DoJMA – So, this is the second year of the Sports Secretary post. How much impact do you think the post has made so far?
Devashish – My predecessor assumed a managerial role. He definitely eased the registration of all the teams for tournaments. The tournaments held were of a proper standard. He also brought in a lot of new things and made some lasting changes.
DoJMA – When you spoke to the team captains, were there any major revelations or concerns that were expressed?
Devashish – Yes, most sports team captain told me of their problems. There were a lot of issues raised- for example, the tennis court has tar surrounding it on which it is easy to slip and injure yourself.
DoJMA – You said you’d make an athletics club. So what exactly is an athletics club? We don’t have a running track, for one. So how are you planning on implementing that?
Devashish – The athletics club already exists unofficially. It’s something that Aashutosh Joshi (the previous sports secretary) had started. I think my job is to see (it) through and make it happen. Right now, it’s not official. There’s no funding whatsoever. Athletics club … they don’t practice on campus. They’ve found a facility in Vasco where they’ve gotten cheap rates and that’s where they plan to go three times a week to practice. All they need, once it (the athletics club) becomes official, is some equipment, basic equipment, from the SAC budget, which is starters, hurdles and so on. But the budget requirement, so far, that they’ve asked me for is minimal.
DoJMA – You talked about organizing self defense workshops as well, specifically for women on campus. So on what specific evidence do you base the claim that this is something that’s even needed? Was there any demand raised for this in the first place?
Devashish – No, there was no demand raised for this. I just felt it’s necessary. I mean, it doesn’t have to be limited to women only. Mixed martial arts is pretty popular – it could be that.
DoJMA – Is there any specific incident that led you to pitch this?
Devashish – No specific incident. It’s just the general trend in India that women are slightly unsafe. Not slightly, but yeah. (chuckles)
DoJMA – Why should that come under your agenda as sports secretary?
Devashish – Martial arts is a sport, hence I felt it should be included.
DoJMA – Last year, Aashutosh said he’d get floodlights on the football field, right? So he said he couldn’t do that because of budget restrictions. So are you planning to continue that effort?
Devashish – No. I did my groundwork on this and (I found that) floodlights are simply infeasible. I spoke to Chandu Lamani, I spoke to AK Patil sir and the thing is that it’s not just the floodlights, it’s the whole infrastructure that’s required – you need the wiring, you need to mount them somewhere. That just costs too high (sic). And now that we have plans to renovate the tennis court, there probably won’t be any budget associated with it (the floodlights). The best thing that could happen is that DoSM really does well this Spree and we could rent it for half the ground on, so that the UFC matches can go on till 8 (pm) but only half the ground. To give you some numbers, to rent it for three days, one floodlight costs ₹ 125000 and, given the size of the football ground, you need four. So, this … I don’t see that happening. It’s not practical.
DoJMA – What are your comments on the developments in the new SAC? Can you confirm to us anything about the major developments which are coming up? Like the swimming pool or something, which candidates have spoken about over the years?
Devashish – Alright, so I spoke to AK Patil sir and Chandu Lamani sir about this and the new SAC won’t get completed in my tenure if I become … if I get elected. So, like, I did not look much into the issue. It’s something that should happen by 2022, even though the earlier date was 2020. What more I know about is that, like, a lot of the infrastructure they won’t rebuild, such as the basketball courts and the cricket ground obviously. The new SAC will mostly, I think, just have a swimming pool and a gym and maybe a chess room as such. But it’s not confirmed yet, it’s just speculation because they haven’t started building it yet. So I think once they start, the sports sec who’s in charge then can communicate what exactly is needed. I think what most they could do is get a swimming pool, a more well furnished gym and a room for the teams that don’t have an area as such, such as the chess team.
DoJMA – What about teams like the frisbee team? Are you planning to integrate them into Spree as well?
Devashish – Umm, see, thing is – we don’t have any ground to conduct a UFC tournament. So the most we can do is rent a ground outside. I spoke to Akhil (UFC Spirit Captain) about this and there is a ground in Chicalim that meets their requirements. So next year in Spree, if it’s possible, we can rent that ground and have a tournament there. But what UFC did this year is that – to save cost, we can obviously use our cricket ground if needed – they conducted their tournament before Spree and it was officially a pre Spree event. So, that’s what happened. But it all depends on how much (sic) funds we have. If we can rent the ground, we’ll do it.
