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Here are the numbers again: the Inter-Faculty Games (or IFGs) have been running for seven years, the NUS Medicine Faculty has been established for 57 years, whilst NUS Engineering, the next most prominent undergraduate path, has nearly 6000 students to choose from. This year, for the first time, Yale-NUS has raised its armaments and taken to the IFG arena to claim the coveted Tan Chorh Chuan Trophy.
Something a little less known is that our entire IFG experience has depended upon the Herculean efforts of Tinesh Indrarajah ’17. Part-badminton maestro, part-floorball guru, Indrarajah is also the point of contact of our school and the overseer of every team, training and triumph. This competition has required Yale-NUS to ready competitors for 16 different sports.
Direct as always, he relayed the logistical process like reading a dot-point summary. “The different faculties and Yale-NUS College [decided] on who’s going to host each sport. [Each team had] to decide on shirt sizes, getting teams down, really thinking about what sports [they] can actively participate in.” Indrarajah worked with USP to host the tennis competition and last weekend’s dodgeball series. Where the faculties of NUS would have a committee in place to host an entire day of sport, Tinesh often worked alone or with an assistant.
Any student that participates in clubs and societies at Yale-NUS is all-too-familiar with inconsistent attendance and a lack of people. How pressing were the manpower constraints in organising the IFGs and hosting a competition?
“Manpower limitations only come through on the actual day of execution. Only one man is actually required to host a sport. The greater burden I felt was getting people down for trainings and getting people to help out for trainings. For some of the sports, we didn’t have the given number of people down to train well.”
Maybe the school should’ve helped more in terms of providing better, easier ways to book courts. If we had it at the start of semester … we would’ve done so much better. If everyone had chipped in more it would’ve been much more comprehensive.” Indrarajah added.
That aside, students on the athletics scene have praised the administration for their increasing support in organising competitions, both in Singapore and overseas. Where once sport was not an institutional priority, more teams are feeling compelled to request coaches and form stand-alone teams – as is the case with tennis, rowing, badminton and basketball.
The sentiment from Indrarajah held the same urgency: “At the end of the day, all our athletes want is the opportunity to compete, to be challenged, to see how we fare against our peers. The school should continue encouraging us, pushing us for more friendlies. They should be encouraging the competitive side of sports in this school because when the school gets bigger … it will be a letdown for the whole school if we don’t have a platform to compete, if the administration don’t help out with this.”
For some, progress comes with support, but for Indrarajah – and the many enjoying the fruits of his labour over this final weekend of the IFGs – support will come only with progress. The role of athletics at Yale-NUS is growing in an unexpected way. “I feel the mindset [of the community] is changing. I feel we’ve made a point that we can compete.”