.
The sport that captivated the campus from the 1970s through the 1990s was football. IIMA had a dedicated men's football team consisting of staff and a few students who participated in leading local tournaments such as the 1st Division League Trophy of the Ahmedabad District Football Association and Paulin Cup. Mahindra & Mahindra would host an open football tournament on our campus grounds (in an area now part of the New Campus). In fact, there was a time when some members of our staff were recruited because of their footballing prowess! This football team once included PGP student P. D. Rai who later became a member of the Lok Sabha, from Sikkim. Former staff members such as K C Chandran, Suresh Babu, Siddharthan, Williams, played for the team for many years. Old timers recollect an atmosphere of festivity as the team would huddle in a Tempo and set off for matches, often with faculty supporting them from the stands. The last team-member from those footballing glory days is Mr. Premkumar, current Manager of the Student Activity Office (SAO).
Outside football, there were the usual suspects: cricket, table-tennis, carrom, badminton, tennis and volleyball. Basketball was popular among men and women. Field hockey was rare. Chess was quite popular in the 1970s and 80s. Siddhartha Chib, PGP 1982, and now a globally recognized professor of statistics and Fellow of the American Statistical Association, was a national level player who, as a student, used to take part in simultaneous exhibition chess in the space between D-4 and D-2, playing against many players simultaneously.
For a while, skating was in the air, and for decades, frisbee has haunted the lawns of the Louis Kahn Plaza. Inter-IIM sports tournaments began in the 1970s and is an annual event that students look forward to. Cycling has slowly started gaining traction (Mr. Kirit Gosaliya, staff member, has won state-level cycling tournaments). Swimming never happened on campus (though some have tried on the flooded LKP lawns in the monsoon) and the upcoming pool in the New Campus is keenly awaited. Our archives team member, Himanshu Bhatt, in fact, is an expert swimmer since childhood, who has also saved a life at Kankaria Lake in 1985, and recently swam 5KM in the open sea at Porbandar and Gateway of India, Mumbai, at the age of 57!
As document of the month, we attach few pictures and articles on IIMA sports of the past: From a stunning old picture of the current cricket ground (which was then barren and had a basketball court) to an article from 1978 mentioning IIMA winning the 1st Division football league to Raghuram Rajan in his cricketing whites, and a little more. However, IIMA's greatest contribution to the field of Indian sports till date, some would say, came less in the form of playing and more in the form of speaking, by way of Harsha Bhogle's cricket commentary.
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