DoJMA – Okay, so how are you planning on coordinating with DoSM?
Devashish – This year, DoSM got a good amount of badminton rackets and table tennis balls for us. But this was something they didn’t buy themselves. They didn’t coordinate with any sports teams or anyone to see what was necessary. So I spoke to the DoSM Spree coordinator about this and he told me that a DoSM team is made in November. So by November, I can go through the inventory and give him a proper checklist of what exactly is needed and what equipments we’re really short of. He can pitch them specifically to every company that they call. So DoSM’s first priority is obviously going to (be to) bring money for the fest. I can’t, you know, ask them to prioritize equipment over that. But if, apart from that, they’re able to get something or if they’re not able to give money, I’ll give them a proper list of what the requirement of the equipment is. So that’s the … that’s my plan.
DoJMA – You talked about reserving a time slot of 5 to 7 pm for squash team practice. So how are you going to accommodate the fact that there are a lot of firsties who have CP labs on that very time? Is there a chance the administration is going to remove that slot and if not, what alternative do you have for resolving those clashes?
Devashish – Okay. See, what I’m doing is on the request of the squash captain. He really wanted this to happen because most people … like, it’s kind of an unsaid thing that when a team is practicing, the other people don’t come and play, like in basketball (and) football. But he told me that this is not happening in squash and then they have to keep requesting people that, “It’s the team time. We need to practice.” So what he had requested is that some sort of sign be set up that, “From 5 to 7 is team practice. 7 to 9 and (in the) morning, anybody else can come if they want.” CP lab, I mean, if he didn’t have any issue with it … and CP lab isn’t everyday, so I think they can miss one day of practice. All teams do that. If there’s CP lab, we don’t practice on that day.
DoJMA – One of the major problems which sports teams had for quite some time is the difficulty of them getting leave. So you probably have done some work on, like, you know, getting them funding for tournaments and stuff. But do you think it’s going to be significantly easier for them to get leave, in terms of getting approvals for makeups for evaluative components?
Devashish – See, honestly, the most I can do when it comes to getting leaves is talk to the faculty as a CSA member and convince them. But if the faculty is adamant, then there’s nothing that can be done. So Aashutosh used to do this. He used to make combined bona fides for all the sports teams and it made the process of getting leaves and makeups a lot easier. But if the faculty is against … like for Arena (BITS Hyderabad’s sports fest) this time, (the) CS faculty did not give any makeups for them. Aashutosh tried to persuade them, but they did not budge. So if it’s faculty, I have no power over them. The most I can do is try and talk to them and convince them.
DoJMA – But given that there is a separate sports secretary, don’t you think that’s a major part of your role, in terms of convincing the administration that there is a specific role for sports in the infrastructure?
Devashish – The administration obviously has different priorities. Like in some cases, maybe if there’s an evaluation component, it can’t be moved, because they have other plans, they maybe need to finish the portion or there are other things clashing. And it’s obvious that they’ll prioritize that over this (providing makeups). In most cases, we never really faced a problem. I think any other … apart from that one CS issue in Arena, all the sports teams did get their makeups. So this will just be like a very rare case. I think in most cases, this shouldn’t happen.
DoJMA – Aashutosh, in his agenda, said that he would try to make the SAC washrooms’ hygiene better and ensure the functioning of water coolers. Do you know why it wasn’t implemented properly and what you can do in that regard?
Devashish – No, it was implemented. Like the SAC was cleaned regular(ly) in the morning. It’s just that the workers who come to clean the SAC come from 9 (am) to 1 (pm). So by the time the sports teams come in the evening, it’s already dirty again. But I think I noticed the SAC was cleaner. I’ve spoken to the administration and then … there are plans to get the entire SAC(’s) washrooms renovated. So yeah, that’s in place.
DoJMA – Wait, so the workers’ timings – are they changing?
Devashish – No, as of now, they’re not changing, the workers’ timings. Because then, changing the workers’ timings for that will affect the workers’ timings for the grounds. Because they need to water the grounds at a specific time.
DoJMA – What do you plan to do about Slam in general? We noticed there was not enough participation.
