Annual Sport Meet at Prasanthi Nilayam (Morning Session)
Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions celebrate their Annual Sports & Cultural Meet
The Sri Sathya Sai Educational Institutions held the main event of the Annual Sports & Cultural Meet on 11 January 2019 at Sri Sathya Sai Hill View Stadium, Prasanthi Nilayam, Andhra Pradesh.
The event is a culmination of various sports, cultural and fine arts competitions held at all campuses of the University and other Sai educational institutions throughout the academic year. The Sri Sathya Sai educational institutions include all the four campuses of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Sri Sathya Sai Primary and Higher Secondary Schools, Smt. Eswaramma High School and SSSIHMS College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences.
It showcases an array of physical and cultural presentations by over 3000 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, SSSIHL. 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 three thousand Sai students marching in unison towards the dais at Shanti Vedika where Bhagawan Baba sits, offering their salutations to their Revered Founder Chancellor.
This was followed by the hoisting of the University flag, which truly represents unity, and the promise to uphold the glory and honour of Sri Sathya Sai’s mission. This was followed by the unveiling of this year’s mascot – Nandi, the celestial bull known for its devotion to Lord Shiva. As the mascot flew into the main torch next to the Gods of Hill View, it marked the commencement of the 2019 Annual Sports & Cultural Meet. The brass band of SSSIHL, Anantapur Campus then played a piece, with the Institute Band members joining in unison, as they marched past Shanti Vedika, saluting their Divine Master into a slow retreat, giving way for the presentations to begin.
The first presentation was by the students of Brindavan Campus, SSSIHL. They offered three performances. The first was Shaolin Echoes, a display of the ancient Chinese martial art of Kung Fu, which exhibit the traits of speed, strength, agility and calmness of mind through synchronized Kung Fu styles, thrilling combats and brisk flag moves. This was followed by Drumebaaz, an admixture of energising Indian beats and spellbinding sounds of snare drums. The performance was a confluence of colour and rhythm. They concluded with the Red Stallions, who gave the audience a breathtaking display of motorbike stunts that truly challenged the stereotypes of ‘can’t be done’, with feats like the triple ramp jumps, wheels of fire, square crisscross and wheelies, amongst others.
They ended their performance with a moving human formation of the number 50 and SAI that symbolized the fifty years of the inauguration of the campus by Bhagawan Baba in 1968. A large replica of the main building of the campus in the backdrop highlighted the milestone.
The Sri Sathya Sai Higher Secondary School and SSSIHL Prasanthi Nilayam Campus followed this with a combined presentation. Their first performance was Waves, a display of waves formation without props. It comprised of different types of waves using coordinated movements of body parts with an appropriate colour combination of dresses. A few gymnastic movements added to the spectacle of the presentation.
The Lion Dance, always a favourite of our Beloved Sai, then saw performers mimic a lion’s movements in a Chinese Lion’s costume. With acrobatic dance patterns, the lions performed many a daring feat to celebrate the ancient Chinese art form, echoing the promise of Sri Sathya Sai, “Why fear when I am here.”
Football, the most globalized sport, also took part in the event with The Prasanthi Strikers demonstrating various interesting soccer tricks and skills that a footballer develops that are helpful during the training and the actual game. Coached by a professional army coach, they displayed various kicks and stunts.
Next up were Stellar Starlings, a band of gymnasts that performed a sequence of formations and aerial acrobatics done using ropes and trapeze on a structure almost a hundred feet tall. Aerial basketball, yoga and other audacious feats were on display for the thousands of spectators in the stadium.
The creative use of sticks in various art forms is common to the various sub-cultures within India. Lathi Legion, a stick fight also known as Karrasamu in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and Bo Staff internationally, was on full display. Students also portrayed various acrobatic movements during their warrior fights.
The gymnasts then took on the field again with a display of Wheel Gymnastics, stunts and formations. These Wheel Wizards stretched themselves across the diameter of a large German Wheel using only the grips for support. Defying gravity, they showcased stunts coordinated in absolute unison and synchronicity.
They made way for the Dream Team, a band of brothers who made the slow march and soldier drills look outstanding with the help of guns that consisted of ripple wave effects and feedback movements. Dressed in red, they performed gun exchanges, salutes, marching and synchronized movements.
The concept of beats came alive with Body Percussion, a performance of various rhythms using just the body. Stomping their feet and clicking their hands, the performance gave everyone a visual and auditory treat.
The combined performances came to colourful end with the Incredible Gabrooze – A music-based combined depiction of Punjabi Ghatka and Bhangda with the requisite paraphernalia of props, costumes and fizz.
All students of both the institutions came together in front of a giant prop of Lord Krishna on the serpent King Kalia to bow in front of Lord Sai with the song, Sai sajayaenge tujhe hamare dil me.
The morning session came to an end at 10:25 a.m. with Mangala Aarati offered to Bhagawan Baba.