From football, hockey to fencing, horse riding: Sports are no longer old school in Mumbai’s institutes
Activities such as taekwondo, horse riding, fencing and malkhamb have been bringing Mumbai schools laurelsmumbai Updated: Sep 25, 2017 15:59 IST
Gone are the days when schools limited their sports activities to a Physical Education (PE) class twice a week, and the annual sports day. The typical principal’s office was once decorated with trophies won in football, cricket and hockey matches, but now, activities such as taekwondo, horse riding, fencing and malkhamb have been bringing schools laurels.
“The best sportspersons come from schools who give their students a platform to hone their skills. As our country is producing athletes interested in sports other than cricket and hockey, schools should also start laying the groundwork for our future sports stars well in advance,” said Fr Francis Swamy, principal of St Mary’s (ICSE) High School, Mazgaon.
The Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education’s (MSBSHSE) introduction of grace marks for Class 10 students who participated in or won in various sports at district, state or national level events was a huge boost for students interested in sports. Students stood to gain a maximum 4% over and above their final scores, which along with the best-of-five policy —in which only five highest scores are included in the aggregate — pushed several students to score above 100% in SSC results in 2010. This system was revoked in 2012, but reintroduced in 2016.
“We don’t use the lack of space or bad weather as an excuse to not indulge in sports. During the monsoon, we hold indoor activities so students have an outlet for their energy,” said Pooja Kapoor, principal of R N Shah School, Andheri. Along with football, the school also conducts special archery coaching for students.
However, finding qualified instructors for fencing, indoor rifle shooting, taekwondo is a challenge. As parents say it is difficult to find sports instructors close to home, the management of the Indian Education Society in Dadar said they hired the best coaches so their students can benefit. “We didn’t want our students to travel long distances when we can provide them with the best instructors on campus. They get coaching in cricket, fencing, karate and taekwondo,” said Satish Lotlikar, managing trustee, IES group of schools in Dadar (East).