Devashish – So what I noticed was the problem with Slam was that it was done slightly informally. There was just one event manager who was trying to handle all the sports teams. And he was also acting as the referee. So what my plan was, to act an incentive for the event managers, you give some sort of certificates from the CSA if you manage an event, so that you can try and involve the team players in this. So people who are part of the sports team understand the game better and they can act as proper referees. And also, obviously, I’d make sure that I take more efforts to publicize the event so that people come and participate.
DoJMA – But don’t you think it seems that publicity has already been tried? So, what special efforts do you think will get people to come for Slam?
Devashish – I think once they notice that Slam is being organized better … but that is something that will have to come and try (sic). See, Aashutosh told me that he’d started publicizing for Slam five days before the event. I think I’ll take a greater effort and start (a) little earlier.
DoJMA – So the water dispensers around the football ground – has that already been promised by the administration?
Devashish – Right now what the scenario is that (installing) the water dispensers is something that’s easily doable. That’s a temporary solution. The only issue is how regular(ly) it will be done. Chandu sir has assured that this will happen in cases of matches or tournaments. So that’s there. I plan to have it refilled a lot more regularly. As for the water pipeline that I spoke about, the infrastructure required for that is not a lot. AK Patil sir said that that can be done quite easily. The main problem is the maintenance of it. So the water cooler that will be set up, or the water filter, whatever, will need to be enclosed in a proper area. So that kind of brings me to another point in my agenda, (which) is having a changing room / shed in the football ground (and) new basketball court area. So there, you can have the water cooler and you can have the changing room. So that’s like two birds in one stone.
DoJMA – As a sports sec, do you think there’s a need for you to popularize the sporting culture on campus, apart from the sports teams and people who are heavily involved in sports? Like, do you have any plan for popularizing sports and getting more people involved in sports?
Devashish – I do think it’s very important that sports are more popularized. So, I think the first part of my agenda deals with this part specifically. My plans for doing that was (sic) one, to keep the campus in touch with any major sporting events happening in Goa. So, when there’s an FC Goa football match or Ranji cricket match or some sort of marathon going on, I’ll obviously mail the general student body about it, try and organize transport for them and, if possible, if I get a good response, have some sort of discount that I can negotiate with the organizers. Then, (I) also plan to organize more workshops, like I mentioned, like the basic nutrition workshop, the karate workshop and so on. And also, as I mentioned, that there’s Slam which I’m trying to do better. There’s (an) invitational tournament which I want to organize in the first semester with local Goan teams. So I feel all these measures will make sports a lot more popular on campus.
DoJMA – Do you think there’s some way to include the informal sports culture? So, for example, if you’re already significantly good at some particular sport, suppose you’re really good at football, then you’ll probably get into the team. But a lot of people who come into college and aren’t that good enough for the team, they often feel their sports skills fading because they don’t get that opportunity to practice. So how do you think you’re going to give them an opportunity? So, for example, if you’re really interested in cricket, you can’t play it in your hostel because it’s not allowed. Which means you have to play in (the) workshop ground, which is a really bad place to play. So do you think, from your side, there are any efforts to make that a lot better, in terms of people pursuing sports informally?
Devashish – Right, so as I mentioned in my agenda, I want to organize workshops for that. And moreover, I’m in talks with the Spree coordinators to try and have more informal events during Spree. So, if there’s a basketball match going on, during halftime, you could have something like a three point contest or an informal three-on-three basketball match. Same goes for football, like a penalty shootout. So someone who’s not on the sports team could come and showcase their skills there.
DoJMA – Throughout the year, do you think you’re going to make it easier for, say, people to get some scheduled time of the week during which they can play informally?
Devashish – Okay, see, I think the major problem for getting scheduled time was only really in basketball, because the court was occupied for, like almost, 5 to 9. But now that the new courts are built, I think even basketball will be free. Squash, badminton, any other sport is not an issue. I think it’s only cricket and football which … cricket I can’t, (there isn’t) anything that can be done about because the ground is BCCI maintained and you need a lot of permissions to play there. And same goes for football, but apart from that, I don’t think any other sport faces an issue. And cricket and football are such sports that you can kind of play anywhere. So, like football, I think central lawns are good enough for most people. I’ve never heard anyone complain about that. And as for workshop lawns, I think a lot of general secretaries have it in their agenda to try and improve that, so I’ll see if I can do something about it.