Playing on a tight schedule 

Directions have been given by the DoE to complete all zonal sporting events by November 12, but, teachers and organisers fear it might not be possible

The Sports branch of the Directorate of Education has issued a notice directing all zonal convenors/ secretaries to complete zonal level sports tournaments of 2020-21 by November 12. DoE directed all sports from under 19 and under 17 categories (Boys and girls) to be started with immediate effect.

Delhi has around 16 lakh students enrolled in various educational institutes. And to conduct all sporting events within the allotted time, two weeks, is a humongous task. The 36 sporting categories  include Athletics, Badminton, Lawn tennis, Hockey, Throwball, Swimming, Cricket etc. “Completing these sports within two weeks is impossible” says Ajay Veer Yadav, General secretary of Government School Teachers Association (GSTA).

“Many government teachers are deployed in Covid duties. Pre board exams  are ongoing, thereafter first term board exams are scheduled. Conducting these sports events within two weeks is next to impossible,” says Yadav.

“The thing is that students haven’t been administered any vaccines. And with the risk of Covid-19, participation would be 10% of pre- pandemic days.” Interestingly, the fund allocated for the tournament is almost the same as before. Which is to be spent within 10 days.

“How will we spend this much money, when fewer students are participating and everything is low key? Yadav asks.”

Sports activities usually take around five months. Due to Covid, when outdoor activity was restricted and all sporting complexes were closed — sports tournaments were deferred. Now when Schools are being opened in a phased manner, and state level sporting events are taking place in many states. DoE too wants to prepare itself for nationals.

“Delhi has 29 zones. First zonal sports events take place. In April, zonal boards are constituted. One convenor and secretary is selected among them from each zone and takes responsibility for organising events and the physical education teacher supervises. We plan sporting tournaments from April and May. All sports and games start from the first week of July and take at least five months to complete zonal tournaments.” says Yadav.

“Usually one or two matches are organised in a day. And one sport takes at least 4-5 days.” says Dalbeer Singh, a Physical education Teacher.

The sporting tournament at zonal level finishes around October or November then only inter-zonal tournaments start. “This year we are faced with extraordinary circumstances and we have taken an innovative approach to things. GSTA suggests that instead of conducting zonal tournaments, we can select meritorious students by conducting interzonal tournaments for national games, once they are planned. We can organise trials/ selection caps for state level teams, while taking utmost care of the health of students.” says Yadav.

Yadav believes that everyone knows that conducting sports tournaments is not possible. “Still, we are allotted a fund and asked to finish all events within two weeks. The Education Minister knows it, it is not possible, DoE knows it.” he adds.

 However, an official in DoE said, “Since participation of students is low, organising events following Covid protocol would not be tough. In fact some of the zonal tournaments have already started. Results of zonal level sports should be reached by November 15 which is enough time.”

“Dates are tentative and can be extended if required,” adds the official.

Every year, DoE holds various sports competitions at the zonal and inter-zonal level. Winners receive  certificates and awards, however they can’t get sports quota for college admission. For that they have to participate in separate college level trials. There have been demands, if one has a state level certificate, they should get a sports quota.

These sporting events are organised to select teams or players to represent Delhi State in the National School Games, organised by School Games Federation of India. The sports branch of DoE organises inter-Zonal Games. Which is the highest level of games in Delhi. Last DoE changed the name of inter-zonal competition and retitled them Delhi States School Games.

(Cover: With a tight schedule and the fear of the pandemic, teachers and staff face a big task trying to finish zonal sporting events by 12 November PHOTO: Getty)

For more stories that cover the ongoings of Delhi NCR, follow us on:
+ posts