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City’s inter-school meets caught on sticky wicket

City’s inter-school meets caught on sticky wicket

With kids more vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus and schools yet to start their academic year, many inter-school sports meets could be cancelled. DH FILE PHOTO

Not only has the national and international sporting calendar been torn apart by the raging coronavirus, but even the inter-school sporting activities in Bengaluru appear non-starters.

The Fr Eric Vaz and Centenary Shield — arguably the two biggest inter-school hockey tournaments in the city and conducted by St Joseph’s Boys’ High School — as well as the Cottonian Shield cricket tournament (hosted by Bishop Cotton Boys’ School) are normally scheduled in July-August. The GS Randhawa Memorial hockey tournament is also staged in the opening quarter of schools kicking-off their new terms. These meets attract participation from nearly all the top schools and some of the biggest sporting stars from the City have taken part in it.

加拿大28信誉老群However, with schools across the State yet to start operations for the academic year and parents openly expressing their anxiety in sending their children to classes, all these tournaments stand on a sticky wicket with a strong possibility of getting scrapped this year. This could be the fate of various other inter-school and inter-collegiate meets this year.

“Of course, we want to stage the Eric Vaz and Centenary Shield, but given the circumstances we are in, I don’t think we can host it in the normal window of July-August,” said Santosh Adam, Sports Secretary of St Joseph’s High School. “Having said that, we are not ruling it out as well. Honestly, it’s going to be very difficult because schools are yet to reopen, and when it does we are not sure if parents will be keen in seeing their children play sports because there is so much physical contact. We just can’t have social distancing in sports like hockey and football.”

Anil Dutt, the sports director of Bishop Cotton, echoed Adam’s sentiment. “The Cottonian Shield is over 100 years old and many schools take great pride in being invited, let alone participate. But considering how dangerous things are out there, especially for young kids, it’s going to be a huge challenge for us to conduct the meet this year. We are committed to having it at some time but it’s going to be really, really tough.”

Another major hindrance for host schools this year could be the higher operating costs involved apart from assuring the safety of kids for the concerned parents. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, a huge emphasis has been laid on regular sanitising as we all wearing masks while stepping out of homes.

加拿大28信誉老群“Sporting events have slowly resumed in parts of Europe but every player is tested everyday. They won’t be able to do that in their meets. A test costs Rs 4500 and it simply won’t be possible to test so many kids. Even if they invite just four schools, they will have around 60-80 kids. Even if they don’t do tests, investing in temperature guns and sanitisers itself will escalate the costs as compared to previous years. Also these kids play matches in the morning and return to their respective classrooms after that. Practically, it’s just not feasible,” said a senior sports administrator.

加拿大28信誉老群Dutta felt convincing parents to even send their kids for practice would be very difficult.

加拿大28信誉老群“There’s so much contact in sports. Parents will be apprehensive about their kids playing sport and rightfully so. I have a fear this year sporting activities in school will take a beating. There will be lesser participation.”

Adam too rued the same. “Sports was a big distraction for kids. It actually helps them concentrate better on studies. But I guess the only sport they may be playing is in their Playstations and Xbox!”