The Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions held the main event of the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet on 11 January 2018 at Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh.
The event is part of the five-day Annual Sports & Cultural Meet that takes place at Prasanthi Nilayam each year. It showcases an array of physical and cultural presentations by over 1800 students of the institutions spread across two sessions, morning and evening. Preparations, which began a month in advance, involved thousands of combined practice hours by all students and teachers at each institution.
The morning session commenced at 8 a.m. with Bhagawan Baba’s car entering the Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium with a beautiful photograph of Him was escorted by motorcycle escorts, and welcomed by the women’s brass band of the Anantapur Campus of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL). This was followed by an escort by the Slow March Squad, a special contingent that was led by the men’s brass band of the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus of the university. Following the ceremonial welcome to Bhagawan, the Vice-Chancellor, SSSIHL along with senior members of the Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions, offered salutations to Bhagawan.
The March Past that followed included each of the two thousand Sai students marching in unison towards the dais at Shanti Vedika where Bhagawan Baba sits, offering their salutations to their Revered Founder Chancellor.
The first presentation was by the students of Prasanthi Nilayam Campus, SSSIHL and Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School. They performed four items each.
The first item was Gymnastics, an item that included dive rolls, somersaults and obstacle jumps, all on a trampoline.
Giant Wheel, the next item, necessitated supreme poise and confidence. The stunts and formations were performed on a Ferris wheel-like structure controlled and maneuvered by two performers at either end. Soaring almost a hundred feet at its highest end, students walked on the top, summersaulted in the rings at each end
A synchronized act, Meteors, involved students holding a rope with two balls hanging on either side. The item had formations and stunts such as walking on drums and blindfold walking. This then gave way to Aerial Acrobats, vertical jumps and acrobatic feat using two large circular trampoline supplemented by formations and synchronized acrobatic movements on the floor.
Blazing Rangers, was a mass item of various drill movements, synchronized steps and formations depicted using red and yellow colours. Then, the Synergy Squad deftly displayed of choreographed hip-hop steps, including acrobatic moves and dynamically changing formations.
No Sports Meet is complete without the tried and tested Bike Stunts performance. This event consisted of both display and stunt items. Display items include formations such as crisscross and scissor cross by multiple bikes. The stunt items include ramp jumps, jumps through fire, breaking the glass. Using Scramblers a few stunts like wheeling were also performed. Perfect coordination was an essential part of this item, to ensure all were injury-free and the item looked flawless to the viewer.
The last item was perhaps the most nostalgic. The Life of a Jawan was depicted in this cultural item. Through various simulations of real-life battle situations that these brave jawans face when they protect our country, the item elicited the feeling of pride, sacrifice, difficulty, dedication and values in all spectators.
The women students of Anantapur campus, SSSIHL put up perhaps the classiest of all Sports Meet presentations in several years. Their first item was a display using Penny-farthing bicycles and Half-bikes, also known as a high wheel, high wheeler and ordinary. It is a type of bicycle with a large front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel. These vehicles—a throwback to the bygone nineteenth century—were refreshing to see. Students rode them in perfect files with elegant synchronicity. The items represented the heroic and the indomitable spirit of womanhood.
Their next item, Fabric Gymnastics, reiterated Bhagawan Baba’s expositions on ‘The Triangle of Life – God, Man and World’. Students displayed various patterns and formations, using a dual-coloured stretchable fabric that illustrated the trials of the world, subtle qualities of adaptability of women, and the way to direct our lives to Sai in the path of light.
They ended their presentation with a Gymnastics performance on an oscillating structure. Breathtaking stunts on the structure exhibit students’ determination, flexibility and stability. They formed multiple patterns on and off the structure to end the morning session with a visually pleasing performance.